‘Friend’ makes mom nervous

I enjoy taking my eight-year-old daughter to our neighbourhood park.

Dear Annie: I enjoy taking my eight-year-old daughter to our neighbourhood park.

Over time, she’s made many friends there, and while she has become close with some, there are others I’d prefer remain “playground friends” only.

Most people seem to understand this.

There is one set of parents I do not care for at all.

Their little girl is sweet, and I hate to avoid her simply because she has weird parents.

Her mom has tried repeatedly to get me to drop off my daughter at their house for playtime.

I don’t know her well and don’t feel comfortable doing this.

Worse, the father, who apparently has anger management issues, is estranged “again” from the family and has asked if my daughter could accompany him to the park near his home so she can play with his little girl.

I’ve dodged all their requests so far, but am looking for a way to make it clear that, although their daughter is nice and my child enjoys playing with her, that’s as far as the friendship will ever go. Any suggestions? — Ohio

Dear Ohio: There is no nice way to say, “Your daughter is sweet, but you and your husband scare the dickens out of me, and I don’t want my kid around you.”

The polite custom is to be noncommittal by saying, “We’ll see” or “Perhaps another time.”

If you are willing, it would be nice to offer to take their daughter for an afternoon.

Say, “I prefer to have my daughter with me. Maybe I could bring your child to our house and I’ll drive her home later.”

Dearest Annie: My wife and I adopted our five-year-old grandson, “Sam.”

The boy has lived with us since he was a baby. His father (our son) has never been around, and the mother’s presence is intermittent.

Life is perfect, except for one burning question about our names.

Sam has called us Grandma and Grandpa all this time.

Now that he has started school, he questions why he has to call us those names when the other kids have moms and dads.

So he started calling us “Mama” and “Daddy.” To me, it doesn’t matter.

Legally, we are his parents.

Our families have scolded us about this, saying we are Sam’s grandparents and this will confuse him.

We don’t want that, but the truth is, he feels different either way, because in school, he’s the only one without parents.

My wife says whatever names Sam chooses are fine.

So do we answer to both names or what? What do you recommend? — A Concerned Daddy and/or Grandpa

Dear Dad: You have legally adopted this boy. You are his father now.

Your wife is his mother.

If he wants to call you “Mama” and “Daddy,” that is his privilege and nobody else’s business.

He knows you are his biological grandparents, and if, at any point, you believe he is confused about the relationship, it is easily cleared up with an open discussion.

Stop worrying.

Dear Annie: I share your horror about the 25-year-old man from Oregon who indulges in sexual fantasies about his mother-in-law.

But your advice that he recalibrate his fantasies by indulging in stereotypes about mothers as asexual creatures is way off base.

Women struggle to feel attractive and sexy in a culture that defines female sexiness ever more narrowly.

Let’s not contribute to it by declaring motherhood incompatible with sexual attractiveness. — Binghamton University

Dear Binghamton: You misunderstand the point of the exercise.

Mothers can be sexy and attractive, and that is his problem.

He needs to see this particular Mom as “motherly,” and that means using whatever old-fashioned stereotypes work for him.

We could just as easily have suggested he envision her as Tarzan, but we didn’t think he could manage that as well or as quickly, not to mention it isn’t likely to help him develop an appropriately loving relationship with his mother-in-law.

Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

House sales remain hot in central Alberta with first-quarter sales nearly double last year’s numbers. Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
Central Alberta real estate market hot in 2021

Residential sales nearly double 2020 in first quarter

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer gave an update on Olymel's COVID-19 situation on Wednesday. (File photo by Advocate staff).
Veer addresses rising COVID-19 cases in Red Deer

Red Deer has added nearly 200 cases of active COVID-19 cases in past week

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw and Premier Jason Kenney say the province would look at adding additional COVID-19 measures in the coming weeks if the virus continues to spread. (Photo by Government of Alberta)
Walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinic to open in Red Deer

Alberta adds 1,345 new cases of the virus

Innisfail RCMP are investigating a single-vehicle crash that happened west of Bowden on March 21, 2021. (File photo by Advocate staff)
RCMP investigate culturally insensitive graffiti at Sylvan Lake school

Sylvan Lake RCMP is investigating a vandalism incident. On April 17 around… Continue reading

A vial of the Medicago vaccine sits on a surface. CARe Clinic, located in Red Deer, has been selected to participate in the third phase of vaccine study. (Photo courtesy www.medicago.com)
Red Deer clinical research centre participating in plant-based COVID-19 vaccine trial

A Red Deer research centre has been selected to participate in the… Continue reading

Vancouver Canucks' Tanner Pearson, right, celebrates after scoring against Toronto Maple Leafs goalie David Rittich during the third period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Pearson, Sutter each score twice as Canucks dump Leafs 6-3

Pearson, Sutter each score twice as Canucks dump Leafs 6-3

Everton's Gylfi Sigurdsson celebrates with teammates after scoring his side's second goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Everton and Tottenham Hotspur at Goodison Park in Liverpool, England, Friday, April 16, 2021. (Peter Powell/Pool via AP)
Super League collapses after the 6 English clubs withdraw

Super League collapses after the 6 English clubs withdraw

Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez delivers against the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at Fenway Park in Boston. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
Bogaerts’ 3-run HR, Rodriguez lift BoSox over Blue Jays 4-2

Bogaerts’ 3-run HR, Rodriguez lift BoSox over Blue Jays 4-2

Pound says Olympic qualifying issues a concern to IOC

Pound says Olympic qualifying issues a concern to IOC

Former University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Rowing Canada sanctions former head coach of B.C. varsity women’s team

Rowing Canada sanctions former head coach of B.C. varsity women’s team

Ontario Hockey League cancels 2020-21 season as COVID-19 cases surge in province

Ontario Hockey League cancels 2020-21 season as COVID-19 cases surge in province

Lionel Desmond (front row, far right) was part of the 2nd battalion, of the Royal Canadian Regiment, based at CFB Gagetown and shown in this 2007 handout photo taken in Panjwai district in between patrol base Wilson and Masum Ghar in Afghanistan. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Facebook-Trev Bungay MANDATORY CREDIT
Desmond inquiry: Veterans Affairs submits internal review after initial refusal

Desmond inquiry: Veterans Affairs submits internal review after initial refusal

FILE - In this Feb. 18, 2021 file photo State representatives gather at the Capitol, in Phoenix. Two years after Arizona lawmakers repealed a law barring any instruction on HIV or AIDS that that "promotes a homosexual lifestyle," they are close to enacting a broad remake of the state's sex education laws with a particular focus on LGBTQ issues. (AP Photo/Matt York,File)
Arizona governor vetoes strict sex education legislation

Arizona governor vetoes strict sex education legislation

Most Read