Carol writes: My husband and I are the first of our social group to have kids. When we attend gatherings, I give our 4-year-old a lot of freedom. But my husband likes to stay close, apologizing for regular toddler things, like licking a strawberry on the fruit tray or crawling under the table. I think he should chill.
We were also the first in our friend group to have kids. Like your child, our toddler was also a charming cocktail-hour guest. I am sure our friends all loved her, maybe even more than they feared what she represented: the grim pitter-patter of encroaching adulthood. I think your parenting approach is good and empowering. But check in with your friends. Few people love having anyone crawl over their feet at brunch, never mind an existential alarm bell. Meanwhile, I think your husband’s efforts to mitigate the public licking of things is good practice at any party, no matter the age of the guests.