“Dear Stephanie” A Completely Normal Advice Column by @smickable

Q. Dear Stephanie,

My partner and I are just about to welcome a little bundle of joy into our household. It has been a long and painful research, application, and adoption process. We even considered international adoption but settled with a great local agency. We’ve already fallen in love with our little miracle in the process. But little Elizabeth, that is what we’ve decided to name her, is just 12 weeks old and won’t know she is adopted. When and how do we go about explaining this to her?

-Parenting in Palo Alto

A. Dear Parenting in Palo Alto,

First, I would like to say congratulations on your adoption! This is such a life changing event and you have made such an incredibly selfless and noble decision. So many people don’t even consider adoption. You can breathe a sigh of relief. You have a long way to go before you even have to worry about telling Elizabeth she is adopted. I have had my pride and joy, Lenny, for 4 years now and I am just now thinking about telling him. I would say that most dogs can’t even comprehend the concept that they are not your own flesh and blood till they are about 5 or 6? But when the time feels right, I would just sit them down, tell them you love them more than anything, and get right to the point. You’d be surprised what they can handle. We should never underestimate our little ones. After all they are the future!

Q. Dear Stephanie,

The love of my life and I want to getaway for the weekend but we are on a budget.

What type of getaway will give me the most bang for my buck?

-Frisky in ‘Frisco

A. Dear Frisky in ‘Frisco,

A weekend getaway is by far the best time to bond that special someone, so rest assured, you are already on the right track! A beach is definitely the way to go. You can take long walks, run around in the sand or splash around in the water together. You’ll probably want to eat all of your meals as takeout so you’ll save you a fortune in gratuity and beverages (that’s where the restaurants really get ya!). Also, as long as you find a dog-friendly hotel you only have to pay for a single room, saving you a few bucks. Make sure to bring enough of your dog’s usual dry food so he doesn’t have any digestive issues adjusting to a new diet. Now you are good to go for a weekend bonding with the most important part of your life. Have fun!

Q. Dear Stephanie,

I’m a single mom working long hours to support myself and my family. I just started dating someone and he doesn’t seem to understand that when I’m not working I need to be home with my baby. How can I make my boyfriend understand that I care about him a lot but that my family comes first? I don’t want to scare him away completely.

-Worried in Whittier

A. Dear Worried in Whittier,

First off, I want to say how much I admire and respect you for being a single mom. It is one of the hardest things in the entire world. When it comes to your boyfriend, I think you just need to have a conversation with him where you explain that your family does come first, but he comes a very close second. In my opinion, two date nights a week is the perfect compromise. After all, sitters are EXPENSIVE and you can’t trust them to raise your family. My sitter only comes over a few times a week just to take mine for a quick walk and change his water and even THAT stretches my budget. Maybe as things get more serious you can consider having him come over and introducing him to your dog(s). But for now, if your boyfriend really cares about you, he’ll understand.

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Stephanie is not a professional therapist or even columnist for that matter. She is, however, an avid dog-lover who resides in Los Angeles California with her puppy Lenny and her two remaining human friends.

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