This last Saturday, my friends threw a baby shower for me. It was actually held at my apartment, and I consulted a lot with the friend who was organizing it, so I guess I sort of threw it for myself too.
I'm not sure how I feel about baby showers and wedding showers and such. I know a lot of minimalists decry the tradition, and having the attention on me makes me uncomfortable, but I do also understand that some people love the tradition and don't feel right about things unless a woman has a baby shower or wedding shower or whatever. And I'm not opposed to it, necessarily, just because I feel awkward about being the center of attention for doing nothing more than procreating. Yeah, it's a big deal to have a baby in one sense (yay, babies!), but in another...women all over the world do this all the time. It's special, and yet it's not. I think this, and the blatant consumerism which is encouraged by baby showers, is where my ambivalence comes from.
Part of what makes a shower awkward for me is the expectation that people will bring gifts. Not only am I the center of attention, but I really, really hate the idea of making my friends feel obligated to give me things. So I tried to make that very clear, but no one seems to have taken me seriously since they all brought gifts anyway. I'm not complaining here, they gave us wonderful and useful things. Books for Baby (good ones, too, like Dr. Seuss books and The Berenstain Bears), bibs, socks, a blanket with monsters on the fabric. The mustachifier. Even baby wash/shampoo, which is always handy.
Shane has been complaining for a while that we don't have any bath toys. Seriously. He's kept an old squirt bottle which used to hold body wash so that he can play around with squirting water in the shower. My ridiculous spouse will never grow up. Well, now he's got some bath toys. I'm pretty sure that I will never get to give our daughter a bath because Shane will be so excited to play with the toys that he'll take over. (Again, not complaining!)
The biggest thing we got was one that I was starting to get nervous about not having: a carseat. This came from Shane's parents, of course, (his mom came up for the shower) and I feel a little guilty that they spent so much money but, at the same time, incredibly, unspeakably grateful to them. It's the carseat I wanted, which is a combination seat and not just a strictly infant seat like some. This one will be good until about the time Baby needs to move into a booster.
Being among the first of our friends in Fairbanks to have a kid means that a lot of the bigger items can't come second hand. I didn't really have to decide about how I'd feel about a used carseat because it wasn't an option at all. When I first got pregnant, I thought perhaps we could borrow an infant seat from our friends, until it turned out that they were also expecting another little one. It's going to be the same thing when the time comes for us to need something like a highchair, and a slightly bigger crib. However, for those things I have zero qualms about buying used.
Anyway, the shower was such fun. A bunch of fun ladies gathered together for an afternoon/evening to chat and eat and have a grand time together. The spouses and boyfriends and a few other people gathered at someone else's house to play cards. I got to have a hilarious moment when Shane was gathering stuff together to head out because he told a friend over the phone that we had a bottle of rum which he could bring. I said, "Hey! I wanted that for the baby shower!" I got a dropped jaw and stuttered, "Wh...what?" Until I started laughing, that is, and he realized that I was joking.
Instead of playing baby shower games (have you ever looked at those? they're horrible!!) my friend bought some stuff so that we could make a quilt. Everyone decorated squares with fabric pens. Mine, of course, said, "Welcome, tiny overlord." My friends have skills, though, and they did some really adorable squares. We joked about writing very adult messages on there, things like, "Don't drink and drive" or "Never sign a contract without reading the fine print". Like horrible baby names, I think it's much funnier to joke about that than actually do it.
My poor dog didn't understand what was going on at all, so of course she got nervous. She spent a good portion of the party thrusting her head at me for reassuring pets. The cat simply hid in a cabinet in the kitchen. Our friend had to bring her 2-year-old, which of course no one minded (she's adorable!) and had brought some balloons as decoration. The 2-year-old couldn't get enough of those balloons. When I fed our pets, I thought perhaps that people had been around long enough that I could lure the cat out of hiding and it seemed like it would work, until the 2-year-old started banging on the balloons and cackling loudly. Nope, cat was back in the deepest recesses of the cabinet. So I fed him in there.
At the end of the day, when everyone went home, I went for a walk with the dog and my MIL, then we watched "Despicable Me" (she'd never seen it before!) and went to bed. It was a lovely ending to the day. Shane woke me up when he got home and we chatted for probably about an hour in the wee hours of the morning. For some reason, I love those moments. The quiet house, the lateness of the hour making it seem sneaky and forbidden but we're up anyway, alone in our little world together. I hope that feeling carries through to when I'm waking up at night to feed and change Baby.
I still need to clean out our closet so that we can move the baby stuff in there. Shane keeps saying, "I'm waiting until the last minute for that," and I keep trying to convince him that, at 32 weeks, this is the last minute.
We had our first snowfall this morning. It didn't stick around, but it's a clear sign that winter is almost upon us. So many things are changing, but they're good and happy changes. I'm excited for the new season, and the new direction my life is going to take very soon.