Dear Abby: Woman changes diapers without the OK of child’s parents

One mom caught her in the act and scolded her — was that an overreaction?

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DEAR ABBY: My sister-in-law “Brenda” often takes it upon herself to change a baby’s diaper during social gatherings with family. She never bothers to ask the baby’s parents if it’s OK to do this, and they never solicit her help. For years, I found it a bit strange, but never said anything to Brenda or another family member.

Some time ago, my in-laws and immediate family were at my son’s baptismal party. Several babies from my wife’s side as well as my own were there. My wife’s relatives aren’t well-acquainted with mine. Before our wedding, neither of our families had ever met the other.

During the festivities, my wife’s niece — who was still in diapers — appeared to have a full load in her back side. Her parents were in another room. Without informing them of the issue or asking permission, Brenda took it upon herself to change the diaper. The child’s mother walked into the room and began to loudly scold Brenda for doing it without her consent. You could see the mother was upset and scared, since she did not know Brenda at all.

After the party ended, my family couldn’t understand why the child’s mother became so upset. They thought she was some kind of nut for reacting the way she did. I fully understand why the mother became upset. Given the fact that she doesn’t know Brenda, and that one must clean the baby’s private parts when changing a diaper, I don’t understand why Brenda would take this upon herself. What’s your opinion, Abby? — STRANGE IN THE EAST

DEAR STRANGE: What your sister-in-law did may have been fine with her own family, but for her to have changed the diaper of a child whose parents she didn’t know well (and from whom she didn’t have permission!) was inappropriate. I don’t fault the mother for being upset. Rather than blame her for reacting the way she did, it’s time someone explains boundaries to Miss Brenda.

DEAR ABBY: Being bored due to the quarantine, I signed up for to look for old friends. Moments later I received a response from a male classmate. We graduated the same year. I really don’t remember him, although he said he remembered me. Anyway, we started texting and exchanging graduation pictures. He still lives in our hometown; I don’t. We have started talking almost every day.

My problem is, we have so many things in common, from family to same make of car and insurance company, I have started getting a creepy feeling. It freaked me out to the point that I blocked him.

He was always respectful, but for us to have so much in common made my stomach lurch. Do you think this is possible? Or is there a chance he could be stalking me? — FREAKED OUT

DEAR FREAKED: It could be coincidental that you have so much in common, but I would never advise anyone who had a gut feeling that something wasn’t right to ignore it. Listen to your intuition and you will never go wrong.

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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order “How to Be Popular.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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