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Miss Manners: No slack cut for tot who’s picky eater

Dear Miss Manners: I have a 3-year-old child who is a picky eater. He is healthy, and the pediatrician has advised me not to stress him by forcing him to eat things he does not like.

My parents invite us to family dinners on Sundays, but my dad always serves very savory or complex dishes, and my son just eats bread. I’m not sure whether to say something to my father – although he is fully aware that my child never eats. I’m not sure whether just to stop going. Do the hosts have an obligation to provide food that everyone will be able to eat?

Gentle Reader: Happy as your son’s pediatrician apparently was to provide advice, Miss Manners does not see this as a medical question.

By your own description, your son can eat the food provided. He simply does not wish to do so. Nor is it a question of going hungry, as the bread meets his exacting standards.

Your parents have met the requirements of hospitality, though perhaps at the cost of endearing themselves to the next generation. Miss Manners would think that the latter would be punishment enough for most grandparents without requiring more extreme measures. You may tell your son that he does not have to eat everything provided, so long as he is polite and discreet.

Left in job applicant limbo

Dear Miss Manners: What is the proper method of finding out more about your job application when the employer states that you can only check the status online? It has been over a month with no news, and I feel that I’ve been left hanging. What time limit would be appropriate before I could contact them to find out more, even though they stated not to?

Gentle Reader: It may be that you already have an answer, and not the one you hoped for. Miss Manners disapproves of employers leaving applicants hanging, and forbidding them from following up themselves exacerbates the rudeness.

Since you have been waiting for such a long time, she suggests you call the employer and politely inquire if it is the company’s policy to notify all applicants – even if the answer is negative. You may learn in passing whether the position has been filled. Such a call does not technically violate the employer’s ban, since you are not inquiring about the status of your own application.

If the employer does not recognize this distinction – and treat you politely – you will at least have learned something about how your prospective employer treats the help.

This column was co-written by Judith Martin’s son, Nicholas Ivor Martin. Please send your questions to Miss Manners to her email,