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The villain of this piece is (I'm ashamed to say) my own
mother. A wonderful woman, my mother, but let's just say that
she's...enthusiastic. Yes, enthusiastic. She gets an idea in her head and just
plows forward without pausing to think about whether the idea is really as great
as it seemed at first blush.
When my husband and I found out we were pregnant after six
years of infertility, my very flakiest and least-reliable friend leapt forward
and offered to throw us a shower. In fact it wouldn't be putting it too strongly
to say that she INSISTED on it. After a quiet conversation with my husband about
it, we thanked her kindly and took her up on the offer, but when another friend
also offered we let her know that Friend A was planning to do it. Since Friend B
also knows Friend A, she said, "Fine, but maybe I'll think up some ideas as
well in case it falls through." I smiled, thanked her, and the subject was
dropped with full understanding on all sides.
Fast forward several months. I'm in my last trimester and to
nobody's surprise except her own, Friend A finds that the time has snuck up on
her and she has neither the time nor money to give the shower. Happily I was
able to hug her, thank her sweetly for the thought, assure her that I wasn't a
bit mad, and call Friend B to let her know that maybe we could get together over
lunch some time and talk about a shower.
Enter my mother. A fine woman, as I've said,
but...enthusiastic. On my foolishly mentioning that Friend A had found herself
unable to take on throwing a shower, my mom declares that SHE will throw me a
shower instead. I told her that it's not necessary, Friend B has already
offered, that I think it's tacky for family to throw a baby shower, but it was
too late. Mom had taken the reins and was already in full gallop.
Over the next few weeks (after a private explanation and
apology to Friend B, who was an utter sweetheart about it all since not only has
she known Friend A forever she's known me and my mom forever too and wasn't
really all that surprised at the turn of events) my mother and I planned the
I told Mom that I really didn't want anything extravagant,
just a quiet afternoon with my friends. No decorations, no horrible shower
games, no cheesy themes. I was thinking a family-friendly gathering with iced
tea and finger sandwiches in the picnic area of the local botanical gardens.
Somehow in the tortuous depths of MomBrain(tm) this became a ladies-only full
British high tea served in her admittedly lovely backyard.
Neither Mom nor I had much money at the time, so we worked out
a menu of tea sandwiches that she could make herself along with iced tea,
homemade lemonade, coffee, etc. We also decided that for favors we would get
together one Saturday afternoon and work together to make pretty cloth bags
which we'd fill with candies. We created a shopping list for the food, and went
to the fabric store to pick out a lovely but inexpensive pink fabric along with
the ribbons and things to make the favors.
It's now four weeks before the shower, and despite my mother's
repeated statements that the guest of honor shouldn't have to do anything at all
for the shower and my repeated passing-along of offers from not only Friend A
and Friend B but other friends as well, Mom and I are on the phone every night
planning details of the shower. I want to stress here that I didn't mind this,
it was actually a happy distraction from the woes and worries of my high-risk
The weekend that Mom and I were supposed to get together to
make the gift bags, I headed down to Mom's house to find that Mom had been too
busy to do the pre-work on the bags. Let's cut an already long story a bit
shorter by just saying that in the end I ended up making the bags myself.
Fifty-four small origami bags, each hand-trimmed with ribbon roses. I started
that day, and finished them two weeks later (about fifty man hours in all).
While I was working on them that first day, Mom stood over my
shoulder and rhapsodized about the invitations she'd made and sent. When I asked
for one so that I could send it to my mother in law who lives across the country
and couldn't come to the shower but who I was trying to keep 'in the loop' about
the whole pregnancy and baby, Mom got curiously cagey, saying she'd left them at
school. I didn't think much about it at the time, but remember those
invitations--they become important later.
Fast forward again, it's the week of the shower. Mom calls
Monday and asks if I can make up the spread for one of the kinds of sandwiches.
Sure, no problem. Tuesday, she asks if I can make up another of the spreads
since I 'make it better' than she does. Of course Mom, not a problem. Wednesday
can I hem her dress that she'll drop off to me, since she won't have time and
needs it to wear at the shower. Um, sure. On Thursday she dropped by with the
dress and the candy to fill the bags. No worries, my husband and I sat in front
of a movie that night and scooped out candy into the bags. Friday was a
red-letter day: she needed me to run to the bakery to buy the bread for the tea
sandwiches. While I was out my cell phone rang--could I also swing by the
grocery store and buy this quick half-dozen items? When I got home there was an
email with a list of things she needed to borrow (serving spoons and the like),
a reminder to also pack makeup that would look good on her since she couldn't
find hers, and another shopping list to pick up at the MegaStore and the grocery
store on the way down. Riiiiight.
Saturday was the shower. A beautiful spring day, my beloved
Friend C and I pack up the car with the alarmingly large number of items we need
to bring with us and drive down to Mom's house a few hours early, stopping along
the way to get the extra items from the email. When we arrive at the house, Mom
isn't there. It turns out she'd had another social engagement earlier in the
We unloaded the car and started getting things ready. Making
tea sandwiches (Mom hadn't had the bread to get started), moving furniture
(she'd forgotten to borrow the extra chairs a neighbor had promised), polishing
the silver trays (she'd meant to get to it). It's worth noting that at this
point I was just shy of nine months along and pre-eclamptic and had been put on
modified bed rest by my doctor.
After about an hour my Mom showed up, along with the teenaged
daughter of one of her friends who she'd hired to help out. God bless Teenage
Daughter, she and Friend C teamed up and set me to doing tasks I could complete
sitting down like rolling napkins and arranging silverware in baskets. Other
friends of my mother started trickling in to help out, and by the time the
shower was due to start everything was ready, and it was all just beautiful.
The shower itself was lovely. I wish some of my friends had
been there to see it. Well that's not fair, four of my friends were invited.
That's four out of the fifty guests. The rest were my Mom's friends. But Mom's
friends all seemed to have a lovely time.
My friends, set at a little Coventry table off to one side,
mostly chatted among themselves. I didn't get much chance to talk to them, since
every time I made my way over there my Mom steered me back into the throng and
chided me gently for neglecting my guests.
Halfway through the afternoon, just before the one and only
shower game played (do I even need to spell out that it was the ever-popular and
horribly humiliating 'cut a length of ribbon and see if it will go around the
pregnant girl's massive bloated belly' game?) I finally saw the shower
invitation for the first time.
Another digression here. My husband and I had chosen an
unusual but not, we thought, weird name for our daughter. Let's pretend the name
is 'Cecilia'. My mother loved the name, but pushed hard for us to use an
alternate spelling, let's say 'Sicillia'. You've guessed already, haven't you?
The invitations were printed with HER preferred spelling of the name. At first
she claimed it was a mistake, but later in the afternoon when I teased her about
it she said, "It was a last-ditch effort. I thought if you saw how much
nicer Sicillia is you would agree to spell it right from now on."
With a massive effort of will and the quick intervention of
Friend B and Friend C dragging me off to the bathroom for a quick conference, I
managed to laugh off the invitation hijinks. We joked that it would make a good
story to tell the baby later, and that since the baby was going to be a Gemini
the dual spellings represented her twinned personalities.
The rest of the shower was pretty uneventful, at least as far
as this story. The food was delicious, the day lovely, people adored the favors.
A fine time was had by all, despite my Mom managing to hurt Friend A's feelings
a bit by poking gentle fun at her gift.
There are two last things to mention about this experience,
but I promise to keep them short. After two weeks of bugging my mom to give me
an address list of all her friends (actually I'd been asking for one for a month
or more before the party in hopes of pre-addressing the thank you notes, but
who's counting?) I finally gave up and just handed Mom the thank you notes that
I'd written to her friends. Months later I learned that not only had she
forgotten to pass them out to anyone, but the thank you note I'd written to
Teenage Daughter for all her help and support through the day Mom had actually
thrown away because it was 'inappropriate' to thank the 'hired help'.
Also, two weekends after my 'official' shower, Friend B threw
a gift-free gathering at her house and invited all our friends. We played silly
board games, ate sandwiches and iced tea, watched a funny movie and generally
just hung out and enjoyed one another's company. Best shower ever.
There was a girl I worked with for only about a month. She
decided the job was just too taxing and quit. She was pregnant when she was
hired, and a couple months went by and no one heard from her. One day she came
in and distributed invitations for her baby shower (and here I thought that was
the job of the hostess). She knew the work schedule and that everyone works
Saturday, but the shower was on Saturday nonetheless. I gave her the benefit of
the doubt that perhaps the hostess of the shower had not taken that into
account, so made the plans based on when she thought most people would be
available. After all, it seemed strange that she would invite 20 or so people to
her shower whom she knew would not be able to make it because they have to work.
But she gave us the invitations anyway, asking each person if they would be able
to make it (thereby putting us each on the spot). I told her that I would
probably not be able to attend, given that it was on Saturday, and she replied
(no kidding!!) "Well, just bring the gift to work and I'll drop by after
the shower and see what you got for me."
At least she saved me from having to shop for her baby gift.
My sister in law just told me this story and immediately I
thought of this site and knew I had to submit it!
My brother and SIL are part of a large group of friends in
their mid-30's. All of their friends have at least one child and many are on
their 2nd, 3rd and 4th children. One of their friends is currently pregnant with
her 3rd child, we'll call her Marie. Well, my SIL recently received an e-mail
from Marie's sister....inviting all of Marie's friends over for a surprise get
together (at a restaurant-she's not even throwing a party, it's an each guest
pays her own way sort of party) for Marie in honor of the new baby. Oh, and
please make sure you donate $10 towards the gift.
She's calling it a "Sprinkle".
The sad thing is Marie would be humiliated to know her sister
was doing this-soliciting gifts from her friends. And everyone in this group
always does things for a new baby on their own anyway-this solicitation in
addition to belonging in Etiquette Hell is completely unnecessary.
Approximately two months before my due date, a friend of mine
decided to throw me a baby shower at her home. This was not a surprise shower,
so she asked me for a list of friends and local family members who might want to
attend. I supplied the list, and invitations were duly sent out. Now, this baby
is the first grandchild for my parents, and will likely be the only one ever. My
father, therefore, was absolutely over the moon in love before she even put in
an appearance, and could not stop talking about her. He and my mother got their
invitation (I knew he'd be pleased to be invited, so I asked K to be sure to put
his name on the invitation), and that was his sole topic of conversation for the
next several weeks. No problem so far.
The problem came when he mentioned the shower to one of the
people who does the evening cleaning at his business. He frequently works late,
and being a friendly person often chats with the cleaning staff. When this
woman, S, had had her son a year previously, he had given her a "welcome
baby" gift, and she now asked to be invited to my baby shower. When Dad
told me this, I told him that I had no objection (although I had never met her),
and that he should contact K, who was hosting the shower. Dad put off talking to
K for several weeks, but every time S saw him, she would ask about the
invitation. Dad would then ask me, and I would refer him to K. At one point, Dad
indicated that he would just photocopy his invitation and give it to S, but I
was able to convince him that that would be a) tacky, and b) unfair to K, who
would probably like to know who was being invited to her house. (I had contacted
K to let her know that Dad would be calling, and she had no objections or space
limitations. If I'd had S's address, I would have passed it on, but I didn't.)
So finally Dad contacted K, and the invitation was duly sent.
S RSVP'd, and all was well. Fast forward to the day of the shower. The party was
in full swing, and the phone rang. It was S, who had gotten lost and needed
directions to the shower. Now, normally this would not be a problem at all, but
S is a first-generation immigrant who is still in the process of learning
English. Of all the people at the shower, I was the only person there who spoke
her language, and I don't claim to speak it well. It was my minor in college,
and that was some time ago. I tried to give directions over the phone, and we
managed to communicate well enough for her to find the house.
Once S arrived, K did her best to make her feel welcome, but
it was awkward, since I had to attempt to translate any conversation S wished to
have, as well as the directions for all of the games. We made it through the
afternoon somehow, and I believe everyone had a good time. The games were fun,
the food was fantastic, and I really appreciated everyone's efforts on my
behalf. Afterwards, I did my best to write a thank-you note to S in her
language, and she complimented my language abilities (probably more than I
The kicker? After all that, my father decided he'd rather
visit his brother than show up to the shower.
My fiancé & I often socialize with his co-workers and
their spouses. We are all friendly, except for one woman who has quite literally
been extremely rude at one time or another to everyone. Well, she is pg &
due in a month. She already had one baby shower back in her hometown, but has
decided to throw herself another one in the city where we reside. She sent
everyone invitations by email. The shower is going to be pot-luck & it's
open-house style. So basically, we all got invited to a gift grubbing event over
email for & thrown by a woman who is incapable of being civil to us. We need
to bring a gift & supply the food, but don't expect any kind of
entertainment. Classy! I've attached the invitation w/ all personal info
changed for your viewing entertainment!
case you haven’t heard…
plan on joining us on March 5th
1pm-3pm at Kristin and Ryan’s house:
is an ‘open house’ style baby shower.
bring your favorite covered dish.
be able to see the nursery and catch up with others.
and Ryan are registered at Babies ‘R’ Us.
RSVP by March 2nd to Kristen 123-4567 or email XXXXXXXXX@XXXX
I am still amazed by the total lack of etiquette people
have when it comes to showers (of any sort) and just today I received an invite
full of etiquette no-no's. I received an invite to my cousin's baby
shower, the shower is being thrown by her sister and mother (no-no #1), the
party is to take place next week (no-no #2 -- the last minute invite lets me
know I was not at the top of the list and since the RSVP date on the invite was
two weeks ago I am guessing that I am second or third round filler guest) ,
along with the invite is a slip of paper stating that the "admission
price" to the shower is a book for the new baby's library (no-no #3--the
last time I checked newborns can not read so this is just a blatant attempt to
get another gift), and there is also a footnote that only guests that bring in a
package of diapers will be signed up for the door prizes,
it also states that guests born from January-June should bring size 1 diapers
and guests born July-December should bring size 2 diapers. It also kindly asks
guests to donate only name brand diapers (i.e. Pampers or Huggies) since the new
baby deserves the best (needless to say this is no-no #4)--I should interject
here that that last bit was pretty much verbatim of what was on the slip of
paper. And, finally no-no#5 , the invite was addressed to me in my maiden name
and since I have been married for ten years and both of these cousins were
members of my wedding party(the mother-to-be was a bridesmaid and the baby
shower host did a reading) I was a bit offended by this, I mean they know my
married name, I send them family photos, holiday and birthday cards so what's the
deal ?? I have no intention of going to this shower though my breeding dictates
I do send a gift, though I admit I am somewhat put off by having to since they
can't think to invite me in a timely manner or even get my
name right. AAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGHHHH!!!!
I received an e-mail today from my "friend" Amber.
It discussed how much fun she and all of her female friends and relatives had
last weekend at her baby shower. A dozen photographs from the event were
attached. I was not invited to the party although I am female, her friend, and
live only about 10 minutes away from her. Talk about hurtful. This comes
about 2 months after Amber had sent me her wish list from Amazon.com and a notice
that her birthday was coming up. The items on the list were from about $12 all
the way up to furniture costing over $200. And she was not even having any sort
of get-together. She just wanted me to know what gift she wanted me to buy her.
I can only imagine that I was not invited to the baby shower because I did not
spring for a birthday gift previously.
This story really begins way before the baby shower in
question and it concerns a guest that should have definitely refused an invite.
The guest is my ex-best friend and the story begins with a group vacation. This
could get really complicated so let me cut things short by saying she seduced my
husband, he told me all about it and we all agreed to try and forget it happened
and just get past it. I know that was ludicrous but it seemed to make sense at
A short time afterwards I found out I was pregnant, quite a
surprise given my doctor had told me I couldn't have children and my husband and
I were scouting out adoption agencies. At this point my ex-friend turned truly
psycho. She threatened to kill herself, sent threatening emails to my husband
accusing him of harassing her after he walked past her in a public place, and
pretended she didn't know me.
You'd think that would be the end of it but no. Another friend
decided to organize a shower for me. I hadn't told her about this whole debacle
and she invited ex-friend to my shower. She actually showed up! Not that she
spoke to anyone, she just sat and stared at people, ate the food and generally
tried to cast a dark shadow over the whole proceeding. Believe it or not there's
still a punchline to this story. She didn't even bring a gift to the shower
which is enough to send her to etiquette hell even without the backstory!
A few weeks ago I received an invitation to a baby shower from
my cousin and the apparent mother of his child that oozed with tackiness. With
the exception of his mother and siblings no one has seen him in years or knew
that he was dating anyone let alone going to be a father. The shower invitations
were their way of announcing to the extended family they were expecting. If that
wasn't tacky enough the shower is being given for the baby by her parents (read
they are throwing themselves a shower). Inside the invitation were all the
places they had registered. To finish off the tackiness they only thing on all
their registries are expensive toys, nothing practical.
A few years ago, my mother and I both worked for a small
family-owned company that employed about 15-20 people or so. My mother managed
the retail store ( located on the same site as the factory) and another woman
and I did all the office work. This woman, "Cindy" and I got along
okay, but were in no way friends outside the office. Her daughter, a few years
younger than I, was pregnant, and my mother and I were invited to the baby
shower, as were the other 5 women in the company. It turned out that her
daughter had the baby prematurely (It's okay, mom and baby turned out just
fine), and the baby was about 3 weeks old at the time of the shower.
Fast forward to the party: My mom, the women from work and I
showed up at the site, a fire hall, and found out that about 60 people
had been invited to this shower, none of whom we knew (and it turns out that "Cindy"
hardly knew any of them either). We took a quiet table in the back, and
proceeded to play the usual silly baby shower games.
Afterwards, we trudged up to the food table. Nothing horrific there, just your
usual finger foods, etc. Until we got to the cake. "Cindy" had
taken digital photos of the baby in the incubator and had the prints put onto
the cake as those new "edible decoration" things. That alone would
have been bad enough (I mean seriously, who wants to eat cake with a piece of
baby on the icing??) but most of the pictures on the cake showed a diaper-less,
wrinkled preemie. I don't need to go into this.....but basically you get the idea
that someone was going to get a piece of cake with a very un-appetizing picture
Now that was the worst aspect of the whole ordeal, but many
things about this shower were serious faux pas. Just a few examples: The father
of the baby and a few of his friends were there, nothing wrong with that, except
they were all very red-eyed and smelling obviously of some herbal enhancement,
making very loud, crude jokes about some of the other guests.
Since we couldn't play some of the "guess how many squares of toilet paper
will fit around mom's belly" type games, there were others. Including a
"What's in your Purse?" game where you got points for having things
off a list in your handbag. One of the items worth 25 points was to have a $100
bill on you. One of the ladies I worked with had it, and marked it on her
paper. A few other guests did too, and after the sheets were rounded up and
"Cindy" made note of it out loud and started hinting loudly how
something like that would make a really nice donation to the new family. Well
new dad and his friends saw that about 8 people had the $100, and began making
all kinds of comments....(Dude.....800 bucks! You could get that Playstation 2!
The clincher: All of us from work had gone in together, as
well as many of the men from the company (as co-workers often do) for a
stroller that was one of those that had that car seat
removable thing for easier on-the-go baby handling, and a Pack 'N Play playpen
that converted to a baby bed/changing area. (All in all, about $400, I believe.)
A month after the shower "Cindy" tacked up a single Thank You card on
the office bulletin board. Funnily enough when New Mom and New Dad decided to
get married later that year, all of us fellow employees had other obligations
After being told what she expected people should buy her for
her baby shower, I just looked at the on-line registry my dear
"friend" (I'll call her Greedzilla) has for her first child--a boy due
three months from now. This registry is no less than ten pages long and
includes every baby item imaginable and then some. It leads me to wonder
if she expects to purchase anything on her own, or if she just expects every
item to be bought for her. And, we are not just talking clothes and
bottles here, oh no. Apparently, this baby shower is meant to outfit this
kid with everything he will need until kindergarten in addition to some of the
most ridiculous items ever. We are talking $200 sheet sets (yes, a $200
set of sheets, for a BABY), $120 booster seat (not even an infant car seat, but a
BOOSTER seat for a toddler), a $350 rocking chair, a WAGON (what the hell does a
baby need a wagon for--that's not even safe) and even things like a potty seat
(something that I am sure will be useful TWO YEARS from now) not to mention the
multiple decorator pillows (something every infant simply cannot live without).
I should have known better, as for her wedding last year, she
registered for 4 sets of silverware (and what newlywed, childless couple should
be without 32!!! flatware settings), 2 $100/each TRASH cans (ummm...who the hell
needs a $100 place to throw garbage) a $400 chicken cooker (??still not sure
about that one) and enough towels to soak up Lake Michigan. This from a
woman who expected people to plop down $1500+ just to ATTEND her destination
wedding. (Thanks for taking time off work and spending money up the wazoo
just to see me say "I do", but where is my galvanized stainless steel
spaceman garbage capsule???) IMHO: I don't know if this is a faux pas or not,
but I personally think that if it costs someone their vacation time and funds
for a year just to attend your wedding, that is gift enough, so LAY off the
registry altogether. I just think that registries in general are so
out of hand, but on top of the 100+ items Greedzilla has registered for, she has
decided who should buy what already. I was told that, based on some
scientific calculation involving how long she has known someone and their
immediate relationship to her, what was to be expected of them in the way of
gifts. For example, her parents are "expected" to buy at a
minimum, a travel system while her sister is expected to buy the pack n play.
Her in-laws, apparently of lesser means, are only required to buy a swing.
I, being a very close personal friend, rank somewhere between a high chair and
the $200 sheets.
I resent the thought of Greedzilla just expecting to be
lavished with all these gifts. I understand her and her husband are
financially in a tough spot, but she got pregnant AFTER he lost his well-paying
job. (I am tempted to just wrap up a pack of Trojans -- serves you right,
idiots). I am from the school of thought that "if you can't feed 'em,
don't breed 'em." In her case, if you can't afford the $200 sheets
and designer room furnishings on your own, don't expect your friends to pick up
the tab or perhaps, register for something a little more reasonable. It is
disgusting that people think their child is simply entitled to the best of
everything regardless of their inability to provide it on their own. There
is NOTHING wrong with living within your means, people!! I
have just about enough of this woman, and am ready to just cut the ties plain
and simple. It is one thing to register for needed items, but to register
for EVERYTHING under the sun is just plain ridiculous and tacky tacky tacky.
I am tempted to e-mail her and ask her what SHE plans on buying for her own
kid, if anything. Phew!
I work in a small stationery shop part-time. A customer
came in and, in the course of chatting amiably, told those of us working about
an invitation to a bridal shower she had received. The couple had included
the name of the place where they were registered. When she looked up their
registry, most of the items were in the hundreds of dollars. A crib sheet
set, she told us, was listed as costing $800! (No, an au pair was not
included in that price. )
We all had a good laugh as we considered that this was the
couple’s first child and they had a lot to learn about babies, not the least
of which is that they have no respect for crib sheets no matter how expensive
We also suggested that the customer buy the couple a book on
parenting since it was obvious that this little child was already ruling their
I recently attended the worst baby shower. Ever.
YIKES! (All names have been changed to protect the utterly
clueless). Some background first: My good friend/cousin Carrie
found out she was pregnant. This was planned. Of course I was
delighted and so happy for her and her new husband, although IMHO, it was not
the ideal time for them to be having a baby. They were/are in some real
financial trouble since her husband recently lost his job and they have HUGE
house/car payments, but whatever. A baby is a baby, right?
This child is due the first week in January, with the shower being scheduled
during the peak holiday buying season. So, naturally, I am somewhat
annoyed that during this time when I am strapped from buying Christmas presents,
I will have to spend even MORE money I don't have for a shower gift.
(Sorry, I am still a college student). Again, IMHO, the shower would have
been better being scheduled in early November, but whatever. Carrie is my
cousin, I love her and this baby can't help when he's going to be born.
I receive an invite in the mail that says "join us in welcoming baby X!
Shower begins at 11 am with BRUNCH and GAMES with GIFT OPENING to follow."
I think it was tacky to actually put GIFT OPENING on the invite.
Obviously, there will be gifts and obviously they will be opened, but it seemed
odd anyway. No mention of an RSVP or anything. Nor does the invite mention
who is hosting. Of course, three cards fall out telling me where the
couple is registered. OK, whatever.
So, two weeks before the shower is to be held, Carrie invites
me over for dinner at her home. I come over and the first thing she says
is, "Go look at the baby's room." I open the door expecting an
adorable nursery, but what do I see in the "baby's room"? A
crib. An incredibly EXPENSIVE crib. Yup, that's it. A single
crib (not even a mattress on the crib)! Literally nothing was done to this
room. No paint, no curtains. NOTHING. There is not a diaper, a
onesie, a pacifier to be found anywhere. If Carrie was not so hugely
pregnant, I would have questioned whether or not they were even expecting their first kid
in just over a month. I am like, "uhhh...nice." What am I
supposed to say? "Hey, that's really cute!" or maybe "Wow!
You really went all out!" What I wanted to say was, "Where is
all the baby stuff?" and "Instead of buying a $1000 crib, you might
have bought some clothes or a car seat or hell, even a blanket."
Right away I panic. I have visions of this child being born and coming
home to a mattress-less crib in a sterile, white walled asylum-esque room.
I mentally double the amount of money I intend to spend on the shower gift as to
make sure this child will have SOMETHING.
Carrie then later tells me that she has invited over 100
people to the shower. 100 PEOPLE!!! I think she ended up passing out
invites to strangers on the street because I cannot imagine her knowing that
many people well enough to invite them to her baby shower (both his/her sides of
the family are not that big). A few days later, I go on-line to view
her registries. Grand total 22 pages!!!!! Good lord, now I know why
they haven't bought a single damn thing. Why buy stuff when you can sucker
your family/friends into getting it for you? No wonder she wasn't worried
about their financial situation when she got pregnant--it's not like they were
going to have to buy anything on their own, right? This registry was
nothing like I have never seen in my life. They registered for every
possible thing you could think of. They were registered for the obvious
things (car seat, swing, highchair, etc) but there were some oddball things
also (breast cream, Vaseline, multiple strollers, multiple dehumidifiers, 7
thermometers, ear drops, 20 packages of AA batteries, laundry detergent, a
toilet seat -- yes a TOILET SEAT, it just went on and on and on).
There were also things that were not necessary and obviously
out of the couple's price range, but it seemed that had no problems asking for
other people to buy it for them ($200 comforter, $500 rocking chair, $300
stroller, $100 monitor etc.). I waited until the very last second
practically to get the shower gift, because I wanted to see what would be left
on the registry that I thought they would really need that no one else bought
them. I went to the store they registered at the night before the shower
and printed out the whole HUGE list of items. About six things had been
bought. Uh-oh. So much for that 100 people thing. I
panic again, and start throwing thing in the cart I think this baby will need.
To hell with the comforters and toilet seats, I buy bottles, onesies GALORE,
diapers, wipes, pacies, bottle liners, blankets, some toys, hats, socks, wash mitts, baby lotions and shampoos and just TONS of stuff I think this kid
literally has to have. As I have never had children myself, I am sort of
buying blindly, but I buy things that I think will be important and needed.
I way overspent on this shower gift but I feel good because now I know this kid
won't be born in the dead of winter with no clothes.
So, onto the shower this morning. I go there with my
friend Jen (whom Carrie does not know that well, but invites her to everything
since she assumes she is Jen's friend by association or something). We lug
our gifts from the car and haul it into the hall they've rented for 100 people.
Only there are about 20 people there. We are told to grab plates and
eat. Jen and I go through the buffet and try to find some place to sit.
HA! These tables are spread out over this huge banquet room and since only
1/5 of the people they expected actually showed up (all the more reason to have
RSVP on your invites idiots) people are spread across the room so far that it
would be impossible to hold a conversation with anyone without shouting across
the room. Doesn't matter, because I hardly recognize anyone there anyway
and Jen doesn't know anyone but Carrie and myself. No one bothers to
introduce anyone to anyone else and people who seem to know each other already
are huddled together at their "own" tables. We finally sit
by ourselves and eat. And sit. And sit. And sit. And
sit. Carrie, whom WE had to find to say hello to when we came in, is
now nowhere to be seen. Thanks for making us feel welcome. Someone
comes by later and puts some cake in front of us. Odd, I thought, for
someone else to be cutting/serving cake. No pictures were taken with
expectant mom by the (adorable) cake. No expectant mom cutting the cake.
Nothing. Weird. So we eat the cake. And then we sit. And
sit. And sit. And sit. My butt hurts from sitting in the same place
for 2 hours. Jen is bored to tears.
At this point I am way beyond ready to leave when someone
yells, "Carrie, open your gifts! This is going to take forever!"
There were lots of gifts to be opened. Many of the people who couldn't
attend have sent gifts for the new baby so the present table is overflowing.
Thank god, at least something is going to happen now. Then, of
course, the envelopes are passed around so we can write our own addresses for
our thank you cards. I politely decline to do so and the table next to me
gives me a dirty look. Oh well. Sorry, but if you can find my
address on your own to send me an invite to the worst baby shower ever,
then you can find my address on your own later to thank me for coming and
bringing a gift to the worst baby shower ever.
So Carrie then begins the hour long task of opening her gifts.
When she gets to mine she looks at the gigantic gift bag, unwraps two things and
says, "that's a lot of stuff. I think I'll stop here and unwrap it
all later." Thanks a lot b****wad. Next time you get a toilet
seat. One lady gave her a stroller and she had the nerve to say, "Oh,
here is the EXTRA stroller I wanted." Nice to know that you
spent $100+ on something that is just an "extra." This is doubly
annoying to me because I don't think people who have bought nothing for their
own child should be asking people for extras of anything.
At some point a lady brings the basket of addressed envelopes
to Carrie and she picks a name. Some old lady won the balloon
centerpiece from the cake table. That was the "games" so
specifically mentioned on the invitations. That was literally it. No
cutesy games or prizes that are generally cheesy, but still expected and
actually sort of fun to play. The presents are now opened and
Carrie stand up and says, "Thank you for coming, everyone." Jen
looks at me, relieved and says, "That must be our cue to leave."
A quick good-bye and four hours of a perfectly good Sunday were ruined.
Oh well. Jen and I both agreed that we will now know what NOT to do if we
ever decide to have a shower. And that, dear friends, it the story of the
worst baby shower. Ever.
My brother-in-law and his girlfriend, Joan, became pregnant
while they were dating, so they decided to get married. They married quickly
(within 4-6 weeks) after deciding to get married. My first exposure to her
sister, Glenda (who will be a key figure in the story), was at the wedding.
Glenda decided to plan and execute the wedding for her sister. Our side of the
family, the Groom's side, were told to arrive at the location at 1pm for the
ceremony (there were no invitations). Our family shows up at 1pm to an empty
venue. No one from the Bride's side is there. We wait. People start showing up,
but Glenda (the wedding planner) is not one of them. After waiting for some
time, I go to use the restroom. While using the facilities, I see the door
handle being shaken up and down quickly, followed by loud and forceful banging
on the door. “Who’s in there? We need to get in there? Hello?!?!? We’re in
a hurry!” I come out somewhat surprised at being evicted from the bathroom
after being in there for under a minute to find Glenda at the door, clearly
frustrated with me, although she has no idea who I am. “We need to get in
there so Joan can change!” Joan is standing behind her looking sheepish and
says a quick hello before being ushered into the bathroom. That was my first
impression of Glenda and has proven to be a harbinger of all future
Since my story is about Joan’s baby shower, I won’t get
into the wedding details, but will summarize as follows:
1) Glenda came out to the group of family members at the venue
who were milling around wondering when the ceremony was starting and said,
“Why did all these people show up at 1pm?” to no one in particular. If she
had addressed the question to a particular person, the answer would have been,
“Because you told us to come at 1.”
2) She brought a boom box to play music for when Joan walked
down the makeshift aisle, however neglected to ensure that there were batteries
in the boom box, so the music warbled and died out almost immediately upon
3) She “planned” the ceremony but did not tell the
participants what there parts were. So, when the Officiant said, “And I’m
told that X, the best man, would like to read a passage,” X kind of looked
around, surprised, and said, “I don’t know what I’m supposed to be
reading.” And the ceremony paused as she looked around to find a Bible and
turn it to the right passage.
4) The dessert she chose is a cake that is traditionally
soaked in alcohol, so none of the children present could (or would) eat it. I
felt bad for the kids who had patiently sat through the ceremony, then weren’t
able to enjoy any cake, although I do think that it’s the Bride and Groom’s
decision about what kind of cake they have.
Since I was a guest at the wedding and it was my first
introduction to her, I didn’t pay too much attention to all of the above
details until I had dealt with her during the baby shower, when all of the
wedding shenanigans came rushing back to me, reminding me that there were so
many warning signs that I foolishly ignored.
A few months after the wedding, I saw Joan at a family event
and asked her how she was doing. I had heard that her sister was in the process
of planning a baby shower for her (and let’s not even get into the family
planning shower for her issue). Since I know that she got married so quickly
that she didn’t have any of the usual pre-wedding events, I wanted to help out
with the shower in some way. I asked her for her sisters contact information so
I could call and see if I could provide any assistance. A few days later, Glenda
calls me and asks me for some help.
Since this could also go on for far too long, I will again
1) I asked when she was planning on having it. She said she
was planning a Saturday shower from 11-3pm. I asked if she had any ideas about
food and she said, “Well, I don’t think we should be expected to feed
everyone!” So, apparently the guests should have assumed that there would not
be food at an event scheduled between 11-3pm and have had lunch before leaving
for the shower. I volunteered to do all the cooking. Glenda’s job is games,
balloons and the cake.
2) She didn’t have a location for the shower, so one of the
groom’s relatives volunteered their vacation home. The groom’s mother,
grandmother, sister and myself got to the house around 9am to clean and cook and
set up. 11am- Glenda is not there (and the guests are showing up). 11:20am- Joan
shows up carrying her own cake and balloons. Apparently Glenda was too stressed
and busy to pick up the cake or the balloons, so she asked the GUEST OF HONOR,
her sister, to get them. 11:35- Glenda shows up in a storm of stressed energy.
She’s been so busy! Planning some baby shower games really takes it out of
you, I guess.
3) She starts on the games at the same time that I’m holding
my infant niece. She goes to hand me a piece of paper and a pen to play a
“Draw a baby with your eyes closed” game, and I said, “Oh, my hands are
full. I’ll sit this game out and play the next one.” She shoots daggers at
me for not playing the game.
4) I serve lunch and it’s quite a spread (I always make too
much food). As people are complimenting the food and commenting on how much
there is, she is sighing and shifting a lot in her seat, anxious to be done
talking about something that she wasn’t in charge of or involved in.
5) As we’re wrapping up the gift opening, I look around and
she’s nowhere to be seen. She decided to leave and left. No good-bye. No help
cleaning up. No acknowledgement of the assistance that everyone put in,
including the use of a strangers house. Nothing.
Oh, and this might be kind of silly, but one of Joan’s
friends wore a tube-top to the baby shower. In December.
My 24-year-old cousin will soon give birth to her 3rd boy in 5
years. We've never been close (haven't spoken to her in years), but I just
received a Christmas card with the following message: "We
decided against a baby shower this time, but (we) still registered at Babies R
Us online and at Toys R Us. We thought that would be easier for everyone
since its so hard to get together so close to Christmas. I registered for
the essentials basically, being the last child and all." I have
seen some tacky things in my time, but never a Christmas card telling me where I
could go to buy gifts for a 3rd baby. And the registry contains 62 "essential"
items, including a $150 breast pump. Call me old-fashioned, but shouldn't
the baby's parents be purchasing the "essentials"? TACKY, TACKY,
Page Last Updated July 30, 2007