Dear Miss Manners: I am fortunate enough to be expecting in a few months, and I have a very sweet and generous mother-in-law who would like to throw me a baby shower. (My mother would like to as well, but her finances are tight, so it wouldn't be so bad if she let my MIL take the reins. My mother just threw me a bridal shower two years ago.)
The problem is that my husband comes from a large and traditional Italian family.
My mother-in-law has 80 people on her list alone, before my friends or family, and this includes her aunts and her cousins.
Is this customary? I feel as though not only is this too much extended family -- I do not have a relationship with her aunts -- but it's much larger than I would like. I do not enjoy attention in that capacity, and I am not even comfortable accepting gifts from so many people I am not close to.
Additionally, she wants control of the food and this definitely means heavy, traditional Italian food on a Sunday at noon.
I don't know where and if to put my foot down. Do I say thanks but no thanks to her offer, or do I go with it even if it means sacrificing what I would really like?
Gentle Reader: Please allow Miss Manners to tell you what you would really like.
You would really like your baby's paternal relatives to be excited about his or her arrival.
You would really like your very sweet and generous mother-in-law to be happy.
You would really like to have your baby grow up in a warm, extended family, even including great-aunts.
You would really like a heavy midday meal.
Well, maybe not while you're pregnant. But you should get used to the tradition, because your child is going to love going to Nonna's for Sunday dinner.
The one suggestion that Miss Manners has is that you not add your friends to this party. Relatives are not supposed to give showers (a rule that your own family seems to have missed), and that way, it will be just a family party. If your friends want to celebrate with you, they will volunteer to throw their own shower for you.
Short on consideration
Dear Miss Manners: While out to dinner with my girlfriend and her husband, she remarked that she was cold and wished she had brought a jacket. I informed her that I had one in my car and she was welcome to use it.
Who should get the jacket from the car? I told her she could get the jacket since she wanted it -- she said basically that she has done so much for me that it was rude that I expected her to get it herself.
Actual solution: Her husband got the jacket. What is the proper etiquette?
Gentle Reader: Consideration and politeness seem to go only so far in your little group. You offered your jacket but expected to send her out into the cold, coatless, to fetch it. She accepted your offer but felt free to chastise you.
Miss Manners counts only one here with a full set of manners. Any husbands present should have volunteered.
Mulling over milk
Dear Miss Manners: What does one do with the milk left in the bottom of the cereal bowl? I always drink it. One day I shocked someone who said it was bad manners. Wasting the milk doesn't seem right, either. Please advise.
Gentle Reader: Two pieces of advice (choose one):
(1) Use a spoon. (2) Eat breakfast alone with the shades down and don't tell anyone.