DEAR ABBY: How does one deal with a nosy neighbor? “Miss Nosy” looks through my mail, and I caught her red- handed with a former neighbor’s mail, which she had opened, read and apparently hoarded. I didn’t confront her because I had just moved next door and didn’t want to start a feud.

Miss Nosy claims she goes into my mailbox to make sure our postman hasn’t accidentally put something for her in there. Doesn’t she know that if he did, I’d give it to her?

If someone comes to my door, Miss Nosy calls and demands to know who it is and as much about his or her life history as I’m willing to share. She also asks me questions that are far too personal. She is elderly, but I don’t think that’s a valid excuse for her behavior.

Renting a P.O. box would be inconvenient. I’m considering replacing my mailbox with one that locks so that only I can get my mail out. Miss Nosy may pout about it, but surely she would get the hint. Any suggestions? – INVADED IN TENNESSEE

DEAR INVADED: What your neighbor is doing is called mail tampering, and it’s a felony. A locked mailbox is the surest, safest solution to your problem. You would be doing your neighbors a tremendous favor if you called the local postal inspector’s office and reported what the woman is doing. They may not haul Miss Nosy off to the pokey, but she’ll be sent a letter saying that what she’s doing is a felony, and if a check should go missing, she’ll be blamed for it.

P.S. Suggest to the woman that since she doesn’t seem to have enough to occupy her, she should start a Neighborhood Watch program. It wouldn’t take up much more of her time than she’s already devoting, and would be a more constructive use of it.



DEAR ABBY: How do you get a child to stop biting? My sister’s little boy, “Alan,” is 1 1/2. My son, “Lee,” is 2. Every time they are together, Alan bites Lee out of anger. Sometimes the bite remains for days – and once it stayed a whole week.

Lee does not bite his cousin back. Since we are a close family, the children are together almost every day. My sister is ashamed of her son’s bullying. Do you have any solutions? – FRUSTRATED IN LOUISIANA

DEAR FRUSTRATED: For the next month or so, you and your sister should make a point of watching the children closely. When Alan becomes aggressive and starts to bite, his mother should make eye contact with him and say, “Stop it! We don’t do that! If you’re going to bite, you can’t play with Lee.” Then the child should be separated from his cousin for a 15- to 30-minute time-out. Once Alan understands there are consequences for his actions, the biting should stop.



DEAR ABBY: My husband, “Brad,” and I have a beautiful daughter, “Annie,” who was born after a difficult labor and an emergency C-section in April 2001.

We’re now expecting our second child, who is due next April just a few days after Annie’s birthday. (This birth will also be Caesarean.) Brad thinks it would be great to have the baby on Annie’s birthday, but I’m not so sure. Do you think it’s best for each child to have their own birthday, or would it form special bond between siblings to share a birthday? Please respond. I need you to sway the vote. – UNDECIDED MAMA IN OHIO

DEAR UNDECIDED MAMA: I’m pleased to oblige. Children are individuals, and each child should have one day to be the sole center of attention. Although it might be more convenient to celebrate both birthdays together, I recommend against it.



Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: “Abby’s Favorite Recipes” and “More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby.” Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $10 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby – Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in price.)


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