Pregnancy

Baby Shower Games: Fun Tradition or Practically Torture?

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Recently, a friend of mine was lamenting her weekend plans. She had to attend a cousin’s baby shower. For her, these types of events are about as fun as her yearly visit to the OB. She just never gets in to the whole “shower” thing. Apparently, she’s not alone there. Given her aversion to baby showers, she has been steadily avoiding them for years. Unfortunately, her mother refused to allow her to skip this one. So she’s stuck and dreading hours sitting in a folding chair drinking sherbet punch and watching people coo over rubber duckies.

“Just wait until you get to the games…” I chimed in. “What? What games? Wait, what are you talking about?” She was panicked. Obviously, it had been a while since she attended one of these things. “You’re going to have to guess how big around the mom-to-be is or try to chug milk from a baby bottle. They’ll pass around diapers with melted chocolate resembling gross baby poop and you’ll have to guess what the candy bar was.” I could see her face getting steadily more pale as I went in to detail about all those traditional and random baby shower games that just never seem to retire.

My friend, who I consider to be a fun, intelligent woman, looked shocked at these shower stand-bys. “Why on earth would grown women was to sit around playing these games,” she asked me. “Um, I guess it’s just a tradition,” I volunteered. Honestly, I don’t have many compliments to describe shower games besides, “It’s what people have always done.”

Showers, in general, don’t inspire the most awe or excitement unless you’re the person getting the gifts. That might sound crass, but I was a soon-to-be single mother when I had my first daughter and I can admit that all those presents helped me our tremendously. I would never have been able to afford so many toys, blankets and bouncers without my friends’ and family’s support, which came in the form of a shower.

Aside from the gift-giving, women normally enjoy a chance to get together and talk. Babies provide a universally adorable subject of conversation that most women feel comfortable chiming in on, even if you don’t have kids of your own. There’s always cake to get excited about. Yay for cake! But the games… well… they just seem to fill the time. Oh, and they give people a reason to hand out Yankee Candles to random guests.

Recently, my sister-in-laws and I were throwing a bridal shower. The bride had one simple request for her party, no games. She was very adamant. My sisters didn’t know what we were going to do if the shower didn’t have games! They considered it blasphemous. And yet, no one missed making the bride answer awkward questions about her relationship or trading safety pins whenever someone mentioned the groom’s name.

I’m not one to complain about showers. I think they’re sweet and always well-intentioned. It’s nice to get together and honor a loved one, whether it’s their birthday or because they’re popping out a baby soon. And I don’t imagine that I’ll ever turn up my nose at a shower game and pretend to be above digging for random items in my purse that start with the letter “L” for “Love.” But I’m starting to realize that I might be in the minority. Maybe shower games are finally going to have to start pulling their weight at these events before they get kicked to the curb with all that wasted tissue paper.

What do you think? Games at baby showers: awesome or awful?