DEAR ABBY: I’m a married father with a son 19 months old, and a baby girl on the way. While I couldn’t be more excited about my daughter’s impending arrival, I’m unsure about whether there is a right time to stop doing things like changing a diaper or seeing my daughter unclothed because she’s a girl and I’m not.
I come from a conservative family, but because this is a new experience for me, I’m not sure how to go about it. I know this dynamic changes when these roles are occupied by a mother and her son, and that a little boy is probably older by the time the transition occurs. I don’t want to end up in a position where my wife or daughter regrets my involvement in some aspects of my daughter’s life. Any thoughts? — EXPECTANT DAD IN NEW YORK
DEAR EXPECTANT DAD: Fathers have become far more involved in child-rearing in recent years than they were in generations past, and it’s a wonderful thing. You should not be worried that changing your daughter’s diapers or giving her a bath will scar her emotionally. In fact, the opposite is true. Discuss this with your wife and your daughter’s pediatrician, and I’m sure they will allay your fears.
As to when you should stop seeing your daughter unclothed, you have years before that may become necessary. As she becomes aware of her changing body, she will probably let you know, or her mother will. This is a cultural thing. Some families practice a naturist lifestyle without anyone being “damaged” by it.
DEAR ABBY: I have been working as a desk clerk at a motel in Montana for several years. With travel season here, I was hoping you could help your readers who find themselves on the road to avoid sleepless nights and headaches.
Several times a year many of the accommodations on the interstate can be fully booked due to weather or local events, and travelers are sometimes forced to drive several hundred miles to find a room for the night. You can help your readers by reminding them that they should start checking on motel occupancy early in the day, or even the day before, if they know where they would like to stop for the night. That way, situations like this can be avoided, and they will have a more enjoyable and relaxing trip. — ON THE ROAD AGAIN
DEAR ON THE ROAD: Thank you for the suggestion. Many of my readers take road trips during the summer months, and I hope they’ll remember your letter before they start the ignition and head for the highways.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.