Dear Amy: My husband and I watch our grandsons (ages 3 and 5) twice a week.
We do this so our daughter can save on daycare expenses.
We bring the kids two snacks each time we are with them.
I choose a snack that is always healthy, like fruit, and my husband’s choice is not healthy — usually cookies.
My daughter complains to me about her father’s choices.
I have told her to talk to him. She does, and he ignores her.
He tells me that it makes him happy to give the kids something they view as a treat.
Since it is only twice a week, he doesn’t think it is a big deal. He says that if it is a big deal, our daughter can send the kids to daycare every day.
I see both points of view and think this issue has been blown out of proportion.
I am tired of being in the middle of this.
Any ideas on how to resolve this?
Dear Snacked: If your husband didn’t ply the kids with cookies, any healthy snack delivered by Grandpa would be considered “a treat.” Kids are like that. They can happily eat broccoli trees dipped in yogurt — until Mr. Oreo comes to town.
I won’t waste your time suggesting healthy alternatives to cookies, because your husband has basically decided that his pleasure and esteem is so cheap that it can be obtained through being a sweets dispenser to toddlers. That’s lazy, but unless they have health issues, a few cookies won’t harm these children.
Your husband also doesn’t respect his own daughter’s wishes. That’s a pretty obvious power move, possibly because he wants to see himself as a loving and indulgent grandpa, versus providing daycare on a schedule.
You should hope that he doesn’t take this disrespect further, toward choices that are less benign. After all, when he was a kid every child ate cookies for a snack, and no one rode in a car seat.
However, he is right in this regard. If your daughter does not like being disrespected in this way, she has options.
You say you are in the middle of this, but that’s a choice, too. If your daughter complains about this, tell her to “take this up with your father.”
Dear Amy: My partner and I are in our mid-70s and live in a small home.
For 10 years we have had a wonderful housecleaner spend three hours every two weeks cleaning our home (dusting, mopping, vacuuming). She does a great job.
This Tuesday, she broke our microwave turntable and said she would replace it. I called her the next day to ask if she knew when she would be able to get it for us. She said didn’t know when and apologized.
I told her I had found a replacement online and the soonest delivery was Friday.
She told me that we should subtract the amount from her next check for her cleaning services. The total is over half of what we pay her.
My partner is completely OK with this. I’m not sure. I feel like everyone breaks things or makes mistakes occasionally and we can absorb the cost easily.
I don’t want to lose our housecleaner. She works very hard.
What do you think?
Dear J: If in a decade of being in your home, moving things, dusting things, and working/cleaning your appliances your cleaner has only broken one thing — I’d say she has been exceedingly careful. If a guest or family member accidentally broke this microwave turntable, would you expect them to pay for it? (It sounds as if your husband would.)
Most of us accidentally break a few things a year, and these minor issues should be taken for what they are — accidents.
The kind thing to do is to accept this as an accident, replace the item yourself, and tell your faithful cleaner that you appreciate her apology, but “these things happen,” and that you consider the matter closed.
Dear Amy: Thank you for your compassionate response to “Feeling Helpless,” the grandparents who are balking at sharing the expense of in-patient residential mental health treatment for their grandson.
Any reputable program should have a robust support system for affected families; they should also be able to make excellent recommendations about next steps, both during and after treatment.
— Been There
Dear Been There: I’m genuinely sorry you have “been there,” and I hope the treatment your family member received worked for all of you.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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