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ToodleMama

Grandmothers, do you think your GC are spoiled?

24 posts in this topic

I think I'm giving this too much headspace, but it bugs the heck out of me so I'm asking. FIL is a very sweet person. He's the type who will give the shirt off his back to a stranger, he'd be here for us or our girls any hour of the day, and he's really a good grandpa. So I'm not trying to badmouth him. But he also has NO filter and he's socially pretty awkward, as in he says things without realizing how they come off to others. His mom is the same way. Anyhow, both of my girls are pretty "attached" to me, I'm a SAHM and I think most babies prefer mama anyway, right? Well, FIL is always commenting that YDD is "spoiled" when she is fussy (which is fairly often, to be honest). ODD was shy (still is) and as a baby wouldn't go to him without crying, so he'd say the same thing about her. I don't think that he's trying to say it to be mean, but it just really makes me mad. They are not spoiled. They do prefer their mother, yes. YDD is a baby and so she cries when she is tired and occasionally when she's frustrated.

I don't know if this is relevant, but now that ODD is old enough to actually potentially *be* spoiled (3) he never says it of her anymore. Just the baby (8 months).

Is this just a view of a different style of parenting (we do rock to sleep, I am with them almost all the time so they are "attached" to me, don't let them cry, etc.)? Do I need to just let it go? Can I ask him to quit calling my baby spoiled? Do you think your grandchildren are spoiled and if so, is it an ok thing to say to their parent?

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I think when he says they are spoiled he means they are spoiled with your attention- they probably didn't raise their kids that way. ( some people think a fussy baby should just cry it out) I think that although he can think anything he wants he should not say it and that If it bothers you that much, you should say something to him.

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Not a grandparent, just want to say, my mom has been known to call *me* spoiled to which I respond "And whose fault would that be?" "Your father!" and it's a running family punchline...could he possibly mean it to be "funny" even though it isn't?

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I don't think our gc are spoiled, would never admit to dils/dd if I thought gcs were spoiled. Ask dh to engage with him if this is a battle/hill for you.

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If my kids are spoiled it is because of the grandparents :diablo: . My late grandfather used to say " naw, she's not spoiled. She smelled that way when we brought her home." He was full of a lot of great sayings, though.

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I think people just say things without thinking. Sometimes I've wondered do I put more weight behind MILs words than what she actually intended, she sure doesn't remember the stuff she said. It seems to me that this Grandpa may be a bit like this too, a mouth runner who just says things without much thought behind it.

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I'm not a grandmother. But as a mother, and a human being, I think it's important to say "Please don't call my children names, thanks" next time he does it.

Since FIL's used to doing it, you will need probably need to repeat that each and every time until he breaks the habit. (A normal person will try to stop himself, and may apologize or explain himself to try to lessen the sting. A jerk will get angry or try to defend his right to insult your children while he enjoys their company). I'm assuming calling your children spoiled is his way of handling his feelings of rejection from an infant. My MIL once told me she felt our middle child "snubbed" her, as if a little kid taking time to warm up to visitors was a social faux pas.

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I have a hard time with that term. "Spoiled" to me has nothing to do with the amount of stuff one has. If that's all it meant then yes, my DS's and GC are spoiled. I think that spoiled is an attitude and a behavior. If a child expects things, does not appreciate what they have, does not say thank you for a gift whether they like it or not then to me they are spoiled. My children and grandchildren do not meet that criteria.

My GC (ODS) have an over abundance of toys. ODILS parents, DH and I along with the parents have probably gifted them more than we should. GS has Celiac so this year I bought puzzles for him and GD for Halloween instead of candy. I wrapped them in orange tissue paper and gave a card to each. Sunday I went there to have lunch with ODIL and brought the gifts. GS is learning to read and he informed me honestly that his parents told him to read the card first and then say thank you before you open the gift. He followed through. He also told me to never tell the giver if you don't like the gift. He is turning 7 in two months. If a children are taught these values I don't consider them spoiled. They may be more fortunate that they have families that are able to buy things for them and that doesn't make them spoiled. My SIL's stepdaughter is extremely spoiled and gives SIL expensive lists of things for her DD's for the holidays. SIL has spent a fortune on American Girl dolls and accessories, UGG boots for a five year old because the five year old wanted them? Numerous high end clothing items from Janie and Jack. SIL does it as she thinks it will improve the relationship her DH has with his DD. she told me she thinks her GDs are shy because they don't say thank you. They are now 6&10. To me both her DH's children are spoiled and they didn't grow up with much. They continuously ask for big ticket items for themselves. The only one that doesn't is DIL but SIL does not like her.

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Love, love, love what Elaine said! I think there is a difference between spoiled and spoiled brat. I do not think there is anything wrong with being spoiled, it's how you behave that makes a difference. My kids are spoiled, both with items and with love. Also, I feel like who's to say who is spoiled? I mean, my kids have more than some kids so maybe those people think my kids are spoiled. But, maybe those kids have more than another family so that family thinks the other family is spoiled. KWIM? Some parents think a 16 year old should buy their own first car, some buy them a used car, some pay a set amount, some buy cheaper new, some buy jags. Who's to say which way is right? Parents do what they think is right for their family and what try can afford. If I had more money I guarantee my kids would have more than they do. I don't see anything wrong with having nice things as long as you teach them to be good people.

Oh, and LO is very attached to me and I don't see anything wrong with that either. A child cannot be loved too much. I do not believe in letting them cry. What would someone think if they saw me sobbing, shaking, snot running down my face all while I'm having trouble breathing because I'm crying so hard, and DH is sitting there doing nothing and says, "I asked, she doesn't have to goto the bathroom and she's not hungry. She needs to learn to make herself feel better". That wouldn't look so nice would it? I'm not talking a little whine so they can get their way, I'm talking full cry it out, just to be clear. Yes, some think that is me spoiling LO but frankly I don't care. I will take care of my children how I see fit.

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He doesn't mean spoiled with things/toys, or at least that's not what it seem from the context of when he says it. With ODD, it was always when she would cry if he took her. He'd say things like "oh, she's so spoiled for Mommy." With this YDD, for example, he asked the other day if I thought she was so fussy when she was younger because of her ears. I said no, her ears had always been fine, and he said "oh, just spoiled then." My kids have plenty, believe me, but ODD knows to say please and thank you and doesn't get whatever she wants, doesn't have expensive techie toys, etc. They are blessed, certainly. I think he really means that he thinks I give them too much attention or coddle them or something, that they are "spoiled" because I am with them almost all the time or something. I don't know. I think WWU is right and that's how he identifies feeling "snubbed" when his grandkids want mom instead of him. Now that ODD can speak and play and is more willing to engage with him, he doesn't call her that.

I think I will ask him not to use that word anymore next time it comes up, but not make a big stink over it. I asked DH and he just laughed and said (lovingly) "You know Dad, he's an idiot, he doesn't think about how that might sound to you. Don't pay him any attention."

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As usual I agree with some of the comments, but have to take issue with others.

Kerijo, you're right a child can never be loved too much. But - a child can be indulged to the point of being out of control.

Sometimes, by giving in you are not teaching them it's OK, you are teaching them that "if I cry, I get my way" there is a big difference between crying to get attention and crying for assistance.

The OP's FIL didn't call the baby names - he simply expressed how he felt at the time. I have heard the same from friends and family, some babies are so attached to mother that if she even turns her back one minute the child is in tears. Others are happy to be with other adults and only scan the room to see if mother is nearby.

Yes, I do think my own grandchild is overindulged. She is not usually unruly, but when it comes to getting dressed and undressed, it's exhausting. I get the undies on, and the shirt and she runs away, I get the jeans on and the hairbow is on the floor, one sock on, the barrettes are torn out, other sock and first one is off - by this time, I'm talking through my teeth and my jaw starts to clench. I never remember it being like that with my boys. But I see her mother and father going along with this and by the time they are ready to leave, she looks great and they are reaching for headache medicine. That is what grandparents' sometimes see as "spoiled".

And don't get me started on asking a 3 year old what they want in a restaurant.

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Well, FIL is always commenting that YDD is "spoiled" when she is fussy (which is fairly often, to be honest). ODD was shy (still is) and as a baby wouldn't go to him without crying, so he'd say the same thing about her.

The OP's FIL didn't call the baby names - he simply expressed how he felt at the time.

I dont think the FIL means it as a cutesy compliment, since he says it in frustration. I get that FIL expresses how he feels when he's not shown enough affection. I am confident he can learn to deal with his feelings, or express them, without putting a pejorative label on a crying eight month old. Fairly often. In earshot of her 3 year old sister. That's name calling in my book.

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"Spoiled" to me has nothing to do with the amount of stuff one has. If that's all it meant then yes, my DS's and GC are spoiled. I think that spoiled is an attitude and a behavior. If a child expects things, does not appreciate what they have, does not say thank you for a gift whether they like it or not then to me they are spoiled. My children and grandchildren do not meet that criteria.

I have to agree with Elaine on this.

Our youngest GD will turn 4 right after Christmas. To the best of my memory, Hubby has never even touched her. He talks to her and will hand her toys etc, but until she comes to him and tells him she wants to be picked up, he will not do it. I always wait for her to come to me and ask to sit in my lap.

I know that all GPs do not act this way and they feel that the GC are spoiled. In our group of friends, it is a joke amoung us that all our GC are spoiled. I can remember my own father saying that about mine, but I never felt that they were.

If it is 'eating' at you and it will cause problems in the future, simply ask him not to say it anymore.

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Ooooppsss! I say all the time my grankdkids are "spoiled". I don't say it to be ugly, because if I say "GS is spoiled after his daddy" I actually am complimenting how much GS loves his daddy.

My oldest GS will tell others "My grandma spoils me". Its not about buying something all the time, or giving in to him. He means "Grandma loves me!" My GD is 18 months old. She is a very friendly child and will go to any of us, unless her mommy is around. Then its just mommy for her. Her mother will laugh and say "she is spoiled after me".

Tonight, I am babysitting 2 of the GSs for a few hours. The older one asked if he could spend the night. My DIL said "You are so spoiled! You love your grandma, don't you? But you can't stay all night". I didn't take it as an insult when she said that.

Now if somebody said my child or GC was spoiled in a hateful, mean tone, I would be offended.

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IGrowGiants, ODD was absolutely one of the babies who would cry if I left the room. She'd get over it, but she'd do it. YDD is entering the same phase. It's called "separation anxiety" and is developmentally healthy.

I also let ODD order for herself at restaurants. She does a great job - typically some variation of "not crunchy" chicken, broccoli or fruit, and milk. However, FIL has no issues that he's mentioned with ODD's behavior, and he's around her a lot more than YDD just because YDD is breastfed and not away from me a lot yet. He doesn't refer to ODD as "spoiled" ever since she was, I'd say, around 2.

Your post made me think that perhaps this really is a difference in parenting beliefs. I have a feelings that FIL feels something like you do, that our babies are "overindulged" in our attention or something. I don't believe an 8 month old is crying to get her way, she's crying because she's upset or frustrated and hasn't learned to deal with it yet. And with regards to FIL, my girls tend to prefer women and they tend to prefer people who are quieter by nature (as I am, and my DH mostly is). FIL is neither of those things, so they don't go to him easily, and I think it hurts his feelings. So he connects that to his feelings that we aren't strict enough or tough enough on them, and calls them spoiled. I hadn't really thought about it as him calling them names, more as a critique of my parenting, but I am going to ask that he not say it anymore. I can't stop him thinking it, but I don't like that word connected to me or my kids. I'm not going to make a big fuss about it, but we'll make a point to remind him not to say it.

Jaci, I think that the tone is important. If you said it with a smile on your face, that's one thing. Saying it while you're upset because the baby won't sit with you is another, and that's the context that FIL uses it. It also seems that your family uses it similarly to how mine might say "you're a stinker!" so I'm sure your kids/ILs don't mind.

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I haven't read through all of the replies completely yet, so I'm giving my own perspective w/o agreeing or disagreeing w/ anyone for now.

Toodle (edited because I called you Tinker to begin with, sorry about mixing up the names) I was one of those small kids who was very insecure and hung on my mother's leg whenever she would let me. Alot of times she made me go to other people and I'm thankful that she did and here's why. If she would have always let me stay attached to her, I never would have been forced to face my fears. If I wouldn't have been forced to face my fears, I fully believe that I would be stuck in a place that my insecurities would be worse than they are in my adult life, if that makes since. I liken it to being terrified to stand up in class and give a speech, but the more you are put in a position to have to do it, the more comfortable you feel in the long run.

As an adult, and probably a byproduct of how I was raised, I honestly don't "get" attachment parenting that goes on now days. I'm not saying that I think it's wrong, just that I don't always understand the positives that people seem to think it brings. It's almost like allowing a child to become overly co-dependant on their parent, if you will. I personally think there needs to be a balance and not push a child too far to confront his/her fears. Mom taught me that if SHE thought someone was safe for me to go to, then I shouldn't be afraid and at least give it a try. If it was still too much for me, then she would back off of making me face my fears.

I'm by no means trying to change your views on how you parent, I'm just thinking that it sounds like FIL may possibly be thinking along the same lines of what I'm trying to convey on what he means when he says your child is spoiled. He should keep his thoughts to himself, if what I'm saying is likely, but he may not just understand why you encourage your kids to stay that close instead of encouraging them to face their fears. He may see it as you are encouraging them to be more insecure instead of providing security if that makes sense.

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Wees, your parents were right to encourage you. If my ILS did that with BIL and SIL, things may be different. SIL stayed in her room whenever she wasn't in school, dropped out of college three times and returned to the confines of her bedroom. I joke with her now and tell her that I would have locked her out of her room!

It's a different world Wees, I'm not sure if I had young children I would want them to so willingly go to many adults, even family.

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I dont think the FIL means it as a cutesy compliment, since he says it in frustration. I get that FIL expresses how he feels when he's not shown enough affection. I am confident he can learn to deal with his feelings, or express them, without putting a pejorative label on a crying eight month old. Fairly often. In earshot of her 3 year old sister. That's name calling in my book.

I agree. FIL may not feel that he's 'calling names" and since you say he's a sweet guy he probably doesn't really intend it that way. But he's putting your kids down, even if he's just expressing his frustration, trying to rationalize why a child won't come to him or trying to influence you to nudge them to be more independent. I would let him know that I don't appreciate it. He's only thinking of his own feelings - he needs to think of yours and the kids', too (at least the 3-yr-old, for now).

Really, I don't think this has anything to do with "spoiling" and everything to do with a stage some kids go through. And I wouldn't even care what FIL said if it just were about his trying to influence me. I'd know I'm going to do what I'm going to do and that's that. But as WWU points out, he is trashing the kids, as well, even if he doesn't intend to. And he's doing it in the earshot of a child who can understand. IMO, you need to say something, even if gently.

As for my own DGC, IMO, they are definitely not spoiled. Sure they have a lot of toys, but no more than any other kid they know so I don't think they feel as if theyr'e being treated as "better" than anyone else, etc. And YDD is very good about discipline - they know they're important to us but that it's "not all about them," etc. I don't like to brag but she has gotten compliments from perfect strangers on how well-behaved they are. Occasionally, I think she's too hard on them but not usually. And, don't worry, I know enough not to butt in, even when I think this. Anyhow, I'm happy to say she's, clearly, doing a good job so I have no real concerns in that area. We've had our issues (like the time she didn't want me to voice any opinions abotu anything in front of the kids, as some of you may recall). But this was never one of them. :)

@Elaine - Love your definition of "spoiled!" Unfortunately, I think too many people use that word way too liberally, to describe any and every kid behavior that doesn't suit their needs/preferences.

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I think this is a difference in opinion on parenting styles. I think a lot of people in my parents' generation (60s and older) think that paying attention and cuddling your baby and not letting your baby cry needlessly is "spoiling." They think that it's healthy to let the baby learn to "self sooth" or just "get over it." My MIL believes in "self soothing." Some people think that it's good to ignore your child's separation anxiety and let them cry. I think more and more parents these days don't agree with that. I remember when DS was just a few months old we were at my nieces birthday party and one of my aunts and I were talking about tricks for getting babies to sleep. I told her that I never really had a problem getting DS to sleep because I nurse him to sleep and (at the time I would also bounce with him on my big yoga ball because the bouncing motion was very soothing to him). My aunt commented, "Oh you'll spoil him doing that!" I personally think that sort of thinking is nonsense. I don't like letting DS cry if I can help it. He's going through separation and stranger anxiety and I don't believe in forcing the issue. Those are natural stages and he'll grow out of them in his own time. It's hard for other family members to see that DS is afriad of them. I get that. DS is terrified of my brother still and has also recently started to be afraid of my SIL (who he previously adored). DB and SIL are really great about backing off and giving DS space when he appears afraid around them. And DS is slowly starting to come around. I think that some people think that attachment parenting and "spoiling" your child by not letting them cry or soothing them when they cry leads to needy and dependent older children and adults. I think that sort of thinking is nonsense because the purpose of attachment parenting and paying attention to your child's needs is to help them grow into independent adults.

My brother and are the product of "attachment parenting." My mother was a bit of a strange bird in her day in that she practiced attachment parenting before it had a name. She co-slept with us, nursed on demand, and did not let us "self sooth" or "cry it out." Both my brother and I are pretty normal adults. We're both even keel and calm personalites. My brother and I were those kids who clung to my mom's legs at big parties and such. I remember going to parties with my mom and my brother and I preferred to sit next to her and listen to her and the other adults talk rather than run around with the other kids we didn't know. My mom never pushed us to go play with the other kids and let us do things in our own time. Eventually we got less shy and went out to talk with and play with the kids. Neither my brother nor I ever had problems making friends in school or in life and we're both very independent adults. (Actually my mom probably thinks I'm a little too independent as that's been the source of most of the friction between us as I reached adulthood.)

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I personally don't see it as all that productive to watch my child scream because I'm forcing them to stay with someone they aren't comfortable with. ODD has always been a BIG TIME "Mama's Girl". She will talk to other people but sometimes she needs time to stand back and assess the situation around her. My MIL and GMIL always had a problem with this. What they never understood was that if you back off, give her some time and don't get in her face, she might talk to you later. It might not be until the next visit, but with her that is just how it was. I do encourage her, but I don't try to push or force her. If she needed that extra security of Mom, I wasn't going to deny her that. She is a toddler. If she is hanging on my leg in elementary school I will be more concerned. However, I will say she has come out of her shell on her own quite a bit. She has reverted back a little to being more clingy but I think that has to do with the arrival of Babyslant. Even so, she will talk to people much more now than she used to, she just won't necessarily go to everyone. At church she isn't comfortable with the nursery or children's church so she stays with us as long as she is able to behave properly.

I will say she has zero problem going to the people she knows a lot. Grandma and Grandpa, Auntie and a couple of others. And I don't think it is a bad thing that she is hesitant to go with someone she doesn't know well or is unsure about. Then again, I was the kid who my mom always worried about because I would talk to anyone. I also think it is okay that she doesn't want to be near someone who doesn't respect her "bubble." I don't particularly love it when someone comes up and pinches my cheeks or talks in my face. Why should she have to put up with it?

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Mrsslant, the way the world is I think it's better when a child is cautious. .As you said I think it's normal especially when there's a new baby that the older child gets a bit clingy. OGS would only go to ODIL and his two GMs when he was a baby.

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One cannot spoil an 8 month old BABY. Thinking that one can is one of the dumbest ideas I have ever heard and I wouldn't be shy about telling my FIL that.

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IGrowGiants, ODD was absolutely one of the babies who would cry if I left the room. She'd get over it, but she'd do it. YDD is entering the same phase. It's called "separation anxiety" and is developmentally healthy. Gee, where have I heard that before? Oh yeah, I remember I had three kids, they cried when I left the room but got used the the idea that I came back. (Face palm)

I also let ODD order for herself at restaurants. She does a great job - typically some variation of "not crunchy" chicken, broccoli or fruit, and milk. However, FIL has no issues that he's mentioned with ODD's behavior, and he's around her a lot more than YDD just because YDD is breastfed and not away from me a lot yet. He doesn't refer to ODD as "spoiled" ever since she was, I'd say, around 2.

Your post made me think that perhaps this really is a difference in parenting beliefs. I have a feelings that FIL feels something like you do, that our babies are "overindulged" in our attention or something. I don't believe an 8 month old is crying to get her way, she's crying because she's upset or frustrated and hasn't learned to deal with it yet. And she knows, she has learned, that if she fusses enough you come running. And with regards to FIL, my girls tend to prefer women and they tend to prefer people who are quieter by nature (as I am, and my DH mostly is). FIL is neither of those things, so they don't go to him easily, and I think it hurts his feelings. So he connects that to his feelings that we aren't strict enough or tough enough on them, and calls them spoiled. I hadn't really thought about it as him calling them names, more as a critique of my parenting, but I am going to ask that he not say it anymore. I can't stop him thinking it, but I don't like that word connected to me or my kids. I'm not going to make a big fuss about it, but we'll make a point to remind him not to say it.

Jaci, I think that the tone is important. If you said it with a smile on your face, that's one thing. Saying it while you're upset because the baby won't sit with you is another, and that's the context that FIL uses it. It also seems that your family uses it similarly to how mine might say "you're a stinker!" so I'm sure your kids/ILs don't mind.

I do think that behavior is learned - the more you give in the more they react. I quickly learned that each of mine had distinct personalities, as all mothers do, and knew when to push and when to let be.

I can't stand the "pass the baby routine" that my DH's ex-wife's familyd does. The child is in tears by the end of it and they think it's funny. I don't like it when a child is told "come here and kiss me, or hug me or whatever" - I sit back and wait for the child to come to me. I visit lots of my sons' friends and some of those children are all over me when I get there, eager to share stories and tell me what they are up to. Others hang back, they are shy.

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I do think that behavior is learned - the more you give in the more they react. I quickly learned that each of mine had distinct personalities, as all mothers do, and knew when to push and when to let be.

I can't stand the "pass the baby routine" that my DH's ex-wife's familyd does. The child is in tears by the end of it and they think it's funny. I don't like it when a child is told "come here and kiss me, or hug me or whatever" - I sit back and wait for the child to come to me. I visit lots of my sons' friends and some of those children are all over me when I get there, eager to share stories and tell me what they are up to. Others hang back, they are shy.

Oh I totally agree! When I say "Oh GS, you are so spoiled to your mama, you just love your mama so much!" I say it with a smile like its a good thing, because its not a bad thing. I don't see my GD as often as I wish, even though my DS gets her 3 days every week-end. There are week-ends I dont see her much. She is shy when shes around me. I speak to her, call her pretty names, and give her a toy to play with. Now she is almost 2 and starting to bond with me.....that is, if her mom isn't around LOL! GD's mom has taught her to pucker up and kiss any fool available. Its cute, but this baby will kiss anybody her mom tells her to, a complete straanger. I don't feel as if that is wise, but I do keep my mouth shut.

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