I’ve often wondered how such a blessed event has to be preceded by such a cursed one.
The Stay-at-Home-Mom with the master’s degree will be staying at home a little longer, mastering motherhood. She’s expecting a second child, and we all couldn’t be more thrilled—a little sister or brother for AngelFace.
But, another baby means another—and I’m making a yucky face here—baby shower.
Beyond the fact that it’s a celebration of the coming birth, there’s really nothing appealing about a baby shower … well, except for maybe the sangria, and, unfortunately, you can’t just drop by and pick up a gallon to go.
Let’s face it. These ladies all have better things to do on a gorgeous Saturday South Orange County afternoon. And nobody wants to buy another baby gift. Nobody wants to plan it, prepare for it, cook for it, decorate for it, and I’m absolutely sure I don’t want to vacuum, dust, mop the floors and wash the windows for it.
It means lots of planning and work for Goggy (AngelFace, the 2-year-old granddaughter who gave my wife this amusing nickname more than a year ago now furrows her brow and corrects me with “Grand-ma,” in a slow, Sir Laurence Olivier delivery … but I’m not giving it up.)
And when Goggy’s stressed, my life is not so great.
“We’ve got to find some games that aren’t lame,” Goggy says.
Baby shower games that aren’t lame?
My dictionary: lame (adj.) Like a baby shower game.
Me: “I know! Let’s have that baby-food taste test game, and then we won’t need as much food.”
(Nobody laughed then, either.)
The Stay-at-Home-Mom says the best baby shower game she’s ever heard of is called Preggos or Pornos. Apparently, it involves close-ups of women’s faces that are either screwed up in the agony of childbirth or, well, screwed up in the throes of romantic ecstasy. Shower guests have to guess who’s doing what.
(Winner gets bath salts, lotions or maybe a candle … isn’t it always bath salts, lotions or maybe a candle? Goggy was open to innovative game-winner gifts, and I suggested a bottle of Grey Goose, but she noticed it was half gone when she started to wrap it. I tried to explain that half a bottle of good vodka was better than bath salts, but she wasn’t buying it.)
Anyway, I refuse to put this game together. I’ll design the Baby Shower Bingo cards and the Baby Shower Price Is Right game, but I’m too squeamish to search the Internet for soon-to-be-mothers … and I’m staying off the sites where you might find the other. (Just got a new computer, and this kind of activity can lead to a nasty virus, I’m told.)
Everything surrounding this event is an ordeal, though. Goggy hands me this odd ball covered in crushed nuts and says, “I’m thinking about serving these. What do you think?”
It turns out to be a grape covered in a cream cheese/blue cheese mixture rolled in toasted pistachios. I tell her I think two things: “It tastes great … and it has to be the most labor-intensive hors d'oeuvre ever concocted by mankind.”
You’d think the Sous Chef would be a comfort when it comes to the menu for her big sister’s baby shower, but she keeps telling her mom that she’ll take care of it all on the morning of the party. I mean, she can throw together a $500 dinner for four in about 15 minutes, so how tough could building finger sandwiches be?
But this is not what Goggy wants to hear. She’s just spent every evening for a week on the Web trying to decide between a round cake, a sheet cake or cupcakes. (My idea—a box of Ding Dongs—was vetoed.)
She wants homework and groundwork, planning and preparation, formulation and organization, timelines and deadlines.
(Now you know why she makes all the money and I’m an American idle.)
Even the decorating is tricky because the Stay-at-Home-Mom and her hubby like to be surprised—I’m not sure surprises of any kind are a good thing at the moment of childbirth—by their offsprings’ gender. And that means no pink or blue unless there’s an exactly equal amount of each and they are displayed together.
I was thinking it would be pretty safe to just go with pink. After all, Goggy and I have two girls, Goggy’s sister has two daughters, and our only grandchild is female. But a recent event has changed my mind.
For months, when you asked AngelFace if she’s going to have a sister or brother, she instantly and firmly responded, “Gurl!”
(But the other day I was baby-sitting because her mom had a doctor’s appointment. As her mom was leaving, AngelFace said, “Mommy, lift up your clothes.” The Stay-at-Home-Mom exposed her ample belly, and AngelFace hugged it and said, “Bye-bye, new baby.”
After her mother left, AngelFace climbed up in my lap with a book. Before she handed it to me, she turned and looked me directly in the eyes.
“Ba-ba,” she said earnestly, “bruddah.”
So now I’m convinced I’ll have a grandson … either that or the baby’s Hawaiian.)
There hasn’t been this much planning since D-Day, but that doesn’t necessarily mean there’s no need to freak out on the morning of the big event. Balloons pop in transit, cake frosting can turn out a slightly off color of teal, and guests can develop horrible illnesses—or just not show up—at the last minute.
And then the day unfolded and ... remarkably, no hitch, no glitch, not so much as a twitch.
The rolled grapes were a hit. The Sous Chef and her buddy chef LoLo whipped out an impressive array of delicious salads and finger sandwiches—the Thai chicken with peanut sauce and Asian slaw on pumpernickel was my favorite. No balloons went limp, the cake matched the decorations, and everybody had a jolly time!
(And that bottle of Grey Goose has only a couple of fingers left in it.)