Posted: Monday, September 8, 2008 8:11 pm
Dear Annie: My husband and I recently had our first child. We take turns taking care of the baby so we can each get some rest.
When “Jimmy” was 3 weeks old, he had colic and cried nonstop for several days. My husband got mad, said he couldn’t deal with this and threw the baby on the bed. When Jimmy was 4 months old, he caught a cold and cried day and night for a week. I caught my husband hitting and yelling at him.
I told my husband if he hits or throws Jimmy again, I will take our son and leave. Is this a normal reaction to the stress of an infant, or is it the beginning of child abuse? I am exhausted, too, but I never feel angry with Jimmy the way my husband does. Am I overreacting? — Worried New Mom
Dear Worried: Overreacting? You’re not reacting enough. Hitting and throwing an infant is child abuse. Period. Your husband may be unprepared for the responsibilities of fatherhood, and yes, it can be stressful to be sleep-deprived while caring for a crying infant, but that doesn’t justify his behavior. Please don’t wait until it happens again. The next time could be fatal, and you’ll never forgive yourself for not taking action sooner. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (ndvh.org) at 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233) and get some assistance. Do it now.
Dear Annie: My 21-year-old niece has been dealing with a drinking problem since high school. I also have a drinking problem that only my husband and children know about. My husband, who was having a serious talk with my niece, decided it was in her best interest to tell her about my problem.
I am very private and want no one to know about my drinking because of the stigma attached. I don’t want my parents or siblings to have to worry about me or look at me differently. I am doing quite well keeping this under control.
I can’t be certain my niece will blab this information to everyone, but somehow, I think she will eventually. Do you think my husband had good reason to tell her? I don’t see how it would help, and it sure made me angry. Shouldn’t such personal information come directly from me? — Upset Wife
Dear Upset: Your husband should have asked you first if it was OK to give your niece this information, but you can’t put the cat back in the bag. It is very possible that learning her aunt has a similar problem was comforting to your niece and will inspire her to work harder to control her drinking. In fact, the two of you may share a genetic predisposition to alcoholism. We think having this information will do more good than harm, and we hope you will forgive your husband so you can be a source of encouragement to your niece.
Dear Annie: I read the responses to “Tired of Paying.” I’m 60, male and recently widowed. If one extends an invitation for a meal or any other activity, that person assumes the obligation for any expense.
Thirty-five years ago, I did some part-time modeling and worked with some gorgeous ladies. I wouldn’t have expected them to reach for a check in a restaurant, even though they were paid about 10 times what I was.
Imagine inviting friends over for dinner and at the end of the evening presenting them with a bill for “their share” of the festivities. Has civility become extinct? Or have I? — T.K. in Ojai, Calif.
Dear T.K.: We’ve heard of people who, in fact, do present their “guests” with a bill at the end of an evening. It’s outrageously ill-mannered. The person who extends the invitation is still responsible for paying unless other arrangements are agreed upon in advance. However, if someone cannot afford to treat every time, he or she should select something less expensive, which is why we recommended meeting for a cup of coffee and other readers suggested a walk in the park.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. 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.
Published in The Messenger 9.8.08