DEAR HARRIETTE: I received the scare of my life yesterday when my 3-year-old opened our front door by himself and walked outside. I was moving laundry from the washer to the dryer downstairs, and when I came back up, he was gone. I quickly found him running down the street toward the park, but I was so scared and angry. God knows what could have happened to my son. I am angry at myself for letting him see how the door is opened and closed. He has clearly seen my husband and me locking and unlocking our front door and learned what to do. My son is under constant supervision until we can figure out what to do. I completely support adding locks higher up on our door. My husband is being incredibly unsupportive. He isn’t taking this incident seriously at all! He just said that we should be grateful our son is smart. I can’t believe he doesn’t feel as shocked and angry as me. Am I overreacting? I haven’t told any of my friends about the incident at the risk of seeming like a bad mother. – Runaway Toddler

DEAR RUNAWAY

TODDLER: What your husband may not know is that you can be arrested for allowing this to happen, or your child could be taken from you by Child Services. It is very serious. You are absolutely right to be concerned. And you need to set up safeguards that will prevent your child from getting out in the future. This includes teaching your child, even at his young age, what he should and should not do. Reinforce the rules always.

DEAR HARRIETTE: As wedding season is approaching, I already have a few invitations and save the dates. I love weddings and the union I get to witness. However, weddings get expensive, and I am on a tight budget. I always make sure to give the bride and groom a present, and this comes at the expense of me wearing the same dress to every wedding. I attended a beautiful ceremony this past weekend and wore my go-to wedding dress. There, one of my friends asked me if I had worn the same dress to two previous weddings. I confirmed, and I believe I saw

judgment in her face. I never thought my fashion choices were supposed to reflect how I feel about the wedding. It’s not my fault that all of my friends are getting married! I want to see them have the happiest day of their lives and not worry about who is looking at me. Is re-wearing the same dress to weddings a sign of disrespect? If so, how can I tweak my dress so no one will realize I am wearing the same one? – Reduce, Reuse, Re- Wear, Milwaukee

DEAR REDUCE, REUSE, RE-WEAR: You are so smart to figure out a way to be there for your friends and offer them a gift. The next time someone asks you about your recycled dress, tell them your story. It is inspiring that you choose a gift over a dress. You can use accessories to change the look of a dress.

— Lifestylist and author Harriette Cole is president and creative director of Harriette Cole Media. You can send questions to [email protected] or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.