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Q. My husband has little patience for our toddler’s questions. Typical toddler stuff, lots of “whys,” and questions without answers. I know they can get annoying after a while — I spend even more time with our son than he does — but I also think it is good that he asks them and I don’t want him to feel shut down. My husband treats them as a nuisance, gives the briefest explanations that are rarely helpful and seems actively irritated. He is a good dad overall but I don’t think he is handling this stage well. He doesn’t seem receptive to doing anything differently, though.
So if he’s not receptive, does he say why? Too much effort? Doesn’t see the value in it? Can’t control his irritated impulses in the moment? My guess is he either doesn’t see how he is coming across, or doesn’t understand why it’s a problem. Yes, endless toddler questions can veer a little too close to the seventh circle of hell, and no, no parent has to handle them perfectly patiently all the time. At some point, they do need to be cut off. But there should generally be a way of cutting them off that is nonetheless helpful and respectful, and doesn’t turn natural curiosity and the desire to learn into high crimes. Talk to your husband further, saying that it’s something important to you that you want to think through with him. You can arm yourself with podcasts, articles or even a parenting class about specific techniques for how to manage this better — and the more you both can identify where his resistance is coming from, the better you can target it.
Maid of honor: Cousin vs. sister
Q. My cousin has been my best friend since childhood. We are very close in age and have more similar personalities than my sister and I do. I am getting married and want to choose my cousin as my maid of honor, but I am getting pushback from my parents and friends that it should be my sister. I don’t think my sister would mind — she’ll be a bridesmaid and she chose her college bestie as her maid of honor — but I also don’t think she would tell me if she were hurt. My mother says it is in poor taste to overlook a sister for a cousin.
There are plenty of opportunities for poor taste at weddings, but choosing a longtime best friend and family member as your maid of honor — and doing it in a way that is respectful and loving to everybody else — is not one of them. Your mother may have specific beliefs or worries about appearances, but she’s not the bride. (And where was the kerfuffle when Sis didn’t choose you for her own wedding?) This stuff can be tricky, sure, but in the end it’s pretty straightforward. Find a private, non-ambush way to tell your sister that she’ll be a bridesmaid and that Cousin will be the maid of honor, and that you look so forward to having them both there on your big day.