Friday, January 22, 2010

Things I learned at a baby shower

My co-worker, Sarah, handed everyone a baby diaper and said if someone is “caught” saying the word baby, they’d have to give their diaper back.

It soon dawned on me that I’ve never actually held a baby diaper. If I have, it was too long ago and/or insignificant to remember.

I didn’t know what to do with the diaper, really, so I ended up awkwardly pinching it between my thumb and index finger and holding it away from my body like a dirty dish rag.
I stared blankly at my 12 co-workers who had formed a circle around the table of food and cupcakes.

The men of the office were, for some reason, invited to the lunch party and looked as uncomfortable as I did, wondering what to do with their diaper.
One guy stuffed half the diaper into his shirt, and used it as a bib.

We stood around eyeing the spread of four different varieties of chicken salad and vegetables on the normally clean, long lunchroom table. The blue cupcakes proclaiming, “It’s a boy!!!!!!” were the most enticing.
“You know, I’ve never been to a baby shower before,” I said.
Sarah pointed at me and snatched away my diaper.

I was now out of the running to win a Lindor chocolate ball, the prize for not saying the B word through the entire lunch. I took my loss as an excuse to say the word baby as much as possible, with emphasis.

“Oh, I didn’t know they made baby bottle drying racks!” I said loudly as gifts were opened.
Baby sleeping clothes? Aren’t all baby clothes sleeping clothes, really?”
The gifts were by far the best part of the shower.
I don’t have any close friends that have children, you see, and I’ve never even been down the baby aisle at Target. The toys and gadgets fascinated me.
I mean, a baby rubber ducky whose bottom turns red if the water is too hot?! Holy shit!

“Are people still bathing babies in kitchen sinks?” I asked. “Or is that old school?”

After the baby gifts were opened (mine, a Target gift card) we had another game to play, which also required not speaking certain words.
Pictionary. Baby edition.
“Now, this is going to be exciting!” Sarah said, holding a heap of diapers she had seized from the group.

The whole shower could have been a plot for a sitcom, where men are placed in uncomfortable situations and must embarrass themselves in order to leave.
I can see it as a Home Improvement episode with Tim Allen having to choose a Pictionary card with a baby phrase on it.

Of course, a male baby shower participant (who I’m not sure has ever had a girlfriend) drew the “diaper genie” card.

“I don’t know what this is,” he said, black marker in hand.
“Let me see,” Sarah said. “I will give the men help.”

Sarah took him out of the room to explain what a diaper genie is, which took close to five minutes. He returned looking more confused than when he left and ended up drawing an actual genie coming out of a lamp, like Aladdin.
Diaper genie!” I exclaimed. Obviously. The editorial team got one point for my correct answer.

My “baptism” drawing was also guessed correctly, although some wondered why I had drawn a pope hat on a regular priest.

You know what?” I said. (Pictionary really does bring out the worst in people) “At least I didn't draw as bad as Sheila did with her ‘in labor’ card."
(It really was bad, she drew a stick figure on a delivery room table and we all wondered why the person had eight legs, but, no...those were not legs. They were details.)

Things got really hairy when the newspaper photographer (and Shelia’s husband) chose a card with a little-known baby phrase on it.
“I don’t know what this is,” he said, repeating the same line almost every other man had used.
OK, Come here,” Sarah said.

They exited the room for a few minutes as we oodled over the adorable mom-to-be --- the one who you can’t even tell is pregnant unless she turns to the side.

“Do you miss drinking alcohol?” I asked. Of course I asked that.
Not as much as eating sushi, she said. And blue cheese. And honey. Honey? Apparently you can’t have unpasteurized honey when you are pregnant.
But you can get your hair colored. They make baby-friendly chemicals now, I was told.

We were all still gabbing about baby things when the photographer snapped at us to pay attention to his drawing.
“Clothes,” we guessed. “A onesie.”
“Yes, but there’s more to it than that,” Sarah said.
“Um, OK, a set of clothes,” we said. “A collection?”
“Mmm hmmm. Mmmm hmmm,” Sarah said, as the photographer got frustrated, voraciously circling and re-circling the clothes he had already drawn: a hat, shirt, pants, booties.

“Clothes!” we said again.
“No, that’s not the name,” Sarah said. “There’s a special name for a collection of clothes for newborns.”
We all looked at each other and shrugged.
“Do you all give up?” Sarah asked, as the photographer started fuming. He had a competitive streak.
“We give up.”

“It’s a layette!” Sarah exclaimed.
We all looked at each other and shrugged.
“See?” the photographer yelled. “That’s not fair! A layette... I have two kids and didn’t even know that’s what you call matching baby clothes!”

Sarah paused.
“Give me your diaper,” she said.

Almost everyone got their diapers taken away by the end of lunch, which I thought seemed like a waste, because the mom-to-be is certainly not going to use the diapers now. Not after someone wiped up honey mustard sauce with one.

Despite the layette card, in my opinion, the shower was a success. The mom-to-be got a ton of baby toys and gadgets, clothes, shoes and… a gift card. We all got to eat tiny bite-sized snacks and cupcakes and talk baby. It was really cute. I'd just leave the men at their desks next time.

On our way out of the shower, we were all asked to guess the weight of the baby. We were given the weight of both parents at birth and told that the winner would get a grand prize. The chart is still taped to the office wall.

The baby boy ("It’s a boy!!!!!!!!!") was born at 11:39 p.m. on New Year’s Eve and was the last baby born in the area in 2009. Camera crews, newspapers (yours truly) and other outlets covered the birth, fussing over the last baby of the decade.

The photographer ended up winning the “guess the baby’s weight” contest, and he was awarded some jellybeans. Thankfully, no one mentioned to him that in the photo for the paper, the baby was most certainly wearing a layette.


1 comment:

  1. There is no room for baby showers in newsrooms. Booze and tobacco need to be allowed back-in.


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