We had our baby shower on Friday. Or as my 3-year-old daughter calls it, our baby bath.
Eleven folks attended, and most brought their tots, ages 18 months to 4 years. It’s three days later now, and Little Miss’ room is still in manic disarray.
Here is a recap in photos.
Have your friends organize the baby shower for you. If you can do it at their house, even better. We chose our home because with a mix of work and non-work friends, it’s the one location everyone knows.
The organizers came in and hung ceiling decorations.
And they stuck goofy baby stuff on our walls.
I got into the spirit by hanging the macramÃ© plant holder my mother sent me last week. I then passed out for two hours, only to awaken with recovered memories of my mom dragging my poor toddler self to inanely boring macramÃ© classes in the basement of Pottery World every week in the late 1970s. Pottery World wasn’t like Pottery Barn. They sold pottery and taught macramÃ© classes. I survived somehow.
The plant holder is new, but the alphabet blocks have 45-year-old holes drilled in them from a craft project my mother started for the first baby born in her circle of college friends. The panda is my daughter’s. She begrudgingly permitted it to overlook the baby shower for one day.
Oh. My. God. This platter was brought in and they began slicing organic strawberries, oranges, mango, grapes and blueberries. I thought it couldn’t possibly be emptied, but the guests had a good go of it, and two normal size platters, too. It was a 1:30 p.m. party, presumably after everyone had eaten lunch.
(Guests ate with our plates and utensils. Between the buffet and cake, I tossed everything into the dishwasher for a quick 30-minute wash.)
A pen and envelopes were placed at the door so guests could pre-address their thank-you envelopes.
Here’s the requisite too-big-to-be-eaten cake. Before the party started, I headed out to get paper plates so folks could take some cake home with them.
The first party game was Pin-the-Umbilical-Cord-on-the-Baby. The drawing is positioned a little high because we expected only adults to play.
The "cord" that guests attached with tape consisted of one white and two red strips of yarn. It’s supposed to represent the two arteries and one vein in a real umbilical cord (white was just the color we had available).
The baby drawing was done by a friend. The original plan was for him to draw a fetus inside its mother, but the images the artist googled weren’t too attractive. We eventually opted for a newborn, but we didn’t specify its appearance. So, left to his own devices, the above image is what he came up with.
The "GarÃ§on! I’ll have the chili cheese fries this evening, if you please." quote has no intrinsic meaning that we know of. Incidentally, garÃ§on is French for "boy," but in English it commonly means "waiter."
You can’t tell from the image, but the drawing was made on four 8"x11" sheets taped together.
Our friends’ original idea was for the game to be Pin-the-Baby-on-the-Breast using a drawing of a mother. Except, I thought the object people pinned on the breast should be an open pair of baby lips so you could accurately gauge proximity to the nipple, but that seemed a bit much.
Three fill-in-the-blank party games were next.
Guess the mother â€” Fill in the names of various types of mothers. The funniest query? Not an outlaw: mother-in-law.
Guess the animal baby names â€” Given a list of animals, write down the name for the baby version of that animal. The hardest query? A baby eel: elver.
Alphabet â€” Write the name of a baby toy, gear or other "thing" that starts with each letter of the alphabet. We didn’t have time to play this promising game.
The idea with this game is to see how many pairs of baby socks you can match together in 60 seconds. Someone was rather fiendish when they shopped for such similar looking socks.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to play the game. There was enough mayhem with toddlers running around. Fortunately, we got to keep the socks!
My wife’s grand idea was for everyone to play Don’t-Break-Your-Water. People would race (outside) with a water balloon tucked between their thighs. Guests were asked to bring a change of clothes. Due to the style of event management we had (people talking and having a good time is a good thing), we never got around to doing the race. Oh, what do we do now with 20 water balloons in the middle of winter?
The prize for each party game was a potted flowering plant.
Next, we opened gifts while a friend wrote down who gave us each item, in order to make our thank you notes easier to manage.
A lot of people gave us two giftsâ€”one for the baby and one for our daughter. It’s a good idea in principle to ward off a sibling from feeling jealous of the baby. Her gifts included a toy baby stroller, a wristwatch and a "I’m a big sister" T-shirt.
The baby received what you would expectâ€”lots of nice clothing, Robeez shoes, and such. My wife received a nightgown and some essential oils.
One of our friends also made us a diaper cake (following these instructions). It was composed primarily of rolled disposable diapers (wrapped with hair ties my daughter can use). We’ll be using reusable diapers, but we will use disposables for the first week or two until the baby poop isn’t so thick.
A teddy bear and baby blanket cake topper!
Now we don’t have to buy a box of disposable diapers and leave half of them unused.
The core of the cake was held up by 8-ounce and 4-ounce Evenflo
glass bottles, each wrapped in baby shirts. The outside of the cake was
wrapped in ribbons with baby mittens and hats attached. All of this was
on a platter lined with cloth diaper inserts.
No party would be complete without party favors for the kids… paints and crayons. Yeah, those are retractable twist-out crayons in plastic holders, which seems a bit silly to assure sharpness, but OK.
Other than hosting the party in our home, everything was arranged by two friends in consultation with my wife. They outlayed quite a bit of time, money and effort for us. In retrospect, this baby shower meant even more than that.
With our first child, at this time in the pregnancy my wife was well into her prenatal depression, and later her postpartum depression. We wouldn’t recognize it until many months later, so a great deal of our first pregnancy was unhappy to my inexplicable dismay. ("Thing seems to be going pretty good for us, so why are we arguing so much? Why is she crying over this baby she has wanted for so long?")
Statistics vary widely, but 50 to 90 percent of mothers who experience pregnancy or post-birth depression have it recur with later children. As a precaution, this time we’ve had a therapist involved from the get-go, and so far haven’t needed antidepressants (a concern of ours).
So it was delightful to be surrounded by friends and be filled with happiness and hope for the future. And, the day after the shower, the baby became full-term at 37 weeks; if he comes out now, there’s no stopping him.
But you know, it’s not all good. When I got around to washing all of our new baby clothes this weekend, I had a holy @#$%^&*! moment when I realized we’ll soon be doing 2 to 4 loads of wash every day.