Dear Annie: I have twin teenage granddaughters who visit me every year for a week. They also bring along a friend (just one, thank goodness). I love having them, but I end up spending a fortune entertaining them. I pay for every meal, including restaurants, and we eat out a lot. I love to take them places, but I’m on a fixed income and would like to make it less expensive.
Do you think if I were to give each of my granddaughters a set amount of money they would be more frugal? They earn a lot of money babysitting, but I feel funny asking them to spend their own money on things when they visit me. Any suggestions?
— Going Broke in Florida
Dear Going Broke: You should not have to foot the entire bill for two teenagers and their friend. You are already giving them a free place to stay and any meals eaten at home. But please don’t demand payment from the girls. Instead, ask the parents to help you with the cost of entertaining these young people for a week. They also could give the girls an allowance for personal expenses (movies with the friend, trips to a restaurant, mall purchases). The extra girl’s parents should similarly send her with personal money so she does not become a burden.
Taking the girls for a week is a lovely way to bond with your granddaughters, but it is also a favor to the parents. Explain the situation and ask them to help remedy the problem.
Dear Annie: Our nephew recently announced his engagement and wedding date. His fiancée’s older sister is getting married two weeks before. The sister’s future husband called my nephew and flat-out stated that it is inappropriate that they have chosen a date so close to theirs, as it will take away from their special day. He suggested my nephew move his wedding to December at the earliest.
However, the sister has not mentioned a word of this to my nephew’s fiancée. We can’t help but think that she, too, is upset about this and asked her fiancé to handle it. We are disappointed that what could be the happiest time of our nephew’s life is filled with stress. What is the wedding protocol in this instance?
— Aunt and Uncle from Wisconsin
Dear Aunt and Uncle: It was very inconsiderate of your nephew and his bride to schedule their wedding two weeks after her sister’s already-chosen date. It does indeed take away from their special day, and more importantly, it puts a terrible burden on family and friends in terms of gifts and travel expenses. It also appears to others as though your nephew’s bride resents her older sister. We hope you can convince your nephew to give his guests a few months to recover from the first wedding before attending the next.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Blue-Collar Grandparents,” whose grandchildren are pulling out their hair. I’d like to suggest that they bring up the possibility of PANDAS (pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with strep).
If either of these kids has had numerous strep infections, perhaps they should be tested and assessed. I realize now that my son must have had this when he was 4, but I’d never heard of it then. He had seven strep infections in a row. He began displaying OCD behavior, which included pulling out nearly half of the hair on his head. If your child has multiple strep infections, it might be worthwhile to check for PANDAS, if only to rule it out.
— A Sympathetic Grandmother
Dear Sympathetic: Thank you for mentioning PANDAS. There is currently no test for PANDAS, but doctors look for a sudden onset of OCD and/or tic disorders following multiple strep infections.
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