Dear Annie I had to respond to the letter, "Sleepless in Los Angeles," about the 6-year-old who insisted that her parents sleep with her. My husband and I had a similar problem. I was a nurse and worked on the swing shift, which meant I did not get home till 11:30 at night. Dad had to feed our four kids and see that they had their baths and got to bed. Well, the youngest, 6 years old, decided she was afraid to stay in the bathroom by herself to take a bath. Dad thought long and hard how to deal with this and he came up with a plan that worked out great for all concerned. He would fix the water for her and instead of him staying with her, our small fluffy white dog, Snowflake, would be in the bathroom with her. Our daughter loved it, and Snowflake stayed with her during bath time until she out grew her fear of being alone. Maybe if this family has a dog or cat that could fill in for mom and dad, then that would solve their problem. Just an idea! -- Dog to the Rescue
Dear Dog to the Rescue: Thank you for idea. Snowflake sounds like a great dog. You are onto something. Both cats and dogs can be very therapeutic.
Dear Annie: I wish to offer a helpful book on grieving: "Healing After Loss, Daily Meditations for Working Through Grief" by Martha Whitmore Hickman. I lost my son last year. He was 37 at the time of his death. This book has been a source of comfort for me, as the writing reflects so much of how I have felt throughout the year. The book is not religious, but it is deeply spiritual. I would recommend it to anyone who is experiencing the loss of a loved one. -- Grieving Mom
Dear Grieving Mom: I am so very sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing a tool that helped you heal.
Dear Annie: I would like to correct the misconception you stated in your response to "Eating and Satisfied." As a biologist, I read scientific literature on a variety of topics. There have been multiple, well-controlled animal studies that clearly demonstrate the effectiveness of intermittent fasting. And no, animals -- and humans -- with less time to eat are not eating fewer calories.
In the controlled studies, animals, such as rats, were given free access to food during the day, or access only during a limited number of hours. In these studies, animals took in the same number of calories throughout the day, no matter which regimen they were on. The results were clear. Intermittent fasting resulted in weight loss, and clearly your reader has experienced this truism. The hours spent fasting change the body's metabolism in multiple ways, so that excess weight is lost over time. Your reader is not eating fewer calories; his or her body is just using them more wisely! -- Your Friendly Biologist
Dear Friendly Biologist: Thank you so much for your letter. I always love hearing from people who have data to back up what they're sharing.
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