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Reality Check: Baby Broke It?

Q: I warned my friend to babyproof before our visit, but she didn't  -- and my 13-month-old cracked a vase. Do I have to pay for it?

A: I'm sure your friend calculated the hazards of opening her home to a grabby baby, particularly after you called to remind her not to leave good stuff in the clumsy-finger zone. No, she shouldn't have left the vase in baby-swat range, but you let your child get close enough to break it, so offering to pay for or replace it is the right thing to do. If she insists that it's no big deal, you should still give her a small apology gift with a cute note: "Here are some flowers from me and Jack  -- sorry you can't put them in that vase!" She'll appreciate the thought, and you might just get another invitation to visit.

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