Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Ball of Joy Baby Shower


When I was pregnant with Henry, Matt and I planned our own "baby shower." I put the phrase in quotes because we didn't follow any of the conventions. A) We hosted it ourselves. B) It was co-ed. C) We had it at a bowling alley. D) We didn't open presents.
I'd like to continue the tradition of hosting a pre-baby party to bring together our nearest and dearest. It's fun to congregate to honor and celebrate the new life that is about to enrich our family.
Since this baby will join us in the summer, I immediately thought about having some kind of gathering near the water. And that's when the idea hit me: Instead of painting my belly like a bowling ball like I did for Henry's party, I can paint my belly like a beach ball (it's the small things that make me smile!).
We'll be hosting it at a free public pool in Austin, so we decided to have it in the morning to avoid peek hours. Fortunately, the pool will let us bring in food, so we can provide some light snacks.
Here's what I'm thinking:
  • Fruit kabobs
  • Hummus, pita chips, and vegetables
  • Chips and homemade guacamole
  • Muffins
  • Mimosas
  • Juice & Sparkling Water
I'd also like to do something to acknowledge and thank the folks who come. Perhaps we could pass out little bags of goldfish crackers that say something like: "Thank you for coming to swim with us today! We're so glad you're in our lives. Thank you for being part of our 'school' of support."
Okay, it's a little over-the-top cheesy, but it might be cute nonetheless.



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19 comments:

Carrie said...

I hope this doesn't come across the wrong way, but how about "no gifts, please" on the invitation? I do not know anyone who has had two baby showers, especially if the second child is the same sex as the first. I LOVE your idea of having it be a welcoming party for the new baby, but I think people might feel compelled to bring a gift if it's phrased as a "baby shower", and like I said, having a second baby shower (without extenuating circumstances like many years between births, a different dad for the second child, etc.) seems odd to me. Hope my comment doesn't seem harsh--not the intention.

Rachel said...

Yeah, I'm with Carrie. Either have a charity shower (gifts go to a local women's shelter, for example) or a no gifts shower. Or don't use the word shower at all.

Aiko, Margo and JP said...

Such a cute idea! I love it all, it's just the right amount of cheesyfun in a good way.

No worries on 2nd baby showers. I've been to plenty of them. The people in your life that feel compelled to get baby a gift will do so no matter if you plead them not to, the rest of the people that you invite are likely cool people who know you well and won't take it the wrong way, as insinuated by previous commenters...

Kate said...

I agree with Carrie and Rachel. At least in my part of the country (Northeast) it's considered rude to host your own shower because it's like asking for gifts. Since you've posted about your baby registry before, I assume more people gave you gifts at the last shower than just close family.

Carrie said...

I'm in the northeast, too, Kate. Maybe it's a New Englander thing? ;)

Jen said...

I also think the word shower = gift. Now, I think your party sounds like a lot of fun, and I think you should totally get together with your friends/family before the baby arrives. But I agree with another poster who says leave out the word shower altogether.

Sara E. Cotner said...

Hi, All! I definitely don't consider your feedback harsh. I'm always open to hearing your insights. I just have trouble understanding why it's rude to host a shower for a second baby. I saved many of the cards that we received for Henry because they were so heartfelt and welcoming. For me, it felt like Henry's shower was to welcome Henry--not just to welcome Matt and me into parenthood. Since it felt very much like a way to welcome Henry, I would like to do the same thing for the second baby.

On these kinds of invitations (for birthdays, etc.), we always write something like "your presence is present enough!" My hope is that our friends who think it's unnecessary to get a gift for a second baby just won't.

Maybe it feels different because we're in a new city, so it's not like we're inviting all the same people to a shower two years later? I'm not sure...

Natalie Hinkley said...

I am not a parent or anything, but I am Hispanic and from Texas, and we all have a shower for every baby that comes along. (We probably just like excuses to eat and get together...lol) Maybe it is just a regional thing?

Blawg commenter said...

I'm in the northeast as well. The etiquette I'm used to would be that a friend or family member might host a "sprinkle" to celebrate subsequent children. (Think weather terminology--Instead of the full on shower of gifts, it's just a light sprinkle.)

Shower = a gifting event that should be thrown for you by someone

Party = a celebratory get together, gifts optional, you are the host

Bio Major said...

From the south here, and it is considered "tacky" to host your own shower and "tacky" to have a shower for any baby other than the first. (This also goes for weddings too!)

That being said, do what you want! I usually do even though I went to cotillion and learned all the "rules". I buy a present for someone if I want to even if they said no gifts, and I don't buy a present if I don't want to especially if all they've done is register for a bugaboo stroller for baby number 5. (not a joke)

Call it whatever you want. I do agree that the word shower evokes a certain obligation to purchase a gift but I think that is because we are so conditioned as a society.

BB said...

Shower means mandatory gifts. It even means you have to SEND a gift if you skip it. If you don't want gifts, don't call it a shower, or put no gifts. You'll get some gifts anyway.

If you do want gifts, it's your life, but I am Southern and would consider this very tacky with two closely spaced babies, unless you were really in need, which you aren't.

Erin Curran said...

I think the arrival of every baby should be celebrated, which it sounds like is what you are doing. Calling it a shower seems to be what is confusing some people, but you know best what will make the most sense to your friends and family. Enjoy!

Sara E. Cotner said...

Hi, BB. I just don't subscribe to the kind of rules you're laying out. I understand that it is convention and tradition to bring/send a gift for a "shower" and that it's "tacky" to host your own shower, and that it's "tacky" to have a "shower" for a second baby, but none of us needs to be shackled to convention/tradition unless we want to. I completely understand that by choosing not to follow "the rules" I will be judged as "tacky." I'm okay with that.

I just received an invitation to a brunch for a mama friend who is pregnant for the second time. The invitation explicitly said "no gifts." Well, I want to bring her a gift, so I'm going to. I found her registry on Amazon. She had lots of things on there that were actually for her two year-old rather than the new baby. I didn't judge her for being "tacky;" I simply opted to buy something that I knew would be used explicitly with the newborn. That's what felt right to me.

I tell this story as a way of illustrating what I'm trying to explain; we should each do what makes sense to us and have some generosity of spirit when it comes to understanding that other people won't necessarily do it the way we would do it.

Our Little Beehive said...

It's taken a lot of restraint not to throw showers for my girlfriends who have had 2nd babies, so I totally get where you're coming from. I LOVE showers! But, have you considered hosting at the end of summer and calling it a welcoming party so your guests can come out and meet the new baby? It seems like a way to get around seeming like just asking for gifts with a "shower." You'll still get the meaningful cards and well wishes, etc. that I said mean the most to you. Just a thought!

Our Little Beehive said...

Re-reading my comment...could I possibly have made more grammatical errors?!?

Prettylittlemess said...

A little late to the conversation, but I was wondering if you would be willing to share your friends' thoughts on this "self-hosted" shower situation? I did not have a wedding shower because there was no one close to me that wasn't a relative to host it. I'm equal parts NE and Southern bred, and the lack of shower was because my mother didn't have any close non-family female friends to host. I was fine with that, and never thought about taking it into my own hands.

But you talk about community a lot Sara. What does your community want to do for you at this special time in your life? I know you have said you want to take the burden off of your friends from hosting a party, but it does then shift the "tacky" label onto you as you and BB address above. Which brings me to my question, what do your friends think? Would they have liked to host a party for you? Do they think this is tacky?

Steffi Langston said...

Sara - I simply love you, your blog, and your ideals! I was married last year and pretty much followed your 2000 dollar wedding structure to a "T"!! Now, although we are not planning on starting a family anytime soon, I LOVE reading about your experiences! As a fellow minimalist, I find that some people cannot "wrap their head around" going against the grain and living your life the way you want to, and makes sense to you, rather than what you're "supposed" to do. You are truly inspiring.

Sara E. Cotner said...

Hi, Prettylittlmess! I don't spend a lot of time worrying about what my friends will consider "tacky." My hope is that if they want to come, they will. If they don't want to come because they think it's tacky to throw a party to celebrate your own baby, then they won't. For those that choose to come, I hope they can decide for themselves whether or not they want to bring a gift. They should feel free to do what they want!

Carrie said...

This article was posted on a FB group of which I'm a part, and I thought you might like to read it:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/09/fashion/celebrating-a-new-baby-but-modestly.html?_r=1&

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