DEAR AMY: My husband and I are expecting our first child, and my in-laws are very excited. They are already planning a visit to meet their new grandchild. But the in-laws want to bring their aggressive dogs, too. The dogs have bitten me and others on many occasions. One is very large and will attack anyone that gets too close to her owner. I don’t want these dogs anywhere near the baby, but my in-laws are insistent that if the dogs aren’t welcome, then they’re not welcome. I know my husband wants to see his parents (who rarely visit because of the dogs). But he is terrible about putting his foot down with them, and they commonly ignore my concerns. What can I do?
Worried Future Mom
DEAR WORRIED: Your first duty as a parent is to protect your baby. This is a rock-solid parenting nonnegotiable. Your baby should not be exposed to these aggressive dogs — in your home or theirs — until you are certain that it is safe.
Because your husband might not convey your point of view in a forceful enough way, you will need to state to all parties: “I won’t deliberately expose our baby to aggressive dogs. If you won’t visit our home without the dogs, then I understand that you’ll stay away. We’ll introduce you to your grandchild another time.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur each year in the United States. Children are the most frequently bitten. This is a preventable risk.
As a loving and concerned parent, you will tenderly strap your baby into a car seat, make sure she gets her immunizations, and feed her nutritiously. Keeping her safe from aggressive dogs is part of your job.
It would be great if your in-laws weren’t testing you so early on in your parenthood, but they are — and so you must let them know that though their priorities are their dogs, your priority is their grandchild.
DEAR AMY: I have a special woman in my life. We’ve been going out for five months now, but a few nights ago we had a misunderstanding because she was chatting with her ex-girlfriend. The day after our misunderstanding I texted her, as usual, to say “Good morning” and “I love you.” She didn’t respond. I knew she was mad at me and she tweeted about it, saying that I shouldn’t have confronted her the way I did. I let the day pass without contacting her further because I knew that she would not respond to my texts. When I opened her account the following day, I saw that I was blocked from her social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. She even changed her profile photo on Twitter (we were both using the same profile photo). I tried contacting her through phone calls and texts but she had already blocked me. I asked my friends to call her, but she also blocked them! I tried calling her from another number, but she blocked that, too! What should I do? Should I fix this by visiting her — or should I give up, thinking that she doesn’t want me anymore?
DEAR SHATTERED: The thing about modern technology — and the many social media platforms we all use to connect with one another — is that the same technology that gives you easy connection, can also deliver an ice-cold comeuppance.
Yes, you could show up at your girlfriend’s home or work and try to force a face-to-face confrontation, but you should prepare for the probability that she will also “block” you IRL (in real life).
You haven’t provided any details about your own behavior, and so hers seems quite out of proportion. You have to ask yourself: If this is the way she reacts when you confront her over behavior you don’t like, how would she behave toward you if the circumstance was even more serious?
You are experiencing a multiplatform rejection. This is the way your girlfriend has chosen to send her message to you. It’s probably time for you to demonstrate that you received it.
DEAR AMY: In response to “Years of Wine and Roses,” the family worried about their 85-year-old mother drinking and driving, in some states, you can ask the secretary of state’s office to call an individual in for a driving test. That might help, if her overall driving abilities are at all compromised, either through her drinking, or simply as a result of her age.
DEAR BEEN THERE: The mother’s doctor might also intervene.