Saturday, November 17, 2007

Baby Shower

Last night I went to a couples baby shower. A shower for both the mother to be and the father to be. Since the mom to be is a lawyer and the dad to be is a doctor, the guests were also doctors and lawyers. And most of them were married to each other. 

Something like this may not occur in communities where the dads are driving big rigs and moms are doing twelve hour shifts at a restaurant. But you never know. Moms are driving big rigs these days and lots of dads are taking their barbecue skills into the restaurant biz. I think I'm getting off track a bit.

The party started at 7:00. And when I left at 10:30, it was still going strong. If there weren't so many onesies lying around this could have been any party anywhere with married people. Unmarried people would have been hanging all over each other. These folks have been married long enough so that you couldn't tell who was with whom.

When a party is for married people, the entertainment seems to be geared to the guys. From the time of the party -- nighttime, to the food --  meat and cheese. Along with a lot of crackers and cheese and dips, there were little beef sandwiches and miniature hot dogs wrapped in blankets.

I'm not sure when this couples baby shower thing began, but I wonder why? Have women infringed on male terroritory so long that ours is fair game?  I'm sure it's the result of most pregnant women working and not staying at home to prepare for the ritual of the birth. My attorney brother and sis in law have barely missed a billing hour with any of their three kids.

With parity on the work front, fathers of the up and coming babies started including themselves in all things baby, saying things like "We're pregnant." As if they could actually comprehend the experience -- the nine months of mayhem that finally emerges alien-like, slippery, sllimy, and fully-baked from our bodies. Okay, I know sometimes the guys feel like their wives have become the aliens, so a little slack is required here. I guess this younger generation of fathers also figured if they had to get up in the middle of the night and change a poopy diaper, our baby showers were fair game.

I remember a time when baby showers were the sole domain of females. When girls could talk about "IT."  Pregnancy. What it did to their sex lives. Their bodies. Their souls. Their relationships with their husbands. A shower was a few hours of catharsis. It was a chance for a new mom to be to let out her anxieties among friends. And leave at least some of her fears with the wrapping paper when she went home.

In the good old days, baby showers  were afternoon events, often in the middle of the week. So we had plenty of time to get home to make dinner. Shower cuisine usually meant jello salads and sandwich loaves. With real china coffee cups, dessert plates and cloth napkins. We dressed up, sometimes even brought our own new babies, if we were nursing and they were small. 

The presents were cootchy-coo cute and we ooo'd and ahhh'd like girls do, sitting in a tight little circle, elbow to elbow, as close as we could get to one another. Conversation was all about babies.

Last night wives were with their husbands so the babies were with sitters at home. With few exceptions, conversation was about husband and wife stuff, like work, since in every case, hubba bubba and wifey poo are both saving the world.

There were a couple of sotto voce conversations with the mother to be that I was in on. One of her friends said that their mothers all had to watch their weight. I said, "No we didn't. I gained 46 pounds."  They just stared at me. Oh good, I thought, what's next?  The expectant mom, who is tall and willowy and due at the end of the year, said her mom didn't look pregnant until her seventh month. Wait a minute. Her mom was my matron of honor when she was three months pregnant. She already had a baby bump then.

When one of the friends commented, "They put our moms out cold," referring to the bad old days, I actually kept my mouth shut. I was clearly expected to be a fly on the wall for this one. No one turned to ask for my experience. They didn't care. However, I wanted to shout -- what is it about 24 hours of Lamaze breathing and epidural free childbirth that sounds like I was unconscious to YOU?  Just as well. 

Mostly, there was talk about wine selection, furniture, cars, vacations. Not babies. Even when the presents were opened. Everybody stood around for the most part as the parents to be took turns unwrapping gifts.

Not that it wasn't fun or funny. The comments were hilarious. What I'm whining about is that it wasn't the way it used to be and I'm not sure that was a good thing.  Women still need each other's company and as the lines blur between what men do and what women do chances for ordinary female bonding are relegated to weekends at expensive spas or support groups for divorcees.

After all that, it may be hard to believe that I had a really good time last night. The little miniature cupcakes with the swirly white frosting were to die for.


screaminremo303 said...

This is what you get with "diversity." Men are donors and women are surrogates. Somewhere in the midst is a real life child who comes into the world as more of a tax-deduction/FMLA option than a responsibility.

"Congratulations! Cheese puff?"

salemslot9 said...

nowadays women wear
clothes that show off
their pregnancy
pose nude on the
cover of magazines
I prefer the old days

psychfun said...

Well I've never been to a couples one. Now the father usually is there helping out a bit with opening presents but...soemetimes the father of the bride & brothers may be in the background to move big presents & mooch off the left over food. Ha! Use to be in a person's home on a Sat or Sun afternoon. They would take the wedding ring on a string & try to hang it from the tummy to see what the sex was of the child  & some other goofy things. Now my mom was knocked out for all 4 of us & the last one was in 1971! She wanted to do natural but her doc would not let her? Not C sections either. So maybe there mom's did get knocked out? We would have usually some catering maybe chicken & beef & then make the sides. Few times in a hall. Heck, my communion party was in a hall. Wedding showers use to be in a home also & now some are in a hall.  Just let them have it & tell them like it was! HA! I know I miss the way things were!!!! Man...did you see they are coming out with the old ornaments & wreaths..silver metal trees etc. I love that stuff.

mombzbe said...

Do you really think those guys are truly happy to be there?  Exposed to something they will never experience first hand unless they'd like a uterus?  LOL

My guess is they're there, hoping to overhear some boob talk.

ber144 said...

You'll be pleased to know that there is no way that I would have ever attended a "couples shower" for us, and that I instructed anyone who ever heard me say "we're pregnant" to hit me on the head with the nearest blunt object (that has always been one of my pet peeves). While I was at my wife's baby shower a few weeks ago, I was sequestered in a room far away from the activities watching football, emerging only to abscond with some food (it was catered Italian-yum) and take the loot to the car at the end (of course).  They tried to tell me about some game they played with candy and diapers, but I just put my fingers in my ears and sang.  I see no reason for this tradition to go unisex.