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Ask Amy

Daughter takes mom’s place in bed

Q. About 10 months ago I started sleeping in the guest room of my home because I am a super light sleeper and any little movements or sounds wake me constantly at night.

I was suffering from fatigue and depression and now my health has improved. My 10-year-old daughter has now moved in on my old spot next to my husband and I find her asleep in bed with him every morning.

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It was really cute and sweet at first seeing her cuddled up to him with his arm around her. Now she expects to sleep there and she brings her books in at night and they read together.

Even though I know this is an innocent arrangement, I told my husband that she is too old now to sleep with him. He told her that last night was the last time and she now has to sleep in her own room. We told her we would rearrange her room however she wants to be comfortable.

Well, she cried and Dad caved in and told her she could sleep with him on weekends.

Amy, I don’t think they should be sleeping together at all. I think others would view it as inappropriate and I would also like my bed available for conjugal visits.

What do you think?

A. The obvious answer is that if you want your daughter to stop sleeping in your marital bed, you will have to sleep there — at least at the beginning of the night (you could enjoy family story time together and then escort her to her room). Having two beds (or two separate mattresses) in the room might help you to stay with him and still get a decent night’s sleep. Earplugs work wonders (at least for me).

I think it’s likely that your husband is resentful that you have left the marriage bed.

You and he are not demonstrating optimal parenting because you are unwilling to try other solutions and you are (both) putting your daughter at the center of this marital issue. Do not blame your daughter. She is doing what kids do best — leaping into a noticeable void to have her own emotional needs met.

Q. My older brother passed away 2½ years ago and I cannot bring myself to display his picture anywhere in my house. All my siblings have done this (as has my daughter), but I cannot seem to bring myself to do this. Am I just trying to forget that he died, or what? We were pretty close and I remain close to his wife and child. Any ideas?

A. You do not need to look at a photograph to remember your brother. I hope you find that as time goes on your memory-triggered sadness turns the corner. A photograph of you two as children (instead of one of him as an adult) might make you smile.

Q. “Shocked Daughter” witnessed her mother shoplifting. Years ago when I was in high school, I worked at a deli and we had an older gentleman that came every day for years to buy a cup of coffee. One day, we noticed that he was “taking” some cookies. We did not have the heart to say anything to him (he was in his late 80s) and we nicknamed him our “Cookie Monster.”

I agree with you that “Daughter” should reach out to her mom and take her to the doctor. I still think of our beloved cookie monster and wish that there was a family member that would have intervened.

A. I think your indulgence was probably good for this man, too.

Amy Dickinson can be reached at askamy@tribune.com. Follow her on Twitter @askingamy or “like” her on Facebook.

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