Dear Abby:

I have a 1-year-old daughter with a man I chose not to marry. Every time I take my little girl to visit her grandparents, they bombard me with comments about who my child favors. Everything, from his family's point of view, comes from her father -- down to her baby noises and facial gestures.

What makes this so hurtful is it's simply not true. I have tried to politely slip some baby pictures of myself to them in the hope they'd take the hint and stop. My daughter does resemble her daddy, but she also has my hair, eyes, skin and some facial features. Nothing has worked so far, and I am beyond frustrated.

Please print this because, childish as it may seem, being made to feel like a test tube who contributed nothing really hurts.

Invisible in Alabama

Stop hinting and tell your daughter's grandparents exactly what you have told me and the rest of my readers. But please say it gently, because what they are doing isn't unusual. When a child is born, it's natural for families to look for and recognize their own genetic traits. They may be tactless, but I'm sure they don't mean to be cruel. You are far more than a "test tube." You're a caring and conscientious mother for making sure that your child has a relationship with her grandparents.

Dear Abby:

Some friends and I gather for dinner and fellowship about twice a month. The problem is, one woman is a very finicky eater, and she turns up her nose when something is served and makes comments like, "That doesn't even look good -- what's in it?" The one we have heard all too often is, "That doesn't even sound good."

Most of the time we try to please her by preparing something she likes, like hot dogs or fried chicken. Frankly, I'm sick of it. Would it be rude to prepare something scrumptious like coconut shrimp with orange sauce knowing that she won't eat it, and tell her there are hot dogs and buns in the kitchen and to just help herself?

Had It in Nashville

No more rude than what she's doing. The alternative would be to tell her in advance what you will be serving so she can opt out or bring her own food.

P.S. What's your address? If I'm in the neighborhood, I'd love to sample the cuisine.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, Calif. 90069.

(c)2004, Universal Press Syndicate