Alternatives for second (or subsequent) baby shower
As my belly expands and I know that the baby turned (ok, 90% sure and this is not a dare to the universe) but I think the baby is head down because I remember how Zoe felt the same with a little head crammed into my right hipbone. I am so happy to be reasonably secure that things are going well because this is like Niamh or that is like Zoe and being #3 I can be a little more relaxed and in general not worry so much about the person who will be joining us in a few months. I still signed up for the once a week e-mails but this time it isn’t because the info is new per say, it is more to remind me actually where I am without having to count on my fingers. Today the e-mail included a poll (original here):
You have to vote to see the answers and here are the results;
Soooo, I’m out voted. I read a few of the comments and I agree that if you are having a different gender baby then maybe a shower is in order but really, there is no rule saying that you can’t receive gifts but I think having a ‘shower’ implies that you need the help of your friends and family to get ready for this big change – a lot like a wedding shower.
I completely agree about the celebration side of the event but how to word that is tricky. I feel that the shower for a first baby is to celebrate the change from independent adult life to life as a mom – so – it isn’t so much about the baby as it is about the to-be-mom and launching her well prepared into the next phase of life. If it was all about the baby then why do people have them when the baby gender is unknown? Nobody knows the actual preferences of the baby-to-be so they can’t exactly support the artistic tendency of this new person or know they might be a puker so everyone gives extra burp cloth. I have many solid arguments about the shower being for the mom (and dad) and not for the baby and that is perfectly fine but having a second baby shower to be ‘showered’ by crib sheets and strollers is kinda unnecessary. (note, my experience is with showers in my post 1980 lifetime where sonograms are normal and they are done before the baby is born – I know this is not the way it has always been nor how it is all over the world).
However, there is a whole different set of needs for a woman who is becoming the mother of 2 (or more) and here are some ideas for friends who feel they want to party and celebrate the next baby AND be useful but it shouldn’t be called a shower it should be called an XXX party.
1. A GET READY party – This is what I had and it was wonderful. My girlfriends came over, my husband decamped with #1, and we did all the little things that needed doing around the house to get ready for the baby. With #1 I had tons of time to set up the nursery and fold all the tiny clothes because there were really no other demands on my time. For #2 it was a month to due date and all the baby stuff was (mostly) in the house but not ready for a baby to come home. I spend 20min making a detailed list of what needed to be done (pre party) and everyone just started doing stuff with/for me and in one afternoon we went from zero to hero. Here is a sample list….
Set up crib in infant position – bedding etc
Install the infant car seat
Put together the swing and give it a good scrub to cleanse the garage air from it
Make space in the bathroom for all the baby stuff
Assemble a shelf I bought to increase storage space
Sort out all the 0-3 clothing, and, put all the baby blankets etc in a good place for when the day comes
2. A CLEANING party – Similar to the get ready party but more focused on a spring cleaning style get organized/help with the nesting process.
3. A CLOTHING or DIPER only party – For the person who wants a more traditional shower with cake (there was cake at my get ready party!) and sitting and chatting. Putting right on the invite the gift theme will keep people from giving things a seasoned mom already has and focuses on the things that you need either for an opposite gender or just stuff every new baby needs.
4. A COOKING party – Everyone gathers and either brings or cooks easy to reheat meals and stocks the freezer – its fun to do thing in a group and food in ‘the bank’ is great for days you can’t do anything other than juggle the needs of your TWO (or more) children.
5. A GIRLS NIGHT OUT party – you can either actually all go out, or, host a spa/movie/relaxation evening for the guest of honor and party away knowing that once new baby is born getting away for a few hours is something that just does not happen much.
6. CRAFTING party – this is more specific a suggestion for a focused ‘do something’ party that the guest of honor likes to do but you know all the crafts or scrapbooks or canning or whatever is going to get dusty while life is consumed with the new one.
7. A PHOTOGRAHY party – Getting more specific again here, but, the 2nd baby might be the last one and it could be a fun afternoon to play photographer and do every trite or gorgeous belly shot you can think of. Think backlit, painting the belly like a pumpkin, having the other kids hug the belly – belly photography is its own world but if the mom is inclined setting aside a party date to do pictures can be fun.
The cleaning, cooking or get ready parties might not be for the woman who is squeamish about people being in ‘her space’ but, the lifting, carrying, arranging etc is a whole lot more fun and easier with company. Depending on who is interested in attending may dictate what type of party you will have, good girlfriends and sisters are great for #1, 2, and 4 and the others are better for a less close more social group that could include coworkers.
I feel that when people get wrapped up about having another ‘shower’ it isn’t because they even want the stuff, they want to feel special. I completely believe that feeling special during the last 2 months or so of pregnancy is a very good gift for anyone and organizing one of the party ideas above for yourself or your pregnant friend feels so much more ‘right’ then throwing a generic shower where there will be at least 25% of the people wondering why you’re doing this….
PS. If your kids are way far apart and you gave away all your stuff then a DOING IT AGAIN party could be a good title for a more traditional ‘need the basics’ shower.
PPS. I completely value the gifts I got from various people for #2, they actually felt more special and ‘for Zoe’ since she was already born. I think it is great to call and stop by with a little gift (or cookies etc) after the baby is born for little visit.