Dear Annie: I am a 33-year-old, divorced, childless woman. Most of the men I have dated have children. I am now dating "Mike," who is very sweet to me, but he can be rather defensive when it comes to his 8-year-old son, "Zachary."
I don't like the way Zack speaks to me or to other adults. When we first met, I said, "Hey, buddy! Nice to meet you." He replied curtly, "My name isn't Buddy," and he did not respond to me for the rest of the evening. Mike said it was because he is shy, but I think he's rude.
On another evening, we went to dinner with my family. My father had a beer with his meal. At the end of the evening, Dad said goodbye to Zachary. The boy looked straight at my father and told us he "would not speak to him because he drank beer." Mike never said a word.
When the teachers have issues with Zachary's behavior, Mike disregards them, saying he does not believe everything the teachers say. While he will tell Zachary not to act up in school, he will not discipline him.
Mike and I have been dating for 10 months, and Zachary still doesn't know we have a relationship. Mike feels that it's too soon after the divorce, but the split was two years ago. Can you help me? Feeling Slighted
Dear Slighted: We feel sorry for Zack. He's 8 years old, his parents are divorced, and he's having a hard time with it. Of course, Mike should teach him how to be more respectful, but he feels too guilty to do it.
Please suggest to Mike that he get counseling for Zack, and maybe take some parenting classes so he can learn how to raise his son with love and appropriate discipline. Encourage Mike to speak up when Zack is rude, but otherwise stay out of it as much as possible.
Dear Annie: I am a female nurse, 46, married with two small boys, ages 7 and 8. Ten years ago, my brother was diagnosed with hemochromatosis. I had a physical recently and told the doctor to check for this. My serum iron came back slightly high, and I have now had the lab test to diagnose this disorder.
I am protected somewhat because I still menstruate and lose iron each month, but if I had let this go until after menopause, I could have developed arthritis, heart disease, liver disease, diabetes, etc. Please tell your readers that having a serum iron test could save their lives. Treatment is simple: Donate a pint of blood. I would like to know if there are other middle-aged females with this so I do not feel alone. Thank you. Lawrence, Kan.
Dear Lawrence: We guarantee you are not alone. Hemochromatosis, or iron overload, is a genetic metabolic disorder that causes iron buildup in major organs.
You can have it, or be a carrier, and not know it. For more information, contact the American Hemochromatosis Society (americanhs.org) at (888) 655- IRON (888-655-4766).
Dear Annie: This is in reference to the letters about men wearing pantyhose. My wife and I have three sons. One day at the store, I noticed my wife was buying a large amount of pantyhose. I asked her if she was stocking up. She said no, they were for our older boys, who were in high school at the time. She told me that they wanted the pantyhose for football season.
In our town, it gets very cold in the winter, and the boys wear pantyhose under their uniforms to keep warm. Apparently, the light weight of the pantyhose was ideal for both warmth and movement. There may be other reasons why a man or boy might wear pantyhose other than being a cross-dresser. Dad Out East
Dear Dad: We're glad to know it. And we hope Mom takes advantage of the sales. Pantyhose for football-playing boys can get expensive.
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