Dear Annie: My girlfriend has a thing that she does with her 10-year-old son that I find borderline weird.
The first time I was at her home, while we were cooking dinner together, her son started whining, "Can we do it now, please? Please?" and she says OK and tells me she'll be back in a minute. The two of them then go into the living room. She sits on the sofa and, within view of the boy's sister and myself, he strips down to his underwear and jumps on her lap. She starts bouncing him up and down on her leg, pinching his butt and tickling him, with his legs wrapped around hers.
I asked her 12-year-old daughter how often they do that, and she said every night. Half an hour later, they came back into the kitchen and we ate.
Before I left, I said to my girlfriend, "I see he likes to play horsey with you," and my sweetie says, "Yeah. Well, I told him he's getting a little too old, but I figure it's OK as long as we only do it in the house." She seemed perfectly comfortable with it, but I'm not.
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Do most mothers do this with their 10-year-old sons? I understand some roughhousing, but taking off his clothes and bouncing on her lap, I'm not so sure. We dated for a year before I met her kids, but after seeing this, I'm not sure about us living together. -- Is This Normal?
Dear Normal: And you only find this "borderline weird"? This is shockingly inappropriate. It's one thing for a 10-year-old boy to sit on Mom's lap. It's something else entirely when he strips down to his skivvies, wraps his legs around her and gets tickled, pinched and bounced up and down. Does she truly not understand what her son enjoys about this? Please suggest to your girlfriend that she discuss it with her pediatrician and ask about the best way to stop before she does serious emotional damage to her child. And if you still want to move in with her, make sure these little shenanigans are over first. Otherwise, her son will blame you for ending his fun.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from "Old and Trapped," who resented her husband for sitting on the sofa all day while she cooks and cleans. Please tell her to investigate continuing care senior communities so she can live a happy and carefree life while she's still young enough to enjoy it.
It will be her true "retirement" when she finds a place that will free her of household chores, while also providing entertainment and activities amid friendly peers. My husband was reluctant at first, but ditching the big house and keeping only the things that meant most to us was the best move we ever made. We are only sorry that we waited until our 80s, but we are relishing each day here. -- Not Trapped Here
Dear Not Trapped: Many folks in retirement communities arrive kicking and screaming, but find that they are thrilled with the busy life they have, and they no longer have to do much cooking or cleaning. Thanks for mentioning it.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailboxcreators.com or write to Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.
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