Miss(ed) Manners

September 27, 2007

Ask Dave! Vol. 14

Filed under: Ask Dave — missedmanners @ 2:31 pm

Dear Dave:

What is the proper amout of baby showers one should be given? Is it just for the first baby? I do not want to impose on people since my daughter’s last baby was only two years ago.

Oh baby!


This question might as well be about String Theory. If there’s one thing I know less about than theoretical physics, it’s babies.

As I’ve been getting older I’ve noticed that my friends have started making these little copies of themselves, called babies. Apparently they grow up into actual people. Consider my surprise when my previously held belief that humans are spawned in little vats like in The Matrix was shattered. I actually said, “Woah.”

My complete novice-ness in this particular area may actually be of some help to you as it may translate into a bit of objectivity. Did you know that objectivity and babies are considered antonyms in the Oxford English Dictionary? Apparently, when you have a baby, or, if you’ve got a vagina, you lose all ability for rational objective thought when one is in proximity. So it’s either baby or objectivity. Fortunately for you, I’ve got a diaper full of the latter.

Now, according to my extensive research, the whole point of a baby shower is for the friends and family of a mother to be to “shower” her with gifts that will help her raise the child. I’ve got a pretty well documented stance on parties created solely for gift giving. In general they’re just exercises in equating emotion with monetary value.

However, in this case, I’m much more lenient as the gifts are intended to help raise the child. What more noble deed is there than picking up a Baby Einstein mobile for the expected son of two mildly stupid parents in hopes that it will be your gift that wrests him from a child of mediocrity. Surely he’ll call you after he gets his Laureate and thank you for instilling black and white patterns on him at such a young age.

To sum up, baby showers = good.

But, multiple baby showers?

This is usually where it gets a little tricky and it can definitely seem a little like you’re asking for baby tribute, “All hail our fertility. We demand plush toys!”

If you look at it logically, there really isn’t any need for a second child baby shower. The whole point of the first one was to help you get all the tools that you need to raise a child. Which you’ve already got, because the first baby is already being raised. Therefore, you really should not need anything else because you could probably just use that same genius making mobile for Kid #2.

Now don’t start crying about middle child syndrome or trying to create an equal atmosphere of love for all your children. I’m the second child in my family and I spent my first 18 years wearing my big brother’s clothes and using his toys. Did it mean I was less loved because my mom and dad didn’t have a tea party to shill for new baby stuff? Nope. It’s just stuff.

I’m not saying that you should absolutely not have one. You’ve also got to gauge your audience. Most likely if your daughters friends are other mothers with their own kids to worry about, they’ll probably see the multiple baby shower as being slightly self important.

But if she rolls with a big crowd of single, unwed ladies, or a gaggle of bridge playing grandmas, hop on that baby toy gravy train. The only thing that single girls and grandmas love more than babies, are babies that aren’t their responsibility. They’ll do anything to quell that thundering biological clock, or that pang of nostalgia. So why not make that anything equate directly into a dope set of DUPLO building blocks?

Cash in, I say.



  1. I am happily childless and perpetually perplexed by the American fixation on the fetus. They make the world revolve around the pregnant woman, the woman who can’t get pregnant, the baby or better still-special babies like twins and triplets. Fertility-schmertility. And all the whining about child-birth. Women all over the world are in the news because they just go into a bathroom and pop the kid out in the toilet claiming they never knew they were pregnant or they just pop it out in the car driving along the highway – how difficult can it be???

    These people in the inquiry at hand got all the necessary crap with the first child and should be perfectly able to use it again. Unless they just trashed the hell out of it, in which case they don’t deserve the generosity. Now, if the daughter lives in New Orleans and all her belongings were washed away with Katrina, then maybe…if they had no insurance.

    It is just a cheap-assed grab for stuff taking advantage of the fools that go gaga for a baby. Well, as I think of it, there is a fool born every minute and if they are going to be soon parted from their money, why not give it up for an unwanted child.

    Comment by Wilhamena — September 27, 2007 @ 2:58 pm | Reply

  2. I have a vagina and do not go crazy for babies. I do though have way too many friends with babies so know something about the expense of having one.

    With a first baby, there are all these freaking baby accoutrements like car seats, cribs, changing tables, strollers, and half these things you would think were designed by N.A.S.A. based on what they cost — all based on government regulations these days saying what it is safe and is not safe to stick a baby in. [The government is not big on baby blender jokes.]

    That is the first baby and the expense is astronomical and that is just the accoutrements, not the medical bills or work loss. With a second baby, the big stuff is covered, it has been purchased — unless a new regulation has passed between births outdating and outlawing your car seat, stoller, and crib.

    There are however things which cannot be re-used. Babies are spit factories. They spit all day long. To even cope with the whole baby spitting phenom, you have to carry around an army sized pack of baby spit rags. And that does not save clothes. Take a look at the blouses a childless woman wears next to the blouses a woman with an infant wears. There is a reason the woman with the infant is wearing a cheap cotton easily bleachable Target knock off next to her counterpart’s elegant little Betsy Johnson midriff. In the next five minutes, the woman with the infant is going to be wearing a spume of baby drool and or milky baby vomit on her shirt and if it won’t bleach out, the shirt is history.

    [I am not even going to address diapers I have not had dinner yet.]

    Those baby rags are all going to have to be new. The ones the mother to be got at the first baby party did not even last through the first baby’s first six months.

    Diapers? One of the nicest presents on planet earth is a diaper service for the first year. That does not last through the first baby either.

    Baby clothes? Remember all that baby spit? Not all those cute little outfits the first baby got are even still alive let alone salvagable.

    Baby toys? Do you know the mortality rate of baby toys? If a few blocks and rattles have survived, good on you, but they all did not make it for sure. Bottles? After all those boilings? How many of them are still alive? How about their rubber seals and nipples? Breast pump? Really wanna pull that baby out of storage and give it another test run? Did it even make it through the first pregnancy? Baby wipes? Those little bastards went the first month on baby #1. Baby bag? The first one or the fifth one that busted a strap and a zipper during baby #1’s introduction to the world?

    Baby showers are a nice gesture, and also one that, for young families starting out, was pretty necessary, just like the barn raisings, house warmings and bridal showers of old were. A new couple could not put a barn up alone, go out and purchase an entire household of supplies alone, or, starting a new life together, exactly afford all the necessities to start a household out. That is why the traditions exist [which predate over glamorized parties for wealthy lawyers merging their assets and codomimium farms while other lawyers wrestle over prenup agreements, ahem].

    And, with babies, though the first baby may have covered some of the biggies like strollers and car seats from N.A.S.A., the second shower still has its place. It is helping a new mother prepare for a newborn, and if you’ve ever watched an expectant mother to be blow chunks, you know a little help is a nice thing during those nine months of recurring morning sickness, swollen ankles, and growing immobility during which maybe you are stretched a little thin going in and cannot go out and shop like a guru for spit rags, diapers, rattles, formula, baby wipes, baby shampoo, baby bottles, sterilizers, formula, extra towels, matress covers and pads, diapers, etc.

    [Gee, this is sort of why I am not gaga for babies, I know too much about this stuff, urk.]

    Comment by max — September 27, 2007 @ 9:33 pm | Reply

  3. WOW

    Hahaha. Max, I’m just passing all lady questions on to you from now on.

    Comment by missedmanners — September 28, 2007 @ 12:28 pm | Reply

  4. Let this mama roll;

    I am a happy mother of a 4 1/2 month old. First let me say that I had 2 baby showers and a baby “party”; we will get to that in just a minute.

    Ok, my stomach churned at the thought of having a baby shower, much less one planned by Grandpa. WHY? Well, even though we went the Jack & Jill route I didn’t want or desire to be the center of attention to the members of both our families. Hello. I was 7 months pregnant when our first shower occurred, I didn’t want to feel burdened with social butterfly syndrome and the need to mingle party style and see, hug, and visit each and every guest. IK! Thats enough to give one morning sickness, pregnant or not.

    Secondly, though I dreaded the event it was nice, small, and convenient. We got SOME things we needed even though we told people where we were registered. I always told myself I would never be one of those registry people but once we discovered that we were expecting there were certain things that I wanted to be a certain way; so, I gave in and WE created a few. Not that people really followed it. I’d still say our registry is half open to any takers.

    Third… Why 3 baby showers? My loving partner, Skot, and myself decided to be traditional about this whole deal. We decided NOT to find out the baby’s gender. My mother and about half of my family thought this was absolutely ridiculous. Yes, my own crazy mother… I almost felt like some of these people were trying to guilt us enough about OUR decision just to find out the sex for their own personal gratification. WTF? Anyhow, that decision resulted in our “baby party”. My mother, and 3 aunts held a Jack & Jill shower/party for us when our SON was 3 months old. Though I was thou thoroughly disgruntled by the idea it actually turned out being rather nice. I wasn’t all pregnant and bitchy, plus we got a lot of things geared towards an older infant as opposed to a newborn. Our son fit into 0-3m/newborn clothes for about a week, so we were kinda screwed there. Anyhow overall it was a nice experience.

    Our second shower which took place between shower #1 and the baby party was attended only by me as it was given at my place of work. This was really nice. It was well planned and organized and they kept it short at sweet as they didn’t want to over do or stimulate the pregnant lady. This event occurred when I was about 8 1/2 months. It was nice as we didn’t really get too much crap there. We got lots of diapers, wipes, and organization items… The outfits we got were cute, and unisex, and we got several gift cards which was nice so we could purchase what we wished. With the gift cards we actually ended up saving them till our son was about 2 months old and went on a baby spree.

    While I highly support what Max says about the mother with the spit up stained blouse and sour smelling attire I do for some reason feel the need to defend myself here.

    I know the exact woman that you are describing, I work with many of them. These are the women who scowl at me in disbelief when I tell them that motherhood is treating me wonderfully; that my son sleeps through the night more often than he is awake, is far from colicky, self entertains very well, and is all around a joy with minimal spit up, diaper blow outs, and etc.

    Comment by Cora — September 28, 2007 @ 12:55 pm | Reply

  5. Oops.

    Comment by max — September 29, 2007 @ 12:18 am | Reply

  6. 😆

    I’ve definitely waded into alien territory.

    “Hey, penis, leave this to people who know what they’re talking about!”


    I’m going to go back to writing about booze, porn and hockey or something.

    Comment by missedmanners — September 29, 2007 @ 11:05 am | Reply

  7. Two of my siblings have kids–and my brother has 2 sons, so we went through this with his wife. My mom wanted to throw her another shower, but she didn’t really want one. Since she was having another boy, he was going to be able to (and does) use all the shit that the first one used. So we compromised, and instead of having a second shower, we threw my sister-in-law a nice party and if people wanted to get her something, we asked them to donate some money to a charity of the mom-to-be’s choice. They didn’t really need anything, so why load them down with a bunch of shit?

    So, short answer is, in my opinion, that if the second child is the same sex as the first one, just throw a party. If it’s not, then you’re gonna need new clothes and maybe some new toys, so throw a shower.

    Comment by Kate — October 8, 2007 @ 10:58 am | Reply

  8. […] Get the entire post from here. […]

    Pingback by Baby Names » Ask Dave! Vol. 14 Miss(ed) Manners — March 7, 2008 @ 6:05 pm | Reply

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