My surprise baby shower
In America, the baby shower is a time-honoured tradition, but, over here, they aren’t really that common. I’ve only been to one in the 13 years I’ve lived here and I organised it. So after the hundredth time of me sighing that I wasn’t going to get a baby shower, James took the hint and sent out the Bat signal. He called in some help in the form of my expat Californian friend, Alice. She’d know what to do.
Which is how it came about last night that, after James “suddenly” decided to take me to an afternoon showing of the new Pirates film (don’t bother, by the way), I walked into my house to find it full of my friends and pink balloons.
Alice and James did a great job. One hallmark of the baby shower is the games, so we played match the famous mother with the famous daughter (did you know that Cher had a daughter named Chastity, who is now male and called Chaz? Me either. Deduct a point). Everyone also brought a baby photo of himself or herself along (we had a mixed-sex shower) and we had to match people up. My favourite was one of my neighbour at about age 3 in which she had a big cigar sticking out of her mouth; fine for the 70s, but it would probably land her in protective services these days. Shame, because it really is a brilliant photo.
And then there is the gift giving. Alice came up with a great idea to avoid the problem of everyone buying cute newborn clothes; instead, they had to buy a gift that could be given to Abdul anytime in her first 18 years, which is how she ended up with a copy of Judy Blume’s Forever. And don’t worry – I also received a baby grow that says “Nobody puts baby in the corner” with a matching shirt that says “Nobody puts mummy in the corner”. She also got her first Fisher Price camera for aged 3 (I’ll have her using it by 18 months), a book on lies to tell your kids (“In Denmark, they use bacon as bank notes” and “Keep a chicken nugget in a shoe box, leave it some water and corn, and soon it will grow into a live chicken”). And Abdul also got her first pair of tap shoes and ballet tights with offers from our choreographer friend to teach her how to use them.
My father-in-law, who couldn’t make it down from Wales for the shower, also contributed. There is a Derbyshire tradition where he writes really bad poetry, known in the family as “crap verse”. He made a little film of him reading Abdul’s first crap verse including lines like:
“What colour her hair will be her fate
Dark is good but ginger is great!”
(Referring to his family’s ginger tendencies. It’s all up in the air what colour Abdul’s hair will be!)
“One thing’s assured: no tears, no fails,
This granddaughter of ours will play for Wales.”
(Not if my Italian father has anything to say about it ;o)
“Throwing up and a shitty nappy,
Well, the main thing is, you’re happy.”
And we are! Actually, it was probably the least crap crap verse he’s ever done. Thanks, Mr D!
Needless to say, I had a fabulous time and my desire for an American-style shower was well and truly fulfilled. There were even watermelon-themed cupcakes. It also was great for my Feel Good Friday Oxytocin levels, so now there is just one thing left to do and that’s have this baby. Come on, Abdul! There are a lot of people waiting to meet you, my little watermelon.