Dear Annie: I’m very concerned about my pregnant daughter-in-law’s diet. She studied nutrition in college, but you’d never know it. My son, his wife and their two little children drove here for an overnight visit so we could see them before her next child is born in August.
I know they ate at a fast-food place during the drive. I can understand that. But during their 24-hour visit, my pregnant daughter-in-law drank nothing but soda, and even that wasn’t sweet enough for her, so she added syrup to it. For breakfast, I made eggs, fruit and toast. She had a chocolate candy bar and more soda. I cringed when I saw her two toddlers drinking from her super-sized drink and eating pieces of her candy bar.
They apparently eat regularly at fast-food places. My son told me that his wife, the nutritionist, is having dental problems and was in the hospital a few weeks back for high blood pressure. You can tell by looking at her that she doesn’t feel well. She told me she doesn’t take calcium supplements, and when I asked why not, she just shrugged her shoulders.
I desperately wanted to say something about her eating habits, but kept my mouth shut because I didn’t want their visit to be uncomfortable. I also don’t want to risk alienating my son’s family. I can’t stop worrying about the grandchildren, not to mention her unborn child, who eats what she eats. What should I do?
— Worried Grandma
Dear Worried: Has she always eaten like this? Could it be hormone-related? You don’t have to be a nutritionist to understand what irresponsible parenting it is to instill such poor eating habits in your children. We don’t know whether your son is afraid of his wife’s reaction or is simply ignorant, but we recommend you speak to him privately. He, too, is responsible for his children’s health. Ask gently whether his wife has talked to her obstetrician about how her eating affects their unborn child, and suggest that she do so. If he becomes angry or upset, drop the subject.
Dear Annie: My teacher friends and I are hoping you can help us out with a problem that comes up every year at graduation. As physical education, band and music teachers, we are with the same students for several years and develop some wonderful relationships with some of them.
Each year at this time, we are swamped with graduation and party invitations. Are we supposed to give them gifts? We want to do the right thing.
— Wichita, Kan.
Dear Wichita: A graduation announcement requires nothing more than your best wishes. (An invitation to a graduation is redundant because, as faculty, you are already invited.) An invitation to a party usually necessitates a gift (if you attend), and if you are invited along with your colleagues, you can give a group gift. However, many graduates deeply appreciate a personal letter from a teacher expressing positive thoughts about the student. That, too, is a gift.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired,” who has been battling lupus for 17 years and feels obligated to share a medical update when friends ask, “How are you?” I loved her suggestion of greeting others with “It is so good to see you.” What a positive way to begin a conversation!
It also called to mind a response I always hear from a receptionist who works for a nonprofit where I volunteer. Her pleasant reply is always, “I’m thankful.” Every time I hear her say this, it puts a smile on my face. It makes me want to focus on the many blessings that make my life great instead of the current irritations of the day.
— Thankful in the South
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
— Creators Syndicate Inc.