Baby showers and I have never enjoyed what could be called a harmonious relationship. That’s partly because I haven’t attended all that many of them — my extended family is scattered, and most of my friends didn’t reproduce until some silent alarm went off five years ago, and everyone got racing — and partly because I have not, until now, been pregnant.
Up to now, my typical experience with baby showers goes something like this:
- Arrive with a generous and thoughtful gift, then realize said gift is measly and embarrassing compared to the bounty everyone else has brought.
- Open first bottle of champagne and toast the mum-to-be. Guzzle. Refill glass.
- Sit among group of relative strangers as they share graphic birthing tales.
- Drink more champagne. Refill glass.
- Play one of the following games: Guess the Mystery Baby Food; Blindfolded Spoon-feeding; and the dreaded Steal The Peg, in which if you say certain forbidden words, the pegs attached to your person are fair game for others to steal.
- Realize no one else is drinking champagne. Finish bottle, and offer to take second bottle home. Bubbles shouldn’t be wasted, after all.
After a quick chat, we agreed to keep the affair modest: 10 people in total and only one game (which I requested not involve baby food, blindfolds or pegs).
When it came down to it, all I really wanted to do was to spend a few hours with some good friends before I disappear under a rock for the summer.
Yes, there was a lot of baby talk. And yes, I recognized the pained looks on the faces of my non-parenting friends as they busily guzzled champagne. But it was delightful (if rendered rather sedate by the fact that the strongest thing most of us were drinking was caffeinated coffee). We laughed, chatted, traded advice, and talked business and pleasure as much as parenting.
Does that make me boring, or just a grown-up? Probably both. Perhaps that’s just the way of things when you’re pregnant in your 30s. Still, there’s nothing sad about being genteel.
One day I might even convince my kids that I was always that classy. (Just don’t tell them about those take-home bottles of champers from all those earlier showers, OK?)