If you see a whole thing - it seems that it's always beautiful. Planets, lives... But up close a world's all dirt and rocks. And day to day, life's a hard job, you get tired, you lose the pattern. - Ursula K. LeGuin

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Baby Shower

I went to a baby shower today. It was for one of my previous students. I'm very fond of her and was happy to go and celebrate her joy with her friends and family. My former graduate assistant (whom I adore and miss like she was my daughter) was there and I not only got to spend time with her but also with her mother and the mother of the mother-to-be (I hope you can follow all of the mothering).

So I was happy to be there but I have to confess I'm not a big fan of showers--baby or bridal that is, I'm a huge fan of taking a shower and do so at least daily--nor do I particularly enjoy weddings. In part because I don't do the "girly stuff" very well. I tend to feel awkward and out of place.

It's been many years since I've been to a baby shower. The last few friends to have baby showers had them Up North while I was here Down South and couldn't attend. I'm also reaching the age where most of my friends are finished with the baby-making, although one or two have gotten a very late start. So I was definitely out of my element today.

This baby shower had game-playing. I don't remember games at baby showers. Perhaps I'm blocking them out. I vaguely remember something about wearing a hat made of bows but I'm pretty sure that's a bridal shower, but I digress.

This baby shower had three word games (unscramble the word types of games that were all around the theme of baby-related items--quite frankly I couldn't remember half the paraphernalia a baby requires) that were timed and gifts were awarded to the person with the most correct answers. Now many people in my family are gifted at word games (my mother does the NYT crossword in pen every week) but I am not one of them. Honestly I'm not a games player in any sense of the word.

What struck me most, however, was the amount of STUFF a baby seems to need these days. I know this part makes me sound like an old fuddy-duddy and I'm ok with that, but really the level of consumerism attached to one little baby is a bit daunting. I'm not talking the cute little outfits (because it is true that you can never have too many onesies) or teddy bears. And of course you need someplace for the child to sleep and eat. I'm even 100% behind the whole baby carseat idea...but really all that other crap? Do you really need it?

The parents-to-be had baby registeries at two establishments and the gift opening took hours. It was a particularly hot and sticky day and my poor student looks big enough to pop any day--although she's still a good 2 months away--so I'm sure she was exhausted, but the whole affair seemed a little flat. I'm not sure what I'm really saying here, except I feel all of these events get bigger and bigger and the essentials keep getting inflated but the joy doesn't seem to inflate with it. But maybe it's me--as I said I'm really not good at the girly stuff.


Hilaire said...

Hear, hear. I agree wholeheartedly with this post. I am so not a fan of baby or bridal showers.

life_of_a_fool said...

Yup, I hate 'em too. Particularly when they follow "rules" of what one is supposed to do. The less traditional ones could be fine, I think. I also agree with all the baby "stuff," though having never had a baby, what do I know?

Julie said...

Yay! I'm so glad to see you're here. Yes...I'd rather be dipped in boiling tar than go to a baby (or bridal) shower. What's up with the games? My mother had her last baby in her late 40's, and some well meaning friends had a shower for her. They made a "hat" out of the bows from the presents attached to a paper plate with a ribbon under the chin to hold it on. Yep, they insisted she wear it. My poor mother. Then all the stupid little froo froo girlie games. Sometimes I wonder what is wrong with my gender.

And yes...all the stuff people get for a baby now. It blows my mind. Happily, I didn't have a shower, but I appreciated the people who brought me diapers. This post really hit home!

Nit said...

I couldn't agree with you more. I don't mind showers (of any kind) so much, but I do agree that people tend to go overboard with what they "need". Then when they have child #3 or #4 they don't even use half the crap they just had to have!

And, please don't get me started on folks who have a baby shower for every baby!!!

Oh & you hit the nail on the head with your analysis of love v. infatuation! :)

Breena Ronan said...

Oh, those games don't sound bad compared to some I have been forced to play. Yuck!