Step-grand­par­ent tired of watch­ing grand­chil­dren

Austin American-Statesman - - AUSTIN360 DAILY - Dear Abby Dear Abby is writ­ten by Abi­gail van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Dear Abby ap­pears on Sun­day, Mon­day, Wed­nes­day and Fri­day. Email Dear Abby at

Dear Abby: I never had a de­sire to have kids. I mar­ried a man, “Harry,” who had four, and did my duty be­ing with them on hol­i­days, birthdays and va­ca­tions. I never en­joyed it, and I have al­ways been hon­est re­gard­ing my feel­ings about baby-sit­ting.

Now that Harry’s chil­dren are grown and have chil­dren of their own, they think my hus­band and I should give up our week­ends and hol­i­days to babysit their chil­dren. Harry and I have had sev­eral se­ri­ous ar­gu­ments about this.

I have told his kids I do not want to watch their chil­dren. Harry will tell me at the last minute that one of them is be­ing dropped off be­cause the fa­ther and his girl­friend are go­ing out. When the grand­child ar­rives, Harry dis­ap­pears be­cause he doesn’t want to be both­ered.

I served my time when my stepchil­dren were small and have looked for­ward to the day I’d no longer have to share my down time with kids.

Three months ago, I was “sur­prised” with the 7-year-old so her dad and his honey could go to At­lantic City for a great time. I told them I had a po­lit­i­cal func­tion to at­tend at 1:30 the next day; they didn’t re­turn un­til 3:30 in the af­ter­noon. My hus­band thought it was fine to go with­out me! I would never have done that.

I love Harry, but this is caus­ing me ma­jor grief. Please tell me what you think about this. Oh — and did I men­tion they think be­cause I was an ele­men­tary school teacher I should want to sit and play with their kids? It’s com­par­ing ap­ples to or­anges.

— Near­ing Wits’ End in New Jersey

Dear Near­ing Wits’ End: What I think is that you are be­ing taken ad­van­tage of, and it will con­tinue as long as you al­low it, how­ever un­will­ingly. The next time Harry in­forms you at the last minute that a grand­child is be­ing dropped off, grab your coat and purse and tell him you are go­ing shop­ping, vis­it­ing a friend, see­ing a movie or any­thing else that will get you out of the house. If you do, per­haps the next time his kids need a baby sit­ter, he will sug­gest that they hire one.

Oh, and did I men­tion that when you were a teacher, you were com­pen­sated for your la­bor? You are be­ing used, and I hope you draw the line be­fore you really ar­rive at wits’ end.

Dear Abby: I am a 70-year-old man. Many peo­ple tell me I look much younger be­cause I have my hair col­ored pro­fes­sion­ally.

I started dye­ing my hair about 16 years ago be­cause my chil­dren are much younger than those of most peo­ple my age. They wanted me to color my hair so that I didn’t look like their friends’ grand­par­ents.

Now friends and new ac­quain­tances make com­ments about me not hav­ing any gray hair at my age. So, what do I say? Should I tell them that I have my hair col­ored? Should I just laugh? Please ad­vise.

— To Dye or Not To Dye

Dear T.D.O.N.T.D.: Many men have their hair pro­fes­sion­ally col­ored th­ese days and oth­ers do it them­selves at home. It is noth­ing to be ashamed of. You nei­ther have to laugh nor to di­vulge the se­cret of your eter­nal youth. How­ever, since you are be­gin­ning to feel self-con­scious be­cause you feel the color of your hair isn’t age-ap­pro­pri­ate, dis­cuss it with your col­orist. It may be time to let a lit­tle bit of gray come through at the tem­ples.

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