Chapter 24 - Baby Shower
When a single woman arrives at a baby shower and announces that she has an appointment and can only stay for an hour or so, the hostess should not take it personally. It has nothing to do with the mommy-to-be, the baby or the party. For a single woman who does not have children, a baby shower is a mild form of torture. Excessive “oohing” and “ahhing” is enough to cause a rash and shower games are down right painful.
“Shower Games” are a no-win proposition for those of us who do not have any experience with children. I do not possess the knowledge, the skill, or the inclination to identify an anal thermometer through a paper bag. I think that it’s rude to guess someone’s waist measurement and discussions regarding unusual discharges, swelling, breaking water and breaking wind are all lost on me. The only reference I have to the terms “carrying high,”and “carrying low” has to do with a garment bag over my shoulder and luggage on wheels. And if you were to discuss bladder problems with me, I would suggest cranberry juice.
I don’t care what anyone says, the benefits of Kegel exercises (an isotonic exercise that is used to increase muscle tone around the urethra, bladder and rectum) are inappropriate lunch conversation. There is always one woman at the party who gleefully announces, “I’m doing Kegels right now!” This announcement is met by chuckles and knowing nods from the group and prompts a detailed discussion regarding when and where the others practice this ritual. Call me uncaring, but I do not have any desire to know about anyone’s urethral fitness.
Labor stories are horrifying no matter how they are told. Only at a baby shower is it acceptable to discuss bleeding, oozing and leaking while eating lunch. And as for lunch, is a “nice Chinese Chicken salad” the only food permitted to be served at a baby shower? Is there a law that I am unaware of? Sure, lettuce, mandarin oranges, and crunchy noodles are colorful and pretty but they don’t fill me up. I have attended countless baby shower luncheons and have never been served a hearty meal. Perhaps the combination of a filet mignon and a discussion about placenta don’t mix well.
At a recent baby shower luncheon, I began to feel badly for Susan, the mommy-to-be, as I watched her drop one-of-everything on her blouse while she ate. As her pregnancy had progressed, the distance between Susan’s plate and her mouth had grown, and had culminated into a large two-foot margin for error. She appeared to be embarrassed. After about the twentieth “oops” and “clumsy me” comments from Susan, I made an effort to make light of the pile of food that was accumulating on her chest. I suggested that it would be a fashion marketing coup to manufacture a line of maternity clothes that have pre-existing food stains that have been imbedded into the fabric. I explained that it would cut out the middleman, and no excuses or embarrassment would be necessary. My suggestion was met by icy glares from the mommies.
When it was time to open the gifts, we watched Susan unwrap a pile of pastel paper covered boxes. We “oohed” and “ahhed” as she opened each box. She received tiny outfits covered with clowns, bears, and ducks. She laid each of them across her stomach, in an effort to show how it will look on the baby. She got several little, crotch-snap, one-piece outfits called “One-sies.” I’ll never look at a bodysuit the same. Susan opened box after box that contained receiving blankets, a car seat, rattles and crib adornments. I have to admit, I thought that most of the gifts were imaginative and adorable. Then she unwrapped something called a Diaper Genie. This item brought about a lively discussion about how it could be the best piece of furniture in the baby’s room. Furniture? Since when is a pail filled with dirty diapers considered furniture?
After a discussion about overloaded diapers and the most-disgusting-diaper story competition was over, the hostess of the party announced that cake was being served. Interesting transition, I thought. I said “no thanks” to a piece from the cake shaped like a pregnant belly and went to retrieve my purse from the pile of spit-up-stained coats and huge canvas bags that were filled with healthy snacks, wipes and plastic toys.
I grabbed my purse and returned to the party to say good-bye. Susan, with the help of two other people, got up from the couch and waddled over to hug me and thank me for coming. “So,” she said. “When are you going to think about having a baby?”
“I’ve given it some thought,” I said. “But for now, the only babies I am prepared to handle are the men that I date.”