Learning to interrupt politely

I’ve taught my children, 2 and 4, to say “excuse me, Mommy,” if they need to talk to me when I am talking to someone else. They do, but they do it all the time, so basically, they are still interrupting. What do I do?

You respond, saying “Yes, Aiden?” listen to his query, answer it, and then say, “I’m talking to Mrs. Farrington right now, so if you can, please wait a few minutes if you need to talk to me again.” They’ll eventually learn a little patience. Congratulations on teaching them such good manners!

My family is hosting a shower for my future daughter-in-law. She doesn’t want to open her gifts during the shower because she feels it would be embarrassing and she doesn’t like being the center of attention. Is this acceptable?

No. The whole purpose of a shower is gifts. Time is always included for guests to gather around the bride-to-be to ooh and ah over her presents. She will write thank-you notes, but at the shower she thanks each gift-giver as she opens her gift. She can have her maid of honor sit with her to help and write down who gave what (for those future thank-you notes) and add a presence so the bride-to-be doesn’t feel she is in the spotlight alone, and other friends will gather wrapping paper to keep the area clear, perhaps gather ribbons to make a practice bouquet for the bride to carry during the ceremony rehearsal, and help pass or stack presents after they are opened. Gift-givers want to see the guest of honor open their present.

Over the past four months, I’ve been spending time with a man I really like. It seems he feels the same way about me, but we have never talked about love or really about our relationship at all. I’m a little crazed about what to do about Valentine’s Day. Do I give him a card or a present or plan a special dinner, or just ignore it or what? What if I get him something and he doesn’t get me anything? Will that make me seem pushy?

Remember that while Valentine’s Day can have a very romantic connotation, it doesn’t have to. We send valentine’s to siblings, parents, good friends and children with not a single romantic thought expressed. Since you both have four months involved in spending time together, find (or make) a card that simply says “Happy Valentine’s Day.” If you want to add a gift, make it something fun and not personal - no jewelry, no aftershave, no apparel. If he reads, look for an interesting book. If he has a hobby, find a tool or item he could use. If you go to the movies, give two tickets to the movie theater and a gift card for popcorn. Keep it light, inexpensive and fun, but acknowledge the day, as you might with any other good friend. That’s not pushy at all.

Questions for Catherine? Send them to michaels.catherine@yahoo.com