Saturday, March 13, 2010

Survivor: Baby-shower edition

I'm pregnant. Man and I are renovating his house. We're renting out my house. My office has been short-staffed since September. I live in a small, small town hours from any friends (and half a world away from my best friend. Seriously. She thought it would be a good idea to move to China and LEAVE ME ALL ALONE right before I got pregnant).

Anyway. I couldn't stress about everything, so I decided to focus my anxiety on just one upcoming Life Event.  My baby shower.

I'm not fond of being the centre of attention. I'm shy. And I hate getting gifts for gifts' sake. (I've been trying to talk my extended family out of wasting their money every Christmas for the past 10 years, to no avail). So a situation that requires me to be the centre of attention, among dozens of women, some of whom I don't know very well, and accept piles of gifts? Well I'm not real down with that.

Then there was the gift registry: to register, or not to register? I find gift registries greedy, but people are going to buy gifts anyway, so I may as well suck it up and gently guide them in the right direction, right? So I registered at two local stores that sell mostly adorable and/or hilarious natural baby gear and local products. Nothing on my list was more that $20. I refused to let one store gather all my requests in a glass display case with my name on it as they would usually do, because I didn't want people to feel obligated to get me something on the list. And I forbade my mother from telling anybody about the lists unless they asked outright.

Yeah. the registry backfired. I did get some wonderful things from the shops, but I also got a massive amount of newborn onesies and sleepers and - get this - not one single receiving blanket. Thirty women, most of them mothers, and not one receiving blanket among them. All my research into baby shower etiquette and what-to-expect led me to expect a ton of receiving blankets. Funny how that worked out.

Next up, the games. Oh god, the games. I was dreading the games. I had strict guidelines: No chocolate-in-diaper games. No guess-my-circumference games. No guess-my-weight games. No taste-that-baby-food games. Name games might be allowed. Word games would be acceptable. So there was a delightful program of guess-how-many-Q-tips-are-in-the-baby-bottle game (207). An unscramble-the-baby-word game (which was hard!), and a match-that-name-to-its-meaning game (We used the names of everyone present). There was also a prize for the person with a birthday closest to my due date, and a lucky plate and bowl prize. All tolerable.

Then there was the gift opening that went on forever. It's a tough balance between wanting to get it over asap so we can get to the food, and wanting to spend equal time admiring every gift so no one feels left out. Also, there was LOTS to admire, because baby stuff is frickin' cute. (Living several hours away from the Big City, I didn't know just how much cuteness could be had when your shopping choices are not limited to Walmart). 

All in all, I came away fairly unscathed, with a mountain of baby clothes and blankets and a couple of gift certificates to use as needed. I hope everyone had a nice time. And I can't begin to express how much that pile of baby clothes and gear will help come April. I've re-thought the game thing, and concede that some games are more than acceptable, and actually expected. I also went in telling myself the gifts are for BABY, not for me, which helped ease my aversion to gifts.

Next up: Baby Shower, Round Two... the one that made up for the lack of receiving blankets.

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