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Bah, Hum Bug: A Christmas Baby Shower

Here is a question for you. You’re pregnant and you’re at home all comfy in your bed, it is a Sunday and you just want to get a little extra rest. Now imagine hauling yourself out of bed on (a Sunday morning – wait I mentioned that), find some child care, travel around the city to an unknown House, participate in forced conversation, stuff your face with sugary sweets until you feel sick, take, say, $50 and light it on fire, then curse the guest of honor do you do it?

Now what if I told you that you did all that for a baby shower a week before Christmas (which totally seems like it should make this list on baby shower etiquette)?

I bet you would curse them out.

Or, at the very least have a strong inclination to do so. I know I did.

My guess is that your brow looked a bit like mine. My frown has left a couple of wrinkles and even though you didn’t have to go there isn’t half as much joy in your eyes than there was there a moment ago (the opening made you smile, come on I know it did).

Most of the women I know, if mothers, expectant mothers or single who have never known the pleasure of a gift registry – something would assist the orthodontist to a baby shower, although they should be tortured with a dentist drill until they admit. Due to his silence, the baby shower is a rite of passage and one of the great scourges of the pregnancy. Well, bah humbug, say.

When I moved to the Chicago a decade ago, there were some benefits to the transfer, that not the least of which was the absence of customs saccharine as the dreaded prenatal feast. Unfortunately, as Halloween, baby shower is one of the rituals that people not only certainly dread it is one of those parties that just seems over done today. I’m sorry, I really am. The need for baby shower is just about as sensible today as the need for a root canal is for those of us with perfectly healthy teeth. Unless it really is something that is useful why even have it? I am not alone. There are others that have seen what a baby shower can be like when allowed to run amock.

I survived my baby shower a month before my first daughter was born. Don’t blame my friends: they did not mean any harm. They reserved a tearoom swish who knew that I would never see again as I once had an appendix sniveling in my hip. Invited to a fantastic group of ladies, and spent a fortune on buns. But I darned if I wanted to get out of bed tomorrow, more than eight months of my pregnancy, let alone put on a dress, squeeze into shoes and head to the metro on a cold, gray day.

And, in addition, I don’t drink tea.

I’ve always hated baby shower and am not afraid to say it (sorry, ladies). Regardless of all the presents charming that had to carry the home on public transport, mine was no exception. Found me it awkward to making conversation with all the disparate friends, fill awkward pauses with anecdotes about my swollen ankles. I could not bear the attention (well, maybe that just me). In addition, I could not help fearing that that fanfare was to ruin the result. That dares to celebrate until there is so much blood and guts still to come.

Yet, until my own shower was thousand times more fun that some of the others I’ve been dragged to… and rolled out. I never left a shower without looking at me as the guest of honour for all the calories that inhaled. All that bloat – and yet have always hungry again come looking for them. Eat and then eat more, especially to prevent baby – talk with the range women, half of whom are know-it-alls, half of which are despised.

Then out come the gifts. They tend to lean towards practicality: favorite bottles of my children, a change of diapers, nipple cream kit. Big Downer. Other guests steal the show with tiny bodies that would only fit a premature for a week. Any expectant mother understands the value of nipple cream until it’s too late. At that time my mind is lost in the bowels of bathroom storage.

The sister-of-the-beaten-up from time to time organize a group gift: an expensive item such as a Chair or a wedge. But what woman could take these days to delegate a personal decision of a third party? Who does not prefer to click and buy in one of the dozens of web sites of the baby merchandise that delivery within 24 hours? It recently feted friend lead to twins. She had her nursery in a weekend of shopping online and loved it. I needed nothing, but there she was a bad dream slipping from the darkness, struggling with a dozen trash bags.

I am being unfair here? It is everything not such a universal horror as I thought? Is this all the gibberish, mitigated by the spirit of brotherhood or is that sisterhood? Or am I just missing the point and being rude? If you are looking for the more diplomatic approach there are ways to turn down an invitation and it is even sort of polite.

Or are there others out there that are on the same wave length as I am? Shouldn’t we just scrap the whole idea? It is just starting to look like a bad movie (The movie Bridesmaid could just as easily be about a baby shower, of course with some minor changes).

Now I have something else that I know I would be happy shell out some bucks for. Oh, wait, I don’t.

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