2016-09-08 / Entertainment

Reader feels compelled to wash feet at night

Sense & Sensitivity

DEAR HARRIETTE: As a child, I fell into a strange habit: I always have to wash my feet before I go to bed. I hate putting dirty feet in my bed (where I like to feel clean), so I have gone to ridiculous lengths to covertly wash my feet, especially because no one else thinks this is a big deal. I have washed my feet in sinks, with hand wipes and even using an outdoor hose. I will be going abroad on a World Wide Opportunities in Organic Farming program that has limited showers and water. I don’t want my weird habit to inconvenience my trip, but I can’t fall asleep if my feet are dirty, it gives me goose bumps just thinking about it. How can I manage my secret habit in a totally foreign land? – Clean Toes, Jackson, Mississippi

DEAR CLEAN TOES: Your secret practice is not that strange. In many parts of the world, it is considered an absolute requirement to take off your shoes before you enter a home so that you don’t bring dirt from the road into the home. Same goes for entering sacred spaces. Your philosophy of not putting your dirty feet into your bed makes perfect sense.

Rather than hiding your habit as if there is anything wrong with it, just do it. With limited water, you may want to take extra wipes with you that you can use to wipe off your feet. You can even find wipes with soap in them, which will help to clean your feet more efficiently.

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DEAR HARRIETTE: When visiting my daughter a few states over, the topic of grandchildren came up. She told me we needed to talk, sat me down and explained to me that she never plans on having children. My daughter has medical conditions that could be passed down to offspring, but that is not guaranteed.

I am devastated, and I told her that she should still try to have children it isn’t too late for her. She got upset with me for not listening to her, and she accused me of caring more about being a grandmother than her wishes. I am thinking of how to bring up adoption to my daughter without stepping on her toes further. – Want to Be a Safta, Denver

DEAR WANT TO BE A SAFTA: Your first job is to apologize to your daughter and admit that your desire to be a grandmother clouded your ability to listen to her fully. Go back to her and ask her to tell you about her concerns again. Your daughter is dealing with the realization that either she can’t or won’t have a child it’s possible that her doctor advised her against giving birth. Let her know that you want to support her in any way that you can. Become a good listener.

Hear where her head is now. She may not be capable of considering adoption until far into the future, if ever. If you notice a moment that feels comfortable enough to bring up adoption, do so gingerly, but no time soon. Like your daughter, you may have to accept that children are not part of your future.

— Lifestylist and author Harriette Cole is president and creative director of Harriette Cole Media. You can send questions to askharriette@harriettecole.com or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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