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DEAR HARRIETTE: My son has been eager to get back outside with his friends for the remainder of the summer. We haven’t figured out whether school will be physically in session or not. He’s expressed missing his friends and feeling locked up and not having anything to look forward to. So with all the right precautions, I let him go down to our local park to play basketball and exercise.

Harriette Cole 

I’ve been speaking to some of his friends’ moms, and they haven’t let their kids go to the park. When I asked who he has been hanging out with, it turned out to be older men in their 20s and 30s working out at the park. My son is only 13.

If he isn’t hanging out with his own friends who I know or kids his age, I am not comfortable with him being outside associating with these grown men I do not know.

I don’t want to tell him he can’t go to the park anymore, but I don’t think he’ll understand that I do not want him hanging out with these older new friends either. How can I give him freedom while still protecting him?

Quarantine Mom

DEAR QUARANTINE MOM: This is simple. Your son should not go and play with grown men who are unknown to him. Period.

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You can go with him one day to see who is there and to observe the interaction. But unless you can identify someone you know, you should not let him hang out with them. That is for safety reasons on more than one front. You want to limit your son’s interaction with everyone, especially people he doesn’t know. And you want to make sure that he isn’t exposed to behavior or enticements unbefitting a teenage boy.

Talk again to his friends’ moms to see if any of them would be willing to organize socially distanced gatherings with your son. That’s the best alternative, in my book.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a stay-at-home mother, and my husband works from home now. We have three kids and two dogs, a full house. We start our day early and end in the late evening.

My husband is in his office most of this time. We have tried to create work and personal life balance with boundaries. He does not work outside of his office, and he keeps work between certain hours.

Even though we have found our rhythm, I feel so alone and programmed without a break. My kids need attention every second, and my husband is close but not here most hours of the days. When I do get a break, I feel exhausted and don’t know how to relax. My home is supposed to be my sanctuary, but being home and never needing to go anywhere, I’m not enjoying my breaks. What can help in this situation to put my mind at ease?

Stir Crazy

DEAR STIR CRAZY: Step back, take a breath and reassess the situation. Yes, it is stressful. But much of it is likely similar to life before COVID-19. Think about what you managed then and what is different now. Assign your children specific responsibilities that give you a bit of flexibility.

Let your husband know that you desperately need his help. Even if it’s one hour each day after work, you need him to engage the children so that you can have an hour off. Don’t complain when you talk to him about this. Explain that this is what you need in order to keep the family in check.

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Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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Aces open as Biebers Indians host Cole, Yankees in Game 1

Party Pics: Hollywood Considering cutting your home’s list price? Here are the best strategies Aces open as Biebers Indians host Cole, Yankees in Game 1 © APWF Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Shane Bieber delivers in the first inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

The Cleveland Indians went a long way to stay home.

The Indians completed their biggest comeback of the season in Sunday's finale, overcoming a four-run deficit against Pittsburgh to post their ninth win in their last 11 outings.

Their reward for clinching the fourth seed in the American League? Home-field advantage for their wild-card series against the fifth-seeded New York Yankees, with Game 1 of the best-of-three set for Tuesday night.

"We feel proud of our city and we wanted to play here," designated hitter Franmil Reyes said following Sunday's 8-6 win over the Pirates. "We want to give the city of Cleveland what they deserve, which is to keep winning and a championship."

AL Cy Young Award favorite Shane Bieber (8-1, 1.63 ERA) looks to take the first step for the Indians when he toes the rubber against New York right-hander Gerrit Cole (7-3, 2.84).

Bieber, 25, became Major League Baseball's first pitching Triple Crown winner since Johan Santana in 2006 and the first Cleveland player to accomplish the feat since Hall of Famer Bob Feller in 1940. Bieber tied Chicago Cubs right-hander Yu Darvish for the most wins in the majors, while his ERA and strikeouts (122) were tops in baseball.

Bieber has a 1-0 record with an 8.31 ERA in two career starts against the Yankees.

Cole, 30, paid immediate dividends in his first run with New York after signing a nine-year, $324 million contract in December. Cole looks to repeat his stellar postseason performance of 2019, when he posted a 4-1 record with a 1.72 ERA and 0.87 WHIP in five starts for Houston.

Cole sports a 2-1 record with a 2.79 ERA in four career starts against Cleveland.

He will need to contend with AL MVP contender Jose Ramirez, who doubled twice and scored two runs on Sunday. His last 11 hits have gone for extra bases (seven doubles, four homers) and he is batting a robust .442 with 18 RBIs over his last dozen games.

"Jose, that's my MVP there," Reyes said. "The way he carried us at the end was big. Really big, big for the team."

Indians interim manager Sandy Alomar Jr. has echoed that sentiment in recent days, however now his attention is on the Yankees.

"At the end of the day, it's about being in the playoffs, you navigate whatever direction you have to go and deal with it," Alomar said. "We have dealt with so much this year, but at the end of the day, we'll navigate anywhere."

While Cleveland enters the postseason on a high, New York answered a season-high 10-game winning streak by losing six of its final eight contests.

"We haven't in my opinion played up to our ability recently, but I think that for the most part we got the majority of our guys healthy and on the field and got some guys back in the lineup at the right time and hopefully starting Tuesday going on a roll," Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner said following Sunday's 5-0 setback to Miami.

DJ LeMahieu finished with a .364 batting average to become the first player to win undisputed batting titles in both the American and National leagues. He won the NL batting title with Colorado in 2016.

Teammate Luke Voit led the majors with 22 homers, prompting New York manager Aaron Boone to group the two in the race for the AL MVP.

"They've been the pillars in our lineup, the rocks in our lineup and Luke just put together an amazing season," Boone said. "I think both guys are worthy of MVP consideration."

--Field Level Media

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