Dear Annie: My brother, “Jay,” and his wife have an adopted daughter, “Anna,” who is now 3 years old. We adore her.
Jay and I recently got into an argument. He said they were angry that we didn’t call Anna on her birthday. I was surprised by this, as we had already wished her a happy birthday in person, with a gift and a card at her party a few days prior to her actual birthday. When Jay and I were kids, we were always happy to receive a card and a gift from our aunts and uncles. We never expected them to call, as well.
In addition, Jay said that they were angry that my husband and I didn’t take time off of work to be at the courthouse to celebrate the “official” adoption six months after Anna was born. We told him at the time that we couldn’t take time off of work and would celebrate with them at their home, which we did. At that time, Jay said it was fine, but now, it apparently wasn’t good enough. When my husband and I adopted our oldest child, we never demanded that anyone take the day off of work to be at the courthouse, nor to be at the hospital when our younger kids were born.
Annie, we celebrated Anna’s adoption multiple times – right after her birth, at her baptism, when we gave them a baby shower and then at their home after the courthouse. I reminded Jay of these things and told him we love Anna and don’t like his implication that we don’t care. My brother used to be easygoing until he married his wife. Now they expect a parade every time Anna opens her eyes.
Are Jay’s expectations reasonable? Should we call Anna on her birthday even when we’ve already celebrated with her? They act as if the world revolves around them. — Can’t Keep Up
Dear Can’t: Attending Anna’s birthday party and giving her a gift was sufficient. It’s also lovely to call on the actual birthday, but it is not an obligation. The rest of Jay’s complaints are irrational and self-centered. We don’t recommend arguing with him. He won’t see things your way. Placate and ignore.
Dear Annie: Our daughter is getting married in July. We decided to give her a lump sum for the wedding, and she created a budget to handle all aspects of the event.
Unfortunately, she selected a wedding gown based on the price, and it does not flatter her figure. My wife and I would like to offer to purchase a more attractive gown, but we don’t know how to approach the subject. Any suggestions? — North Carolina
Dear North Carolina: Are you certain that your daughter selected this design solely because of the price? Your financial assistance might only serve to purchase an equally unflattering gown in a more expensive fabric. Keep in mind that alterations can work wonders, and Mom could enlist the help of the seamstress to ascertain whether your daughter is unhappy with her gown. If so, it’s perfectly fine to say you want her to have something closer to the dress of her dreams. Otherwise, please repeat the old saying that “all brides are beautiful.”
Dear Annie: This is for “Tired in Nebraska,” whose husband has sleep apnea and refuses to wear a CPAP.
I’m an orthodontist who has successfully fit many patients with a dental sleep appliance that is very comfortable to wear. Sleep centers do not always mention their availability, but it should not be difficult to find an orthodontist or general dentist who will fit her husband. These appliances are covered by insurance with a prescription from a physician and are the next best treatment to CPAP devices, which many people cannot tolerate. — Sympathetic Orthodontist
Dear Sympathetic: Many readers recommended a dental appliance that can help with apnea and is easier to wear. Thanks to all who suggested it.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.