Tag Archives: baby showers

Hoarders on a Road Trip

Indulge me for a second, if you will. I want you to close your eyes and picture the following:

You’re driving down the Interstate, minding your own business. Perhaps you’re heading home after a long day of work or maybe you’re picking your kid up from soccer practice. Or it could even be that you’re on your way to dinner reservations with your in-laws, which you’re dreading because Phil always has too much to drink and then plays his favorite game of “Insult His Daughter’s Husband Until It’s Time for Dessert,” after which you will go home and get in a huge fight with your wife because she never stands up for you, oh no, she could never stand up to her ultra-macho, conservative father. No one stands up to Phil. Phil fought in the war, for crying out loud. And what have you done with your life, Shirley? He calls you Shirley. Just another way for him to emasculate you. Ugh. Phil. You hate Phil. So much.

Or whatever. I don’t know. I don’t know your life.

But the point is, you’re driving down the Interstate.

When all of a sudden you pass a tin can painted red that is disguised as a car (a Hyundai Accent, to be exact). Upon closer inspection of this “car,” you see the following:

Road trip 1

And for a second, all your troubles are forgotten since you can’t help but ask yourself “What the hell is going on in there?”

Well, let me tell you what the hell is going on in there. This past weekend, a man, a 7-months-pregnant woman and a neurotic dog with abandonment issues all thought it would be a great idea to take a 14-hour road trip to Ohio.

And it technically was a great idea.

In theory.

Where things went horribly, horribly wrong was on the way back.

See, the reason for the trip was so that the couple could have a baby shower with the majority of their family and friends. And granted, I’ve written in the past about how much I hate baby showers but let me tell you, it’s a whole new world when it’s being thrown in your honor. Turns out it’s just like having a birthday party, the only difference being that getting drunk, making out with someone and then crying on the bathroom floor about how old you are is generally frowned upon at the baby shower.

Now, they say it takes a village to raise a children. I don’t know if that’s true but I do know that it takes a village to afford one. And our village was EXTREMELY generous (big shout-out due here to all the future grandparents, great aunts and my 52 female cousins). This kid will truly never want for anything for at least the first year of his life (wanting a mom that doesn’t sing “Close To You” off-key before he goes to bed every night notwithstanding).

And we couldn’t be more grateful to everyone who came. However, it left us with the following dilemma:

Road trip 4

Luckily, all those years of my husband blowing off doing anything productive and eschewing socialization with actual humans to play Tetris instead paid off. He managed to get it ALL in there. Well, almost all. At one point, there was a fear of damaging the structural integrity of the car so he had to stop.

However, this meant we had to drive over 800 miles with a dog sharing the passenger seat, limited visibility out of all windows and boxes hitting the back of our heads even though the seats were pushed up as far as they could go (which was SUPER fun for the 6’2″ daddy to be).

And even that wouldn’t have been that bad if it weren’t for the fact that I am not the world’s greatest driver (for documented proof, click here or here or here) and that it had snowed the night before (Weather: If you don’t like it, you are probably in Ohio). For example, here is a fairly accurate representation of the construction we encountered (Construction: If you are dealing with it, you are probably in Ohio) within 30 minutes of leaving:

Road trip 2

No big deal, right? All I had to do was follow the signs for “Thru Traffic” since we were going, duh, “thru” the area and weren’t getting off of an exit for the next 200 miles.

But at 5 a.m. in the dark on snowy and icy roads with no caffeine in my system, this is what I saw:

Road trip 3

So I panicked and we spent the next 30 minutes trying to find the Interstate again from back country roads that had their very own banjo soundtrack.

Somehow we did it though. We made it back to Boston in one piece. Even the baby, who was squished for no less than 400 miles by a highly excitable dog. And on the plus side, I now have a new sympathy for hoarders.

I’m just dreading finding all those dead cats once I finally build up the stamina to put together the nursery.

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How to register for baby gifts

Step 1: Get knocked up.

Baby registryBaby registry 0

Step 2: Realize your house is a baby death trap.

Baby registry 2

Step 3: Try to stop self from screaming “YES!!!” when mother offers to throw you baby shower.

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Step 4: Begin immediately fielding calls from everyone you’ve ever met asking if you’ve registered yet.

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Step 5: Mention to your husband in passing that you should really register soon.

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Step 6: Half-heartedly attempt to register one night but get distracted by Dawson’s Creek marathon on Netflix.

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Step 7: Finally sit down to register after death threat from cousin.

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Step 8: Begin reading the product reviews.

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Step 9: Stop reading product reviews when blood starts spurting from your eyes.

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Step 10: Say screw it and start picking things based solely on color and how many adorable dancing giraffes it features. Then eat an entire bag of Cheetos and take a nap. You’ve earned it.

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Thanks for nuthin,’ technology

There are a lot of downsides to moving far away from friends and family to make it “big” in the big city (or in my case, make it “small-medium-ish” in the big city).

But one of the upsides is that you ALWAYS have the ultimate excuse to get out of undesirable social events, such as the lesser holidays, weddings of second/third cousins, high school reunions, the “Let’s help Bob and Sue move across town!” scenarios and, most importantly, showers, both of the wedding and baby variety.

But now, thanks to technology, that convenient trump card has swiftly become obsolete. To wit: This past Saturday I, while hanging out at my house in Boston, attended a baby shower for a couple who lives in Branson that was thrown by a group of our mutual friends from Texas.

Thanks a lot, Steve Jobs (or whoever is the Steve Jobs equivalent over at Google+). No, really.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. It really was great getting to see them all again, or at least the tiny, overly pixellated versions of who I suspect was them (Thanks to my 1998 computer software, I could have been participating in an amateur porno convention online for all I know. The dialogue would have probably been the same. We’re a super classy bunch).

And it was an incredibly thoughtful and sweet gesture by a group of people I’m proud to call my friends. The problem is simply that I’ve never really been one of those people who enjoys baby showers. In fact, I even wrote a column a few years back (which I have conveniently re-posted below for your reading pleasure) about my dread of these events.

This was compounded by the fact I couldn’t really communicate with anyone since my crappy computer had an approximate 17-minute microphone delay:

“So, Aprill, how’s Boston?”

“Can you guys hear me?”

“Yes.”

“Guys?”

“We can hear you, Aprill.”

“GUYS!?!”

“Aprill? Can you hear us?”

(15 more minutes like this)

“Oh, Boston’s great! I love it.”

And lest you start to think what a horrible friend I am (which I may deserve but for far more devious reasons than this), let me just add that I am super excited for Trysta and Steve and their soon-to-be-born unholy spawn baby and know they are going to be wonderful parents (Oh, and P.S. guys, your gift should be in the mail soon…at the latest, you should get it before she goes off to college).

30 Women & A Baby

As much as we like to think equality between the sexes has come a long way, baby, there is still one giant gap that exists between men and women. Alas, pending some major medical breakthrough, I don’t foresee this gap ever being bridged.

Yes, it’s sad but it’s true. In a recent study it was found that 99.9 percent of all babies come from women.

I know, I know. You’d think that since we’ve put three women on the Supreme Court, we could get at least a few men knocked up, but apparently the medical community is much too busy with other stuff, like curing cancer and finding new poisons to inject into our faces to combat wrinkles.

To be honest, I’m actually all right with the fact that my gender is shouldering this burden alone (or miracle, for those of you who are more of the “glass is half full” mind-set).

But what I am not all right with is that this biological difference gives men another Get Out of Jail Free card. Despite the fact that it takes two to make a baby, women are the only ones who are required to attend the dreaded (insert dramatic music here) baby shower.

Oh sure, maybe not all women hate baby showers. I once read a study that said one leader will emerge out of every group of 20 people. I have a feeling those numbers also apply to the amount of women who actually enjoy the finger sandwiches, uncomfortable small talk and swapping of horrific birth stories that make up your standard baby shower. As for the rest of us…well, dental surgery is an apt comparison.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love babies. I love holding babies. I love smelling babies. I love handing babies back to their mothers when they start crying.

I also love mothers. I fully believe they deserve all the rights and privileges as the rest of us. In fact, some of my best friends are mothers.

So the problem with baby showers is not in the actual act of celebrating the mother-to-be and the brand new life she is carrying. That is a wonderful thing and should be celebrated. No, the problem lies in the mechanics of the event.

See, a baby shower is essentially when you thrust together a group of women who have nothing in common other than knowing a pregnant female and then give them nothing to do for a couple of hours other than to watch this chick open presents and drink punch (which doesn’t contain even a trace of booze).

For you men out there reading this (all two of you who actually made it to this point before you flipped over to the sports section) and have no idea what I’m talking about, let me give you an inside glimpse at what you get to skip out on.

You ring a doorbell and are greeted by a perky woman whom you’ve never met. As you’re shuffled inside, you look around and see a bunch of women of all ages clustered in small groups of two or three, all of whom you’ve also never met. You stand there awkwardly until eventually some brave soul, usually propelled by the fact that they can’t stand the awkwardness anymore, will leave her cluster and strike up a conversation with you. Now if you’re both mothers, this tends to go well, since you can swap war stories about the time little Johnny got a toy army man stuck up his nose or the time little Aprill felt the need to announce to her entire second grade class that Santa Claus doesn’t exist, thus causing a mini-riot at Hardin Elementary (true story).

However, if you are a woman of child-bearing age sans kids such as myself, the resulting encounter typically goes something like this:

Random Woman: “Hi.”

You: “Hello.”

Random Woman: “So, how do you know the mother-to-be?”

You: “I’m her second cousin. And you?”

Random Woman: “Her dentist’s niece.”

You: “Ah.”

Random Woman: “Yeah.”

You: “So, great potato salad, eh?”

Random Woman: “Oh yes, it’s delicious.”

You: “Yeah.”

At this point, one of you will generally make some lame excuse to get out of the conversation, such as, “Oh, I think that’s my child on fire…will you excuse me?” This goes on for about an hour and then, just to add to the awkwardness, you will all be forced to play awkward baby-themed games with each other. These generally consist of smelling chocolate that’s been smeared on a diaper (fellas, I’m not even kidding about that).

Then finally, FINALLY, it’s time for the mother to open presents. This is the best part because now all you have to do to “ooh” and “ahh” over tiny baby outfits, many of them involving a hat intended to make the infant look like a tiny bear or dog.

Then at last, like a drowning man coming up for air, the last present is unwrapped and you are now free to leave. Just be careful not to trample grandma in your madcap rush to the door.

So gentleman, take it from me. Rejoice in your freedom from this barbaric tradition. And the next time your significant other returns from one of these things, be kind and give her the only known cure for the post-baby shower hangover: A glass of wine the size of her head.