Last night I went to my sister-in-law’s baby shower, making it the third shower I’ve been to in the 30 years I’ve been on this Earth, and that includes my own shower. I don’t really understand these traditions that women seem to adore so much, but I went because she’s family and I wanted to be there to celebrate her first child. I went through the tedious process of deciding what to wear, not because I’m vain or overly concerned with what people think, but because I have no idea what is appropriate attire for a baby shower. I went with dark jeans paired with a lace top and black heels. I piled in my momma-in-law’s car along with her sister and friend and we headed down to the house in the pouring rain.
The home that the party was hosted in was absolutely gorgeous and thankfully had a covered porch so I didn’t end up looking like a drowned cat after carrying all the packages inside. Fifty adults and about a dozen children crammed their way into the living room and kitchen of this country style home, enjoying pizza and pasta, playing games, and catching up. We didn’t begin to tackle the pile of presents until about 90 minutes into the shower. It was an exhausting night, but I’m glad I went to support my sister-in-law and to help my mom-in-law with the clean up and packing the truck.
I’m now going to reveal my ignorance, so bear with me as I puzzle over things that are probably common knowledge among most chicks, and probably most guys as well. First off, I was under the impression that men and children don’t attend baby showers. For obvious reasons, you don’t want little toddlers running around and babies crying. The woman hosting the party has a 21 year old live in daughter who had a one year old, as well as a 14 year old daughter. Since it was their home, I expected the 14 year old and the baby to be present. I did not expect the door to open to a woman with two toddlers in tote. I was equally as surprised with the woman with a newborn, the couple with two preschoolers, the grandmother with the little red-headed boy, the 12 year old whiny girl, another couple with a 4 year old, and the handful of children I couldn’t place with parents. There were also about 5 guys there, including a very unhappy 17 year old. Aren’t these things supposed to be a girls only type thing, no men and no kids? I can definitely see why it should be; the children were very disruptive and the men were very uncomfortable.
Another thing that boggles my tiny mind are the games. First we played Baby Word Jumble, which is exactly what it sounds like. Afterwards we played a game without a name, just a baby in an ice cube. The first person to “give birth” to their baby by having the ice melt completely away from the baby won a prize. But you couldn’t touch the ice cube, you just had to sit and wait, so basically the game was watching ice melt. The final game we played involved adult diapers and looked like this:
I don’t get it. At all. After a group protest of sorts against any more games, using the argument that there were just too many people, we finally moved on to presents. One person gets elected to keep a list of who got the mom-to-be what and one person gets elected to take pictures. I was the picture person and ended up using the entire memory card on my sister-in-law’s camera and nearly all of my mom-in-laws. No, not because I was going photo happy, but because everyone was expecting a picture of every single gift that was received. Open package, hold it up to the room, repeat. If the package is 20 onesies, every one gets held up and demands a picture. I’m not picking on my sister-in-law here because in my limited experience, that is how all showers are. What I don’t understand is why we treat them like a child’s birthday party? Do we really need 50 photos of the new mom opening packages and 100+ photos of her smiling over cute baby clothes? It seems totally excessive. Maybe the fact that I’m always bored has something to do with it, but I don’t think I need hundreds of photos to remember a baby shower, especially when I get to go home with all the goodies. I also can’t imagine my husband wanting that much photographic evidence of my day. He gets to put the stroller together, that is enough. I am glad my sister-in-law had a great time though, and the pictures were very important to her, so I obliged.
I imagine that my husband and I are going to eventually create a mini-Baker who will rule the world with cuteness and strength, and I’m a bit worried about my mother-in-law going overboard with shower plans for me. To be perfectly honest, I’d be happy with registering at Babies R Us or Target or something and having people buy us stuff if they choose and that be the end of it. No obligation, no party, just go online and get a mobile shipped to our house. My baby shower for Dominick was actually a grandparent shower for my mother that I was invited to, so maybe I didn’t enjoy it because it wasn’t really about me, or maybe I didn’t like it because I felt silly opening gifts and posing for shots and eating pacifier-shaped candies. I’m also uncomfortable with being the center of attention and I don’t like girly things and crowds of women going AWWWWW!!!!
My ideal baby shower wouldn’t be centered around me. It would be coed because I would like my husband to be there with me, but it would be 18 and up only because I don’t want to see children that will make me regret my pregnancy. I’d have games since you’re expected to, but I would like to see something more along the lines of an Xbox Rock Band competition than I would a baby name word find. Maybe a race to see who can chug a beer the fastest out of a baby bottle… or is that too redneck of me? I’d want to make sure that people had alternative activities to pursue if they didn’t feel like sitting and watching me open gifts for an hour and I’d want the people who did stay to watch not to feel obligated to cater to me and pick up my trash and snap a picture every 3 seconds. Something casual and fun that can successfully be fun for every person involved.
As cool as my momma-in-law is, I don’t think she’d go for an Xbox tournament at my eventual baby shower. When my husband and I do eventually get knocked up, I’m going to have to take the back seat and allow her to plan the shower. As much as I would love to skip it, it would mean a lot to her to plan and to have it and I wouldn’t deny her of that after all she’s done for me. Who knows, maybe this time around things will be different since I now have a loving and supporting family and I’ll actually be excited about a traditional shower. Thankfully it’s nothing I need to worry about any time soon; the husband and I aren’t at the baby making stage in our life together just yet and I’m not one of those chicks who thinks her clock is ticking. Maybe by the time we get to baby making time, my how-to-be-a-girl genes will have kicked in. We’ll see.