My heart sinks whenever I get one of these invitations in the mail. Sinks. I don’t know what that says about me, but I think I’d rather get stoned to death with tictacs than have to go to one more. The worst thing about admitting that you’re not into baby showers, though, is that it looks like you’re unmoved by the miracle of birth and people start to suspect that you do this kind of thing in your spare time:
He loved it.
I don’t have any beef with babies, and I’m always up for celebrating with friends, but something disturbing and potentially lethal happens when the two are combined; a bit like trying to mix Hydrogen peroxide and Sulfuric acid.
My first gripe is with the opening ceremony, which is something you endure, much like you endure canker sores or tinea. Everybody sits in a circle while soon-to-be mum unwraps her stash, leaving a pause in between EVERY single gift so that EVERYBODY can comment on EVERYTHING: from pyjamas to rattles to bum rash cream – you name it and someone’s going to find it adorable because it’s vaguely baby-related. The whole thing drags on for so long you wonder who’ll be driving her to the hospital when her water breaks. And there’s the person – there’s always one – that goes overboard and makes your present look crap. I usually buy something normal, like an outfit of some kind, but I always seem to be sitting next to the person that’s bought a cot, or a diamond in the shape of a dummy, and you know that the pink onesie you bought is just going to be used to shine it.
The second issue is more of an OHS concern, involving potential RSI to the muscles around your mouth responsible for smiling. For some reason, other people genuinely seem to love going to these things, which means that you’re forced to walk around all day looking like a demented circus clown just to keep up. If you’ve ever been in a bridal party, you’ll know the adverse effects of a day of forced smiling. It’s all fun and games at first, but by the reception you feel like giving the bird to the next person that asks you to say cheese. Never have photos taken at baby showers: you might be able to get away with that expression in real life, but the camera, which never lies, will capture your boredom for posterity.
The worst part of a baby shower, though, even worse than the present opening – no mean feat – is the games. Here are two corkers:
I’m always on edge when the first of these games comes up because it is fraught with danger. “Guess the width” involves people guessing the measurement of the pregnant woman’s belly and, as you can imagine, things have the potential to get very weird, very quickly. My personal theory, backed up by decades of hard research, is that pregnant or not, no woman wants someone to guess that their belly is double its actual size. I imagine that many a godmothership has been revoked as a result of this game. That’s why I always go way under: my standard is 30cm. “What? Not 30? Get out of town –show me that tape.” I go too far the other way, though, and they smell a rat, which is why I am currently godmother to zero children.
The other killer is the nappy game. I don’t know whether this is a staple or I’ve just been incredibly unfortunate, but for those lucky uninitiated souls, it involves identifying poo-hued sauces off a nappy. This happens. The problem here, as with games of any kind, is that you look like a spoil sport if you don’t join in, so I like to say that I feel a stomach ache coming on or pretend that with my uncanny sixth sense I have realised that I will be allergic to all of the foods on offer. If someone challenges me on this, I just pat them on the back and say ‘oh you,’ then walk away to eat food off something that wasn’t purpose-built to absorb a kilo of crap.
*If you are having a baby shower soon, this blog doesn’t apply to you. Your baby shower will be awesome.