But first? Our first Featured Pet of 2020! Please, meet Wally:
Her human companion, Lydia, reports: “Please meet Wally (Wallace when she’s in trouble). In her short time on this planet she has managed to charm pretty much everyone she meets.”
“Wally is widely recognized as the Mayor of the local dog park, welcoming new pups as well as the regulars, and informing all of the park’s amenities – mostly where the water fountain is, and which picnic areas are most likely to result in scraps.”
“When she’s not in the park, Wally is on campus with her Dad, serving as a completely unlicensed but *very* effective therapy dog for college students trying their best to learn to speak Spanish AND how to be humans in this world. She is the light of our lives and we spoil her accordingly.”
Thank you so much, Wally and Lydia!!!!! What a perfect start to our year.
Oh, gotta plug my column, obviously:
Dear Care and Feeding,
I come from a long (very long) line of dysfunction that has, thankfully, improved a bit with each generation. While my great-grandmother was cruel, violent, manipulative, abusive, and neglectful, my own mother was mostly just absent. I’ve tried very hard to break that cycle and have a warm and close relationship with my own children. My grandmother (who fell more to the neglectful and manipulative end of the spectrum) is still alive, but lives in another state and we are mostly estranged. I send Christmas and birthday cards, and occasional brief notes with photos of my children and we speak on the phone about twice a year. She hasn’t seen me or my children in a decade. Unsurprisingly, she has no idea who they are. When I force them to wish her a Merry Christmas during our semi-annual phone call, she has no idea which child is which. I do all of these things, by the way, not out of love or affection, but out of some perverse need to “take the high road” in the relationship and try to insulate myself against regretful recrimination when she eventually dies, if that gives you some insight into how things work around here.
Over the years I’ve been brutally honest about her to them. They know that she was a miserable mother and a pretty terrible grandmother. But now that they are starting to copy the way I speak about her (her drinking, her total lack of maternal instinct), it makes me a little uncomfortable and ashamed. I cringe inside and want to yell that they should respect their elders! I have no idea why I have this urge to defend her, but I have told them about her own cruel upbringing and tried to make them empathize and understand that she didn’t have much of a chance to turn out any other way. That hasn’t changed the way they speak about her at all. I think a lot of it is their way of expressing that they are hurt and baffled by her disinterest.
I can’t articulate why it makes me uncomfortable, so I can’t really reason this through with them. And I can’t hypocritically tell them that they can’t repeat the very same things they’ve heard come out of my mouth. Should I just let this go and try to be more mindful of my own language in the future?
—Don’t Say as I Say!
Personally, I would have just thanked them and tossed out the kit after they left (my mother raised me to be profusely excited in person even if given literal dog shit as a present), but no, these things are terrible gifts and you should not give away your personal data to please the gift-giver:
This is a short one. First, background. I work in a tech field and I have taken a big step back in terms of my personal data privacy and control in the last few years, if I have a presence somewhere, or I give my data to someone - it’s because I want to, and I work to limit what I turn over when I do.
I was given a DNA kit as a “Christmas present”, and I quickly said I wouldn’t use it because of the reservations I have about these companies creating and handling databases of millions of people, and their DNA profiles.
The person who gave this to me reacted quite badly and said it was only a bit of fun and wanted me to do it to help them with their family tree research. They kept pushing until I had to rather bluntly say they’ve wasted their money and this isn’t a gift for me, it’s for them. I’ve flatly refused to do it, and they’re now acting like I’ve somehow wronged them. To bring this full circle, the person who gave me this “present” knows fully well what my stance on these things and should have expected this reaction from me. Or so I thought.
This mountain lion is clearly on performance-enhancing drugs:
This is just a bummer, frankly:
I (27f) think my daughter (10f) might be parent-trapping me and her father (27m)
Her father and I were together until she was 2 and currently split custody. The reason for our breakup was his family, who didn't like or approve of me. While we tried to get past it, we were 16/17 when I was pregnant, so his family were his only source of income, and then they eventually said if he didn't end things with me then they'd disown him. When our daughter was 5 his parents passed away, and he's approached me and apologised for letting his family control him the way they did. I told him that I understood why things played out the way they did and I didn't blame him, as we were only teenagers at the time, and despite what happened with us he was still a good father who stuck to the custody agreement after we broke up, which didn't go unappreciated.
Fast forward to today. Our daughter has grown up and started asking about why we split up. Her father told her the truth. Our daughter then says to me, in nicer language than this (but this was the gist), that now they're gone what's stopping us from being together, and I told her that we were just better as friends.
Since then our daughter has been doing some things that give me pause. I know logically that a 10 year old can't have some secret master plan, but it feels like she does.
We already did one weekly meal with the three of us when she's switching houses, but a month ago she asked if we can move our weekly dinner to a restaurant, which requires us dressing in things other than sweats, and she's made a point of saying to us "doesn't mum look pretty?"/"doesn't dad look handsome?".
She also keeps asking us about our relationship before it was platonic co parenting, wanting to know how we got together and what made us fall in love with each other.
We figured it was all normal, but then she asked me what mistletoe is and I told her. She then apparently asked dad to get mistletoe to put up before I came over for Christmas dinner.
She also put "a baby sister" on her Christmas list.
We've not talked to her about it yet but we need to figure out what she's doing first. We don't want her to get her hopes up but we also don't know if this is normal 10 year old stuff or not.
Does this sound like parent trapping to anyone else?
Should we be concerned?
How do we let her down gently?
This person is a total dick and you should stop hanging out with them:
So basically, i’m a student and i’m pretty broke. i have a friend that i’m pretty close with that i want to stop seeing because whenever i’m with him i always end up spending a ton of money and it’s usually on him. for example; the other day we were in a pretty expensive bar that he dragged me along to, i told him before we went in that i couldn’t afford it so he said that he would pay for everything. he ended up ordering over $200 of drinks and food for us and i was pretty hyped that he was paying. then, as we were leaving, he told me that it was too expensive and we needed to split the bill so we did and i spent $100 that i could’ve put towards food for the week or textbooks. this kind of stuff happens all the time with him and i’m getting sick of it.
You are not the asshole for telling your dad, but you are definitely the asshole for humiliating him and his wife at a family lunch instead of speaking to him in private. However, you are also extremely young, so, maturity lesson:
My (19F) mother cheated on my father (39M), she left my father for the person she cheated on him with
They married and had children, she stopped seeing me at all when I was 3.
My father raised me and my sister (17F) by himself, until I was 14.
My father then met my step mother who was 24* at the time.
I hate my step mother, she is a nasty individual- not to me or my siblings (17,2)
We recently got told that shes pregnant.
Not too long after I snooped on her phone (shitty move, idc) and found out she has been seeing someone else, I only did this because she was acting weird.
I tried to tell my father and he wouldn't listen to me.
I waited until we had a family lunch and outted her in front of everyone.
My father might be staying with my step mother and is super pissed, he hasn't left his room yet.
He is devastated
My grandmother thinks I was an asshole
AITA? I think he deserves to know even if he didn't want to hear it.
your stepmom is a piece of shit and your father enables her to be one, you are great:
(SM = Stepmom) (I won’t be able to tell you everything she’s done.) (I’m 14f) My parents divorced when I was 6. My dad introduced me to my stepmom 3 months later. I lived with them a week at a time. I’ve never liked her, she’s mad all the time and just so stiff.
She never wanted to do anything with me, so we never really got to know each other.
What she wanted to do though, was to fat-shame me. She used to weigh me everytime I came to them after being with my mom for a week. I’ve never been overweight, and I’m comfortable with my body. At least now. She stopped when I accidentally told my mom about this, I guess she got really mad lol.
My first brother was born when I was 8, second was born when I was 10. Both with dad and SM. I’ve always loved them, but at the same time I’ve always hated loud sounds and strong smells. Therefore, I didn’t like to be near them for too long. And yes, they smelled really bad and screamed all the timd.
When I was 12, I found out dad had cheated on my mom with SM since I was 2. I already hated SM, but this made me hate her even more. I kind of knew about the cheating, but now I knew it was 100% true.
At the same time, I started having trouble going to school. I got diagnosed with social anxiety, then ADD and autism.
SM drove me to the first “test” to see if I had add or autism. She told me to act normal Because “I wasn’t ret****d”. She’s the reason as to why I couldn’t accept my diagnoses for so long.
I can also tell you about the last time I was eating dinner with them. I’d already stopped living with them, but was eating dinner with them sometimes. I was really uncomfortable, so I wore my jacket at the dinner table. It makes me more comfortable, I didn’t think it was mean. I didn’t want to be mean. However, SM thought this was really mean and unrespectful. So she stormed off to her (and dad’s) room and didn’t come out the rest of the night (Not the first time she’s done this).
So, now, I’m N O T living with them. I live with my mom, who actually loves and supports me for who I am. I don’t want to live with them. They’re calling me every other week to scold me, because this is affecting my brothers. They’re telling me how mean I am for ignoring my brothers. I’ve told them I can babysit them if they want to, but they won’t let me because they don’t trust me.
So yeah, I feel so bad for my brothers. I don’t want this to affect them. But I just hate both my dad and SM so much, I can’t deal with them anymore. (Sorry for any spelling mistakes, english is not my first language)
I would be more sympathetic to you (I know you were absolutely trying to do the right thing) if your wife hadn’t experienced so many losses including a stillbirth at 37 weeks. She is right to be furious with you, and you should continue apologizing like whoa in order to fix the situation (she is also slightly overreacting):
This is a horrible situation and I need to know if my wife is justified.
My wife gave birth to our first baby 3 days ago. We've had a rough few years with 2 miscarriages and a stillbirth at 37 weeks. So my wife was terrified this whole pregnancy. I am a firefighter and was on duty when my wife went into labour. Her doctor said that it would likely be a while so I decided to stay at the base for a little longer because it is about mayhem and we're never enough people anyway. Then one of my mates gets a call that her grandfather had a heart attack and will probably not make it. Obviously she was devastated. Things got really hectic we got called out to another fire and our captain said one of us could go but not both. I told my colleague not to worry she should go and spend time with her grandfather since it will be her last chance. So I had to go out and missed the birth of my child. I got there 2 hours after my girl was born. I felt horrible and apologised profusely to my wife but she just yelled at me, said I let her down in the scariest moment of her life and then told me to leave. So I left and waited in the hallway. It's been 3 days and she refuses to say anything apart from the bare minimum related to the baby. They can leave tomorrow and she's informed me that she was going to stay with her sister who recently had a baby too until she "knows what to do about our relationship or what's left of it".
I understand that it must have been scary for her but my reasoning is that only one of us could leave and I will have a whole life to be with my child whereas my mate only had a few hours with her loved one left
I guarantee your boyfriend has bulldozed over your desires before, and I do not like him:
So, my BF and I are currently both seething.
In September, I received a random email from BF — reservations to a popular skiing town ~2.5 hours away from the city we live in. I do not ski or snowboard. The reservations were for 4 days over NYE.
He constantly books things randomly like this.
"Why did you send me that?" I texted him in response to the email. He tells me with (unshared) excitement that he got an amazing deal through a friend. I told him I wasn't sure I would want to go, and he said, and I quote, "we'll talk about it."
A few busy months go by. Finally, the holidays and this year I've been invited to spend a week over the holidays (Dec 21 - 29) on a cruise with him and his *entire* family. This was booked by his 80 year old grandparents. I'm one of two girlfriends to go, to be surrounded by 15 of his extended family members on a floating boat for a week.
The cruise went fine, but it took a lot of ~~playing the nice, totally game~~ girlfriend, which, as I hope you agree, is exhausting. It was also hard to be away from my own family on Christmas. I gave my boyfriend my present on actual Christmas day. He did not have one for me. He insisted that he had something prepared 'after the cruise' but it still stung for some reason. I know him and it is likely he just didn't prepare anything.
ANYWAY on the cruise we had one argument where I say, in tears, that I *do not* want to spend my NYE in this skiing resort town. I've been away from my friends AND family for upwards of a week on this cruise, and have felt that the orbit of his life has taken me out of mine. He said he agreed and that I don't have to go.
But here we are. 10pm yesterday in the cab on the way home my BF turns to me and says "So what time do you want to head up tomorrow?". My heart sank. It is like he hasn't heard a word I've said.
Today the real argument begins.
I want to spend NYE with him, but I also want to see my friends, my family, and just generally live a portion of the holidays on my terms. He told me that he invited two of his other friends (who are recently engaged). His messages with them detail how excited they are, that they'll bring champagne and drinks and "can't wait to ring in the new year'.
In theory, it seems like a fun plan. But on grounds of my stubbornness and exasperation with having essentially no control over my time and experiences this holiday season, I've reiterated how much I don't want to go (and never had). In response to this, BF tells me, "[name of our friends] will think you're a flake".
I don't want to ruin the celebration plans of others, and I'd love to spend NYE with my BF. But I just do not want to be dragged to this skiing town. AITA?
I love you SO MUCH. Last year was horrible. It was awful. We are not doing that again. We are gonna crush it on all fields and in all directions. Got it?