Dear Annie: My wife is pregnant with our first child. She's due in a few weeks and recently asked me to get a vaccine for whooping cough (Tdap). I got the vaccine.
However, now she is talking about everyone who will be around the baby getting the vaccine, including my parents. I can just imagine me telling (not asking) my mom to get a whooping cough vaccine before she can hold her grandchild and her laughing maniacally in my face. Actually, that would be a good response. I could also see her flipping out, not doing it, my wife getting upset with me (obviously) and everyone being unhappy.
I know vaccines can be a charged issue, but this is more about being stuck between my wife and my mom. I have to back my wife, but I cannot control my mom's actions. How should I approach my mom? — Vaccinated Into a Corner
Dear Vaccinated into a Corner: It sounds like you are between a rock and a hard place — your wife's insistence that your mother get vaccinated and your anticipation that your mom will refuse to get the vaccination. Approach your mom with empathy, and then with facts. Tell her that you understand her skepticism; she never had to ask her parents to get vaccinated before they held her babies, after all. But then explain what's changed. In the last several years, whooping cough has made a comeback. In 2012, there were around 48,000 cases, the most on record since 1955. And according to Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC, "Babies who get whooping cough often catch it from family members, including grandparents, who may not even know they have whooping cough." Visit https://www.cdc.gov/whoopingcough for more information that might persuade her. And if she's still not convinced, perhaps you could ask your doctor to speak with her.
Dear Annie: How do you get your relatives to bring the right food at family gatherings? Last year, I sent out emails and asked each couple to bring a specific item: i.e., four sandwiches or other items so that our hostess (namely Grandma) wouldn't have to cook or prepare food.
All the couples brought huge sandwiches from a franchise and we had way too much food! We thought that they would prepare ham and cheese sandwiches or roast beef and cheese sandwiches, etc., and cut into four pieces to arrange on trays for perusal. Why is it that young people now think they have to purchase items? Can't they make something? Is it too much to ask? — Not Enough Cooks
Dear Not Enough Cooks: You can look at the sandwich tray half-full or half-empty, and right now you're glaring at the crumbs. Instead of criticizing your family members for buying food rather than preparing it, be grateful that they brought food — and that you have leftovers. A great family activity would be to take the leftovers to a local homeless shelter or food bank. Be sure to call first and check that they can accept perishable foods.
And if you insist that your relatives must make food themselves rather than buying it, invite everyone over for a cooking party. I'm sure they would love to learn some of Grandma's recipes.
Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected] To find out more about Annie Lane and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.