Dear Prudence chat: I regret adopting my baby.

Advice on manners and morals.
Aug. 1 2011 3:33 PM

Baby Blues

Dear Prudence advises a woman who regrets adopting a child—in a live chat at Washingtonpost.com.

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Emily Yoffe, aka Dear Prudence, is on Washingtonpost.com weekly to chat live with readers. An edited transcript of this week's chat is below. ( Sign up here to get Dear Prudence delivered to your inbox each week. Read Prudie's Slate columns here. Send questions to Prudence at prudence@slate.com.)

(Continued from Page 3)

Q. Backing Out of Job Offer: I recently signed paperwork for a temporary position at an amazing place. I love the staff, but it's not in my ideal location and it is not a long term position. I've now been offered a better job in my ideal city a week before I'm supposed to start the new position. Financially the new offer is so much better for my family, but I just feel like a jerk leaving the original place in a bind. How do I handle this situation?

A: You take the better job! Give the temp place as much notice as possible. Once you explain your situation, anyone should understand. And in this economy, they won't have trouble finding a replacement.

Q. Giving Baby Advice to New Parents: My husband and I are friends with a couple that are expecting a baby soon. The husband is my husband's best friend, whom I have known and have also been close to for almost 10 years. I am not as close to the wife, as they haven't been married long and she' s a little quiet and shy, though certainly someone that I consider a friend. Here's the thing: While talking about cribs and baby things one day, the subject of crib bumpers came up. It seems the wife's sister was in the process of making a homemade one as a gift. I gently mentioned that it was strongly recommended that newborns not have these in cribs, as they can cut air flow to the baby and might be a cause of SIDS. The husband laughed and said that his kid would be ''too smart" to suffocate in such a way. Knowing ''Joe's" sense of humor, I laughed and let it go. Now, after attending the baby shower, and seeing the wonderful bumper that the sister made, I see that ''Robin" put a picture of the completed crib on Facebook, bumper and all. I am hoping that she put it up as to not make her sister upset, but I'm now worried that they intend to use it for the baby when he is born. Is there a way I can tactfully express my real concern over what may be a potential hazard? If it weren't for all the work that Robin's sister put into it, I wouldn't feel so awkward bringing up the subject again.

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A: I, too, saw the article saying that bumpers can be killers and don't belong in cribs. Print it out and give it to the parents-to-be. Suggest that the bumper be de-bumped and made into a pillow or even a wall hanging. The feelings of a sister do not trump the safety of an infant.

Q. Unhygienic Boss: I notice that you have a paucity of replies to the unhygienic boss problem. I suggest that she ask to speak to him and sit down and explain politely and firmly how uncomfortable his grooming habits make her. Asking him to cut his nails and floss in private is not an unreasonable request. I have found in my 40 years of working that if you sit down with someone and present your case respectfully most people will listen to you and will often be embarrassed to find out that they have offended and will do their best to change. I've used this tactic for a variety of problems over the years—fortunately not often or many.

A: Thanks, because I noticed the paucity, too.  If she decides to have the discussion, I would emphasize that you're right to keep it narrowly focused on the clipping and flossing.  People stop listening once the list of infractions starts getting really long.  Maybe a polite and respectful discussion will prompt him to clean up his act generally.  She can open by saying how great a boss he is, and that she has something minor but awkward to discuss.

If she can't bring herself to do it, then she just has to focus on the good things and dodge the flying fingernails.

Emily Yoffe: Thanks, everyone!  I'll talk to you next week.

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Emily Yoffe is the author of What the Dog Did: Tales From a Formerly Reluctant Dog Owner. You can send your Dear Prudence questions for publication to prudence@slate.com. (Questions may be edited.)

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