DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband and I are expecting our first baby in a month. We have named her Natalie, but my best friend has been referring to her as Nat Nat, which I hate! It makes me cringe every time she does it!
How do I ask her not to call my baby that without sounding too mean? My husband says to leave it alone and not be one of “those” moms, but I seriously can’t handle the nickname while Natalie is just a little baby!
GENTLE READER: This is the first of many things that you think you won’t be able to handle while your child is just a baby, but Miss Manners assures you that you will.
Correcting the behavior of well-meaning friends and family will be among the hardest to resist right now, but you must – especially if you want help from them during the first few difficult and sleep-deprived months.
Miss Manners is afraid that you must come to terms with the idea that your child will be nicknamed whether you like it or not. Revenge will be yours, however, when your daughter becomes old enough to come up with nicknames for everyone herself.
Not a mom
DEAR MISS MANNERS: What is the proper response to someone who wishes my husband or me a happy Mother’s or Father’s Day, when we were not blessed with the ability to have children?
Should we inform them of this, or just say a polite “Thank you”?
GENTLE READER: Why some people think they are being charming to distribute congratulations to people of whose circumstances they are ignorant, Miss Manners cannot imagine. As a response from childless people, she suggests something like, “I'll give my father your good wishes” or, “I’m afraid I’ve lost my mother.”
Friends, please pay
DEAR MISS MANNERS? Is there a tactful, or at least socially acceptable, way to articulate to your friends that it was your pleasure to reserve and pay for their hotel rooms in advance (as was required by the booking service) — but that now that the event is over, it would really be nice if everyone reimbursed you?
While $100 for one person is not a lot, it starts to add up when you’ve had to do it for several people.
GENTLE READER: Surely there was an understanding, before going into this, that everyone was to reimburse you, and your friends do not expect you to foot the entire bill. Yes?
At any rate, Miss Manners asks you to give them the benefit of the doubt, and assume that they are just waiting for you to tell them the exact amount owed. Write to them, saying that you have received the hotel bill and it comes out to X amount per person. Include your address, even if you’re sure that they already know it. The message, after you state how happy you were to have them attend whatever event you gave, is a business transaction, and there is no shame in being businesslike about it.
Judith Martin writes the Miss Manners column with help from her son, Nicholas Ivor Martin, and her daughter, Jacobina Martin. Send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.
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