Dear Carson: I just became a grandmother. The baby is underweight and jaundiced and my son and his wife made it clear that they didn't want visitors. The baby went into the hospital yesterday and is on an IV and under ultraviolet lights. My son and daughter-in-law repeatedly have refused help from me and from my mother, so all the weight falls on my son. He has missed a lot of work and it looks as if he will miss a lot more. I thought we were liked by my daughter-in-law, but now I have to wonder. Am I selfish in thinking they are being too overprotective? I feel that I have a right to see my grandbaby, but I don't want to barge in against their wishes. Still, I can't help feeling left out. Please tell me the proper way to handle this. - Grounded Grandma
Dear Grandma: I, as a grandmother, have been in a similar situation and my grandson was perfectly healthy. First-time parents often are nervous and feel inadequate. They are afraid of being smothered with attention and being told how they should do things with their new baby. I suggest that you write a loving note and/or send flowers assuring them that you and your mother stand ready to help in any way, but will respect their wishes.
Dear Carson: I've got a real problem at work. One of my co-workers has decided she would like to sing all the time - in the morning, in the evening, at lunch, all the time! It's driving me wacko! Lately, it seems that my attempts to subtly express my distaste for nonprofessional singers only seems to lead to more singing! What should I do? - Singing Suggestion
Dear Singing: Some people get their needs met at the expense of others. When that happens the person is being inconsiderate and therefore ill-mannered. Subtlety is most likely wasted on someone who knowingly does something that bothers others. There is a time and place for singing and an office environment is just not the place. Speak with a superior or office manager and lay out the problem. If the singing is disruptive to you, it is bound to be irritating to others as well. Good luck.
Dear Carson: My band is playing for a high-school reunion next weekend. I was wondering if it would be rude to place a tip box at the front of the stage. We are being paid for playing, but a few extra bucks would greatly help us right now. Is it protocol to give listeners a chance to give an optional donation? - Bewildered Band Member
Dear Bewildered: I am not for anything that smacks of greed. However, I have seen this done many times. If you have your heart set on a tip container, I would first ask the person who hired you if it would be all right. If the answer is yes, I would place the tip container (perhaps a hat) at a corner of the stage, rather than directly in front where it will be the focal point of attention.
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