Taking tea, bagging the bag

There have been several times at restaurants or someone’s home when I’ve been served a mug of tea with no saucer, and I never know what to do with the tea bag. I don’t want to leave it in the mug, but there is nowhere to put it if I take it out. What do I do?

There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking for a small dish for your teabag. Remove the teabag from your mug, hold it above the mug briefly to let it drip and then place it on the saucer. Do not wind the string around the bag and attempt to squeeze it dry.

 

Is it okay to have a baby shower for a second baby? My aunt was horrified that I am planning a shower for my cousin, her daughter, who already has a two-year-old.

Yes, it is a wonderful idea. That “second shower?!?!” criticism is more regional (specific to northern states) than manners-driven. In southern states, where generally it is believed that every baby deserves to be celebrated, it is an expected thing to do. Keep your guest list to close family and friends who likely would give a gift anyway, and of course anyone who was not invited to a shower for your cousin’s first baby. Often, second showers are called “sprinkles” (think a light rain, therefore a light shower where gifts tend to complement items the mom already owns, since it is likely she has most of the major items she needs). And if the second (or third or fourth) baby is a different gender than its big brother or sister, it’s especially fun, and useful, for the mom-to-be.

 

I feel close to my ex-husband’s parents and would like to keep in touch with them. Is this all right, or should I cease all contact?

Keeping the relationship going is fine if it is fine with them. You can tell them how you feel, but be sensitive to their wishes. They may feel disloyal to their son if they are in regular contact with you. See how it goes. Give them a call, and encourage them to call you, too. If they don’t, you’ll know that this is something they feel they can’t do and then don’t pursue your efforts to maintain a relationship with them, as sad as you may be to do this.

 

My parents share way too much family information with others, including my young children. Is it disrespectful for me to ask them to stop?

No, it isn’t disrespectful. Have a discussion and say, “Mom, I don’t want the children to hear the details of Susan’s divorce. Let’s keep that conversation until after they are tucked in.” Or, “Dad, it embarrasses me when you tell everyone about the time the elastic on my underwear broke. Please don’t share such personal things with other people.” Family members have an obligation to keep personal matters personal, no matter how interesting or funny they think something is.

 

Questions for Catherine? Send them to [email protected]

 

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