Grandson’s activities too feminine?
Dear Annie: Our 5-year-old grandson, “Ernie,” is best friends with our 6-year-old granddaughter, “Emily.” They ride to school together and are in the same kindergarten class.
Recently, Emily and I sewed a cute little project together. Ernie decided he wanted to sew, too. We grabbed a scrap piece of fabric, and he stitched out a variety of decorative stitches with a variety of colorful threads. Now he brings that scrap with him, and we have added to it a few times. Ernie pushes buttons on the machine and steps on the gas peddle.
Papa is mad as a hornet about this. He says I am encouraging feminine tendencies. What? In today’s world, men and women share the same careers and sports. Papa takes Emily fishing, shoots hoops, and practices baseball and soccer with her. Is that too masculine?
I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions from your readers. — Mama
Dear Mama: You are right to think Papa is being ridiculous. If your 5-year-old grandson wants to sew with his best friend, there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, it will help him develop motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
Ideally, your husband would expose both grandchildren to the fun activities you mentioned — fishing, shooting hoops, baseball and soccer. Kids are like sponges and love all new experiences. It’s important they try all types of activities. Encouraging their progress in any endeavor they enjoy goes a long way toward helping them build a healthy sense of self.
Dear Annie: I am writing in response to Worried Wife, whose husband refused to see a doctor. My heart aches for her, as I suspect her husband has the same devastating neurological disease my husband had.
If her husband was in the Vietnam War, he could have a neurological disease linked to Agent Orange. The Department of Veterans Affairs may be able to help you navigate the course of this disease. Please check out Agent Orange on the VA website. — Another Worried Wife
Dear Another Worried Wife: Thank you for sharing your story. Although tragic, I hope it provides a sense of urgency, helpful information or, at the very least, sympathy, for others dealing with the threat of disease.
Dear Annie: Thank you for telling “Black Sheep” to explore her options for college. My husband was accepted into a prestigious private college right out of high school. Neither of his parents said anything about this potentially life-changing accomplishment, and the cost would have been astronomical, so he just put himself through community college, followed by a state university. He saved his acceptance letter all these years (49, to be exact), and not going to that university is one of his biggest regrets. Now we know we should have asked for help, but back then we were young and dumb and didn’t know where to turn. Also, we thought small. We came from very little; we’d never been told to think big. I say believe in yourself and there’s no telling where life will take you. But don’t hesitate to ask for help. — Older and Wiser
Dear Older and Wiser: Thank you for your letter. I am sorry your husband didn’t attend the university he wanted to, but you both learned a valuable lesson, and now you are sharing it. If you truly want something bad enough, there is nothing wrong with asking people for help.
“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now. Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Go to http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send questions for Annie Lane to email@example.com.