DEAR ABBY: We were visiting my daughter and her husband when their 3-year-old, “Bethany,” entered our room and rummaged through our medications. The door to the guest room was closed, and the medications had been placed on a desk. Of course, everyone thought she had ingested some, so they rushed her to the ER. We were fortunate that nothing was found in her system.
My son-in-law thinks we should help pay the medical bills. I have sent several hundred dollars, but he is asking for more.
Bethany is an only child, and they allow her free rein of the house. I have other grandchildren who are even younger, and none of them would dream of touching something that wasn’t theirs.
It has been almost a year since the incident, and they still haven’t taught her to respect and leave things alone that are not hers. My daughter is a professional and her husband works from home, which concerns me because he isn’t as strict as I feel is necessary.
Are we obligated to help with more of her medical expenses? I don’t think so because we have already helped, and I don’t think it’s our job to teach our grandchild boundaries. — Ohio Grandma
DEAR OHIO GRANDMA: That must have been some hefty emergency room bill! Obviously, closing the guest room door was not enough to deter your granddaughter. In hindsight, you now know that you should keep anything you don’t want her to get into locked in your suitcase. But you and your husband are not mind readers.
If this wasn’t a wake-up call to your daughter and son-in-law that it was time to teach their child the meaning of “No!” and “Don’t touch!” then I don’t know what it will take to prevent another “oops!” As to your shelling out more money than you already have for Bethany’s medical bills, I think you have given enough, and you should not be blamed for what happened.
Treated like leftovers
DEAR ABBY: My best friend told me several months ago that she needed to make new friends. When I gave her a surprised look, her response was, “No, you took that the wrong way.” I left it at that.
She recently mentioned that she was going to invite several of our neighbors over for cocktails and a light dinner, but she did not invite me. The evening of the event, while her guests were still there, she phoned me. She said they were finished with dinner and asked if I wanted to walk over and get some leftovers. I politely declined, saying I wasn’t dressed.
Abby, I’m shocked that she would ask me to come over to, basically, get a takeout plate. Your thoughts? — No Takeout for Me
DEAR NO TAKEOUT: I think what the woman did was insensitive, and that it’s time you, too, started making some new friends. Considering how this one treated you, it certainly couldn’t hurt.