Saturday, July 22, 2006

Gifts for my baby

Friday, July 21:

I am driving to my baby shower in the rain. The tea room where my sister-in-law Sabee is having the party is a half-hour away, so I have lots of time to think about how my hair is limp and greasy from a deep condition gone wrong the night before, followed by not getting any sleep, then how my white maternity pants are feeling a little too tight and how I wish a friend were coming to this shower. Oh, and then there's the obsessive thoughts over how I haven't felt the baby move much the past day. Then traffic creeps to a crawl, and I feel overwhelmed and not much like a party at all.

But I'm determined to be at my best for the shower, for everyone else's sake -- mostly because I feel guilty over not wanting to have this last-minute shower in the first place.

The tea room is charming in a shabby chic kind of way. Topiary and garden murals are painted on the walls. Lamps with tiny little shades are on the tables. Cute English/country everything. Everyone is already there -- all three of them: Sabee, JP's mom MM and MM's close friend. Another family member was coming but called to say she had to take a friend to the doctor.

We're the only people in the place for at least an hour, so it seems strangely quiet. I was worried the others would ask me, tireless interrogation style, all about the baby and the pregnancy and possibly even some questions I don't want to answer about plans JP and I have for our little person. But instead, the three of them talk about other people they know but I don't know, and I wonder which kind of conversation is worse. I almost want to say, "Hey! If this is really my shower, clue me in!" But I just sit there like an invisible, pregnant lump until MM tries to talk to me about someone named Martha, which gives me the chance to remind her I don't even know who this Martha person is. Most of the conversation has nothing to do with the baby or me. Everyone is pleasant, but no one seems to be having fun.

We're celebrating a new life here, ladies!

The food is excellent and served in courses (it's not High Tea, but lunch), and we end up discussing what could possibly be in the food and what things we all have cooked lately (MM: peach pie; me: chicken and dumplings). The genteel English server tells us about the new owners, who are from Switzerland and speak French, and MM insists I get the chance to meet them because I speak fluent French. I protest that I really don't speak fluent French and get that stage-fright feeling.

(Later, the chef and his wife do come out, and I do end up speaking with them in French a little bit. But mostly, thank goodness, it's in English. One little weird fact about me is my mother is French Canadian -- I know, not at all like the Swiss French -- and my father was, well, hillbilly. Go figure how that happened.)

When other customers begin to arrive and it's time to open the gifts, I think everyone gets more relaxed. We can focus on the cute little baby things. There are lots of receiving blankets (Why aren't they simply called blankets?) and onesies. Sabee gives us a tub, rubber ducky and some nice bath-related things. And she sends me home with several balloons.

The shower was nice, and I'm grateful for the gifts and well wishes. Besides those gifts and well wishes, though, I also take away the knowledge that I need to be more, I don't know, present, in these kinds of situations. If I had been more of myself at the shower, maybe I wouldn't have felt as uncomfortable as I was. But instead I tried to match my mood to the others'. If I am in a similar situation in the future with my baby, I want to be more there and be the person my baby will be used to me being, as we are at home -- not get weirded out in awkward social situations.

That will be one useful gift I can give to my baby.


Blogger h&b said...

I found having a baby relaxed me socially a lot.

Besides, any awkward pause is immediately filled by people coo'ing over and loving your baby. Certainly takes the pressure off :)

5:32 AM  
Blogger Mega Mom said...

I definitely agree with h&b. My husband uses the kids to maintain his distance in awkward social situations. It only works when they're awake though!

7:03 AM  

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