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Woman's growing negativity worries her growing family

DEAR ABBY: I'm eight months pregnant with my first child. My usually happy and positive mother is becoming increasingly quick to become negative or angry. The change in her personality has my husband and me concerned about our little one growing up around her.

We don't want our child to assume these characteristics by imitating her grandmother. I can't imagine Mom not being around her first grandchild, and I know I'll need her help, but I can't bear the thought of our child mirroring these behaviors. How do we proceed? 

— FIRST-TIME MOM IN FLORIDA

DEAR MOM: You may be worried needlessly, but try to figure out what is going on with your Mom that would account for her recent personality change. Talk to her about it and raise your concerns. I say this because she may need to be examined by her doctor to determine if something is medically or neurologically wrong with her. If nothing is wrong, you and your husband may need to decide if you would be more comfortable limiting your mother's time with the baby and hiring someone to help you care for your child.

DEAR ABBY: I'm a musician — a bass guitar player. I've been playing for more than 50 years and have been told I'm very good. My problem is my neighbor. He plays guitar and writes songs, neither of which he does well.

From time to time, I'll help him out by laying down the bass track for his songs. But lately he has begun referring to me as "my bass player." I don't WANT to be his bass player. I get no enjoyment from playing with him.

I try my best to avoid him now because he constantly asks me to play. Most of the time, I give him some lame excuse to avoid it. Is there any way I can get out of playing without telling him how I feel about his music? 

— NOT HIS BASS PLAYER

DEAR NOT HIS BASS: You could tell him that your schedule is so full you don't have time to do it, you have "other commitments" or you are concentrating on your own music these days. However, if those excuses don't work, I guarantee that telling him the whole truth will.

DEAR ABBY: My fiance and I have been having food wars with our parents ever since we started dating. Because of our lack of money, we can't move out of our parents' houses yet. My parents fight or yell at me for wanting to eat the kind of food we want to eat. My fiance's mother wants us to never buy our own food and to eat hamburgers and hot dogs every night. She even goes through the trash and yells at my fiance about spending money on food when it's his own money he is spending. How can we keep the peace? So far, we have been eating in the car like nomads. 

— WHAT'S EATING US IN OHIO

DEAR WHAT'S EATING: Tolerating your parents' behavior is the price you and your fiance are paying for roofs over your heads until the two of you can save enough for a place of your own. Until that happens, you may have to bide your time and continue "eating in the car like nomads." (I hope you are both eating as healthfully as you can.)

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