Friday, January 22, 2010

Shower forecast

As I mentioned recently, my only sister is expecting her first child in the spring. I happily volunteered to host a baby shower, and the invitations have gone out: it's happening in a few weeks. Since my sister and brother-in-law have chosen not to find out if the baby is a boy or a girl, and since I know that, even if she did know, my sister wouldn't want to have a party that's all pink frills or blue trucks, I'm aiming for a gender-neutral celebration of new life.

With the help of my creative taller half, I settled on a bird theme, in part because I found this adorable card stock:

(Um, I thought I was being clever, using this for a baby shower. Apparently that's the intended purpose - which I discovered when I did this image search. Whatever. My grandma still thinks it's cute.)

Something my sister and I share is a tendency toward being not the girliest of girls. We're both life-long Girl Scouts. We enjoy hiking in the woods and working in dirt (though her thumb is much greener than mine) and all that stuff. We are tentatively planning to do a triathlon together (there's another post for another time). I tend to hang out with guy-friends. She works in a very male-dominated science field.

All this is to say that meditating on a traditional, all-female baby shower hosted by me for her feels a bit off. On one hand, I very much want to celebrate what my sis is doing, and I think she's going to be a terrific mom. On the other hand, baby showers can veer into the creepy with a quickness, and I do not want to do that.

One baby shower I attended last year was so exhaustingly weird that I had to spend a full day recovering from it afterward. Honestly, I felt like I had a mild case of the flu. The games were so... awful. We had to sniff disposable diapers that had been filled with melted candy bars to determine what the candy had been. This might have been tolerable if it hadn't been the FIFTH activity we were put through (Decorate a bib! Do an icebreaker! Do a forty-minute-long celebrity baby match game! Guess a name! Eat these color-coordinated cookies! Go! GO! GO!!).

It was terrible. Then, when the expectant mother cried at the end with what I perceived as genuine gratitude for all the gifts and support (and, hey, maybe exhaustion at the end of a four-hour long gamefest?), some of the women laughed at her and made a crack about hormones. Huh?

I know.

So... I want to limit this event to one or two games that can serve as icebreakers, with an emphasis on eating good food and cake and enjoying the gift-opening. I'm trying to figure out how to carry the bird theme through the prizes and favors (if those Robin's Eggs chocolates come out before this shower, I'm in business!), and I'm considering which games would work best for the crowd. There will, of course, be a mix of people ranging from my shower-wary self to the "OMG LET'S PLAY GAMES" high school friend of my sister, but if she's disappointed, it's not her shower, right?

If any of my 1.5 readers have ideas for shower games that are actually fun, or prizes I should seek out, please share! As long as I'm not snorting faux-feces, it's going to be better than at least one party... but I'd like to keep the standards a bit higher than that.


  1. It's probably not much help, but I really like games that are meant to get conversation going. I guess they aren't really game games, just the type of thing where you go around the circle and share a piece of advice, or funny story or something. It can have the risk of putting people on the spot, but ideally they can break the ice, and lead to some fun conversation.

  2. Just stumbled across your blog! I'm hosting my first baby shower soon, too--my cousin and his wife are expecting their first (surprise!) baby and I was nominated to host. Mine will be a family one and multigenerational (youngest guest will be 2, I think, and oldest 89), and I'm not sure what to do either. I've actually not been to too many myself.

    The last few showers my family threw were food-related, and no one did games. For one we did pasta making--we all made the dough together and then rolled it out and dried it and the 'favors' were the pasta, and then homemade marinara. Another time we made a Chinese food called joong. But that's kind of a different situation than your shower since we all know each other already.

    I'm thinking for mine I might do, like, baby-themed charades? Or pictionary or something? I could see it being sort of lame, but also kind of funny/a good icebreaker. When I got married and my friends had a shower for me, they did a game where they asked my husband a bunch of questions and then read me the questions and I had to guess his answers--you could maybe do something like that with your sister and brother-in-law but have them be baby-related questions? I guess the plus side of that kind of game is that it doesn't put any of the guests on the spot.

    Also, the bird theme is totally cute.

    Good luck with the planning! Let me know if you hear of any great ideas. I'm still searching too. :)

  3. Startup Wife, Thanks for stopping by! At my bridal shower a few years ago, my sister devised a hilarious version of "bridal Pictionary" that was really fun, so I know pictionary can work - but about half the people at this shower were at that shower, so I don't want to recycle games.

    The question thing, though, is a great idea... maybe I could get my brother-in-law to do that. Good ideas.

    And Genavee, you're right, I should keep that in mind - if it's a silent game or a passive game, nobody's going to chat much. I do have one idea that should get some good chatter going. Not posting it just in case sis stops by the ol' blog. :-)

  4. Mamosas! The best part of every shower!

    At a shower I co-hosted we played only one game. The family of the soon-to-be parents were unable to attend, and so we interviewed them ahead of time. The mother-to-be was asked "Whose first word was Ball?" (she or her husbands)... a trivia game about what they were like as babies.
    When I attend showers, i love when we don't play games.


Be nice, now.