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    Ask Amy

    Grandmother doesn’t want adopted child in family photo

    Dear Readers: I’ve stepped away from the Ask Amy column for two weeks to work on a new writing project. I hope you enjoy these edited “best of” columns in my absence.

    Q. I had a child before I met my husband. When we got married, my husband adopted my daughter, who was a year old at the time. We then had three more children together. Now they’re all grown and have children of their own.

    My mother-in-law wants to have a “generation picture” done. She plans to include only the children my husband and I have biologically together. My husband considers my daughter to be “our” daughter.

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    Is it rude of his mother to ask for pictures with our other children and to exclude her?

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    If my mother-in-law won’t include our daughter in the shot, I feel no pictures should be taken.

    Confused and Hurt

    A. Your mother-in-law’s distinction between biological and adopted children is offensive. Adoptive parents are “real” parents in every way.

    It is somewhat surprising that all of your children are now adults and yet your mother-in-law persists in differentiating among them. You and your husband should have set her straight on this many years ago. If you didn’t, or if she has forgotten what makes a family, now is the perfect time to educate her on the subject. I completely agree with your conditions regarding this family photo. (April 2009)

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    Q. I work at a community college. The college recently installed two lactation rooms; the handbook states that students should not bring children to the classroom.

    We have a staff member who had a baby nine months ago. She leaves her desk to pump three times a day for 20 minutes each (that’s one hour a day). I had no problem with this — until she told people that her son stopped breast-feeding two months ago, but she wasn’t ready to give up her “mommy-time.”

    She continues to pump because it’s good birth control, and to continue to lose the baby weight.

    None of us would be allowed to leave our desk an hour a day to exercise, so why should she be allowed to pump to lose weight?

    Fairness for All

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    A. I applaud your college’s commitment to supporting the needs of mothers who want to work and/or further their educations, while continuing to feed their babies naturally. But let’s clear up a few things: Your co-worker’s baby might have stopped breast-feeding, but her child could still be consuming breast milk through a bottle, necessitating her pumping during the day.

    Lactation does not provide consistent birth control. If your co-worker believes this commonly held misconception (excuse the pun), it could lead to an unexpected pregnancy — not to mention your further resentment regarding her lactation breaks. Also, breast-feeding does not necessarily hasten weight loss after a baby’s birth.

    If your co-worker’s pumping schedule is interfering with her work to the extent that it impinges on your (or her) ability to do your (or her) job — or disrupts the functioning of the office — then you should bring this up with your supervisor. Otherwise, stick to your own knitting. (May 2009)

    Q. My parents divorced when I was young. I lived most of the time with my mother.

    My room at my father’s house was sometimes used for guests when I was not visiting, and I had no objection to this.

    Several years ago, I was visiting for Thanksgiving, and so was my stepmother’s sister. The room choices were to stay in either my room or a guest/craft room.

    My room was larger, and my stepmother’s sister arrived first and was put there!

    When I arrived several days later, they told me that the first guest to arrive is usually given the larger room — so I stayed in the craft room. Shouldn’t they have saved my room for me? Displaced in VA

    A. Shouldn’t you have offered to give up your room to your family’s guest? Yes, you should have. You have held onto this petty gripe for several years. Let it go. (September 2009)

    Dear Readers: Are you curious about my background and life outside of the confines of this space? Read my two memoirs: “The Mighty Queens of Freeville” and “Strangers Tend to Tell Me Things,” available wherever books are sold or borrowed.

    Amy Dickinson can be reached at askamy@amydickinson.com.