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MOM SAYS DOLLHOUSE BUILT WITH LOVE ISN'T UP TO CODE

DEAR ABBY: My 7-year-old granddaughter, "Kelly," wanted a dollhouse for Christmas. I had a friend build a basic frame, shingled roof, chimney and shutters, then I decorated it.

I did everything by hand. I wallpapered each room, made little rugs and crocheted lace curtains. There were even little window shades. Kelly's room was a perfect princess bedroom. It took weeks, but I loved working on it.

The family came for five days over the holidays. Kelly loved her dollhouse and played with it every day. When it came time to leave, my daughter told Kelly she couldn't take it with her. She had to leave it at Grandma's "so she would have something to play with when she came to visit." Kelly was heartbroken. So was I.

Then my daughter told me (in private) the dollhouse was "too amateurish," which was why she didn't want it in her home. I think about it all the time and don't know how to get past it. Any advice? -- HURT GRANDMA

DEAR HURT: You appear to be a loving grandparent. Sometimes people say things without weighing the effect it will have on the person they're talking to. What your daughter said may have been honest, but it was extremely insensitive in light of the time, effort and love that went into that gift.

Your daughter appears to be more fixated on appearances rather than what's really important in life. What is sad to me is that she may pass along her skewed sense of values to your granddaughter.


DEAR ABBY: I joined a weekly prayer group with women from my church. As a young mom, I appreciate having the opportunity to get out of the house and socialize with other adults, and all the women are nice.

We use an online sign-up to schedule who will host each week. The trouble is, all of the other members have much larger, nicer homes than mine. There's always space for everyone to sit, and a basement for all the kids to play in while we're occupied. I'd love to host, but I'm afraid having all those people in my house would be an embarrassment.

No one has asked why I haven't hosted yet, but I'm getting worried about what to say if someone does. Should I just say I don't have the space? I feel it's rude of me to not take a turn. -- TINY HOUSE DWELLER IN KANSAS

DEAR T.H.D.: Not being able to accommodate a large group is nothing to be embarrassed about. It's a fact of life for many people. If you are asked about why you haven't hosted, tell the truth. Offer to host the gathering at the church -- or outside when the weather permits. If that doesn't work, volunteer to bring food to some of the events so you'll feel like you're contributing your share and no one will feel you are ducking a responsibility.


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.


For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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