This coming weekend I am co-hosting a baby shower for one of my dearest friends. I love the idea of throwing parties. I start looking at beautifully styled parties on the Internet and planning how I’ll make pompoms out of tissue paper and suspend them above a table laden with colour co-ordinated iced biscuits in the shape of prams, and I’ll make a cute but tasteful sign – that somehow looks both homemade and professional – from circles of cardboard spelling out ‘Welcome Baby!’, which I’ll string together on a ribbon, and all the guests will have blowdried hair and we’ll all look effortlessly chic and casual but fabulous. Our drinks will have old-fashioned stripey straws in them.
But the more I look at those kinds of sites the more I realise that I have neither the time, skills nor the inclination for such craftiness, and that quite frankly, those kind of parties make me feel a little bit sick to look at. Like I have only eaten fairy floss all day.
Anyway, the woman who is being showered is not the fussy type. She claims that all she wants is for me to come visit (she lives in Darkest Rural Victoria) and make gougeres, which are fancy cheese puffs. Essentially they are eclairs, minus the custard and icing, with gruyere cheese mixed in before baking. I think I can manage that.
What she also needs, although she might not realise it yet, is for me to say only wonderful and encouraging things about what lies ahead for her. I am a firm believer that there is NO POINT scaring pregnant women. There are two reasons for this.
Firstly, nothing anyone else says can hold a candle to the horrific scenarios a hormonal mind can dream up at three in the morning during the last few weeks of pregnancy. You can ‘Ooh, better go out to dinner now, your life won’t be your own’ until the cows come home, and she will grit her teeth and smile, all the while thinking ‘Out to dinner? As if. I’ll be CRIPPLED FOR LIFE by childbirth, and my baby will have the wrong number of eyes, and what if it’s covered in hair? What if its EYES are covered in HAIR?’
Secondly, if she has somehow managed to avoid the Hormones of Doom, then nothing a parent can tell a pregnant woman will sink in anyway, because it’s all so utterly improbable and it sounds like you are exaggerating when you say your baby woke up every twenty minutes for four days straight, or that it breastfed for three hours without stopping once when it was a few weeks old, or that if anyone were to look at the browsing history on your computer for the last year it would read something like this:
Why won’t my one-week-old baby sleep?
Why won’t my two-week-old baby sleep?
Growth spurt, three weeks?
Can three-week-old babies sleep too much?
Month old baby, overheating
Correct sleeping temperature for two-month-old baby
Why won’t my two-month-old baby sleep?
Three months teething?
How long does jetlag last in a four-month-old baby?
Normal amount of sleep per day, five months old
Catnapping babies, developmental delays?
Save Our Sleep
Breastfeeding to sleep, bad?
Why won’t my six-month-old baby sleep?
Why won’t my seven-month-old baby sleep?
All babies sleep eventually, don’t they?
Seriously, if my friend told me they had googled all those things, I would tell them to get their head read. Fortunately, the mother-to-be of honour this weekend will just kiss my baby, ask me to make her some more fancy cheese puffs and go back to washing and folding adorable tiny socks. Because she is eminently more sensible than I am and she will be a splendid mother.