Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Showering Babies

In my past, I've had very strong views about baby showers. I think I'm coming to understand why that is.

Previously, I have enjoyed attending, participating in, co-hosting, and even having my own baby shower - for a first baby. Possibly even for that not-first baby that appeared after some significant gap between it and it's nearest older sibling, or having a boy after a handful of girls (or vice versa). AFTER that first (or gapped!) baby, however, my enjoyment dims considerably. Why is this?

First, I think the argument that 'every baby deserves to be welcomed into the world with a baby shower' is ridiculous. Often they're held before the baby arrives. I don't know about you, but if you're going to throw me a party, wait till I get there. When they're held after the baby arrives, the baby probably doesn't really enjoy it much anyway. Handed from person to person to hold, picking up a new germ strain from each one, all that fun stuff. :) So throwing a shower is a silly way to welcome a baby, in my mind. We should at least be honest that the party is for the mother or mother-to-be.

Second, baby showers are notoriously full of silly games. I will admit my bias here, for 2 reasons; one, for a while there everyone and their cousin was having or throwing baby showers, and they were getting very old; two, I am fairly good at some of those games, and eventually was not allowed to participate in them because I won them too often (ooo, is that Marxism? Bet they don't recognize that!). Aside from my deep emotional wounds, however, I still think most of the games (at least the ones I have seen) become tedious after a while.

Third, and perhaps most annoying, is that repeat showers seem to hold such an expectation of gifts. "I'm having a party so you can bring me presents" is how it starts to sound. I lose the joy in it when it becomes a requirement. Eventually I just don't feel free to bless from my heart a new baby (or it's mother) when I am called on so frequently to bestow an offering. And for myself, having a shower for a second (or third!) girl would feel as though I was placing an unnecessary burden on others.

Before Little Monkey was born, these sentiments were known to a few people, and many people at church brought little outfits or gifts for us on one of our first Sundays with her. I was blessed by this. By all means, if you wish to bless us, we will receive it! Come visit! But please, please don't feel as though it is a requirement or expectation. Or that you aren't "welcoming a deserving little baby" if you can't spare the time or resources to participate in a full-fledged shower.

*I wrote this previously, and in rereading it I think I should emphasize that I don't mean to assign motives to anyone. Not everyone enjoying their seventeenth baby shower is trying to say "bring me presents" and perhaps many others love nothing more than giving gifts at baby showers. This post is nothing more than my opinion, and as has been made obvious in many other posts, I am nowhere near average among my peers. This is my feeble attempt to put into words some of my perceptions and try to figure out how I got there. Please don't feel offended by it...

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