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Baby boosters

posted: 01/18/2017 1:53 a.m. Discuss

What's the best way to mentally stimulate your baby? It doesn't take a genius, just a loving, involved parent. Here are 20 ideas for fun and simple things you can do to boost your baby's IQ.

Creature Feature

posted: 01/18/2017 1:53 a.m. Discuss

Many of the questions I receive from readers are related to litter box problems, with the majority concerning cats that begin to inexplicably go in places other than the box. When I hear from them, the owners of these cats are usually at their wits' end trying to understand what's happening and how to deal with it.

SHARON RANDALL: Real hero willing to be needed and needy

posted: 01/18/2017 1:52 a.m. Discuss

There he is, my hero. In front of the TV, headphones on his head and controller in his hands. As bug-eyed as a chihuahua at a fireworks extravaganza. And fighting for his life in an Xbox game called Minecraft.

Read-aloud books to chase chill away

posted: 01/18/2017 1:50 a.m. Discuss

Sometimes things seem colder than usual, and perhaps a bit dull, particularly after all the holiday buzz. You can warm things up with these books, which explore the wonders of winter. So make a hot pot of cocoa, grab your little ones by the hands and cozy up on the couch. Your kids will be inspired by these stories.

Parenting: 'Pot'-smoking son needs new friends, drug test

posted: 01/18/2017 1:48 a.m. Discuss

Q We recently discovered that our 16-year-old son has been smoking marijuana on a regular basis. At first we intended to begin using an over-the-counter drug test but then learned that teens have figured out how to beat these tests. One of our son's friends, for example, was regularly tested at home and always tested negative despite the fact that he never stopped using. Also, do you think he should go into counseling?

EX-ETIQUETTE

posted: 01/18/2017 1:48 a.m. Discuss

Q I recently picked my daughter up from her father's home after the Christmas break only to hear her call out the car window as we left, "Bye, Mom!" I did my best to cover up my shock, but I never thought I would have to face this. I do not want my child calling anyone else "Mom." What's good ex-etiquette?

MONEY MATTERS

posted: 01/18/2017 1:48 a.m. Discuss

DEAR JEANNE & LEONARD: A couple of years ago, I had a part-time business selling blinds and window coverings. When good friends were redecorating their home, I offered to sell them window treatments at my cost, and they enthusiastically accepted. They gave me a $1,800 deposit to start the work and paid me another $1,800 when I finished. Well, recently I was going through some old papers, and I was stunned to find both checks, uncashed. I have no idea why I failed to deposit them and no idea why my friends failed to alert me that their checks hadn't cleared. So, uncertain what to do, I mailed the checks back to them, along with a note explaining how I'd just discovered them. Since then, I haven't heard from my friends, and I'm not sure what to do next. What do you think?

On-the-road parents

posted: 01/11/2017 1:47 a.m. Discuss

Chris French readily admits life would be easier if his wife, Stacie, a flight attendant, didn't travel regularly for work, leaving him with child-rearing duties plus a full-time job.

Creature Feature

posted: 01/11/2017 1:46 a.m. Discuss

My house cat is approximately 10 years old. She has recently stopped urinating in her litter box and has chosen a rug at our back door. I bought a new litter box, which she used for a few days but has reverted back to the rug. What can I do to get her back to using her box?

SHARON RANDALL: Refresher course for grandmas starts here

posted: 01/11/2017 1:46 a.m. Discuss

Once in a great while an idea comes along like a bolt of lightning out of the blue, dazzling you with its brilliance and making you want to shout it from the rooftops.

Parenting: Child's tantrums ceased once adults retook reins

posted: 01/11/2017 1:45 a.m. Discuss

One of the biggest problems among today's parents concerns their tendency to think in psychological terms about their children's behavior problems.

MONEY MATTERS

posted: 01/11/2017 1:45 a.m. Discuss

DEAR JEANNE & LEONARD: My brother is the executor of our father's estate. Dad died two years ago, and "David" distributed most of the $600,000 in the estate a few months later. But it has been 21 months since Dad's death, and David's still holding back $10,000, half of which is mine. He admits that all of Dad's bills have been paid, but says he needs to keep $10,000 in the estate for three years after Dad's final tax returns were filed in case the IRS decides to audit them. That means holding on to the money for another 18 months! By the way, it's not as if David believes there's a problem with the returns. He says he "just wants to be on the safe side." Isn't this unreasonable? If Dad's estate ends up owing the IRS something, of course I'll pay my share. But meanwhile, I could use my $5,000. Frankly, I think what's really going on is that my brother, with whom I'm not close, is enjoying making me wait.

EX-ETIQUETTE

posted: 01/11/2017 1:44 a.m. Discuss

Q My ex and I have a son and have been trying to co-parent for five years. There have been ups and downs -- she was resentful that I did not suggest marriage, but we hardly knew each other and I didn't think that would be the answer. Things have gotten really bad since I got married last year and my wife is now pregnant. The exchanges are extremely hostile, with my ex yelling obscenities at my wife in front of our son. Now my son says he doesn't want to go back to his mother. What's good ex-etiquette?

Parents set example on how to use media wisely

posted: 01/11/2017 1:44 a.m. Discuss

Working out and eating right are at the top of most people's New Year's resolutions.

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