I may have mentioned it in passing once or twice before, but I’m not the biggest fan of baby showers. They are nothing but an excuse to get stressed out, spend ridiculous sums of money, and wind up hanging out with people who you shouldn’t really have to impress. We went through this all when Cream Soda was about to be born, but it seems that two-and-a-half years have erased the pain from our first attempt. The morning of the shower, I swore that I would stick to my guns and not participate in any way. My wife had learned her lesson from the parties which had come before, and had wanted to avoid the pitfalls of yet another get-together. But when I woke up, she was in the kitchen with our daughter, scrambling to help get a day’s worth of work done in just a handful of hours. I insisted that I wanted nothing to do with any of it, and took a shower, put on my suit, and then tried to blend into the background. I must not have looked busy enough, though, as I was soon dragooned into service. A ten-dollar bill was shoved into my hand, and I was sent off in search of two-liter sodas and six packages of tostadadas. Sure, it meant going to the grocery store in my one good suit, but on the other hand, it got me out of the apartment.
The whirlwind pace of food preparation continued with only minor breaks for bathing, and both my daughter and wife were still going strong well after the party was set to have begun. Our rides arrived a short while later, and it took all of us to load up everything which we were taking over. We had ribs, a pasta salad, a fancy regular salad with oranges and walnuts, a fettuccine alfredo with the one thing I fear more than whole milk: shrimp. There were also party favors and balloons, and a homemade lemonade. The six of us piled into our in-laws’ cars as nothing more than an afterthought. We were running at least an hour behind schedule, and we still had to set up everything at Lupe’s house. Fortunately, the drive was short. We started unloading the vehicles, and once everything had been brought inside, the ladies began the final touches on the party decorations. Nerdenn Events and I wanted to just stay out of the way, and help by not screwing anything up. To help us in our cause, Guillermo, brother-in-law to my sister-in-law, offered both me and my son-in-law a beer.
The place was still pretty empty, so Nerdenn and I managed to stay out of harm’s way while the women were running around, engaged in quality control. They were like a force of nature, and within a handful of minutes, the whole place looked ready to withstand an all-out assault of party-goers suffering from Baby Fever. The food was ready. The decorations were arranged. There was a nice little spot for the presents to begin piling up. The only thing we needed now was for the tide of people we’d been expecting to arrive.
Soon, the usual suspects began arriving (more family, and a friend not acquainted with the guest of honor/party girl), and it was decided that we’d eat if no one showed up in a little while. I was grateful for this, because I hadn’t had a bite to eat all day. I’d been saving myself for the ribs, which were, after a brief respite for transportation, back in the oven once again. In the meantime, we sat around in little groups and made small talk with one another, while drinking what appeared to be a never-ending supply of beer. Finally, we decided that we should just sit down to eat, so we grabbed our trays and served ourselves. I grabbed a little of the fettuccine, daring a shrimp or two, and was just about to resign myself to a life without my one true love (ribs), when a worthy opponent stepped up upon the stage. It turns out that Lupe had prepared some baked barbecue chicken, which I must admit, despite being against chicken in general, was juicy and delicious. I polished off two drumsticks (and my fettuccine), priding myself on the fact that I hadn’t spilled a single thing on my fancy white dress shirt. And then I was told the next batch was ready, and this batch was also made with habanero in the sauce. I whispered a silent apology to my shirt, and snagged a couple drumsticks more.
That was the most delicious chicken I have ever eaten. I just want to make that clear. Spicy in all the right ways, with a salve of sweetness. It almost got rid of the flavor of the Tecate.
When it become obvious that no one else was coming, we got ready for the party games. I had assumed that the photographer would not be required to participate, but I would soon discover just how wrong I’d been. We started out with the “Diaper Game,” which involved smelling, and tasting, various substances which resembled newborn poop while blindfolded, and then guessing what it was that had been “sampled.”
The ladies took their turns first, while the room erupted in laughter at their discomfiture. Then it was time for the men. As a group, we were more daring, actually getting around to tasting these vile substances. When I was forced into playing, I wound up with the Mustard diaper, which I guessed immediately, and then went back to snapping pictures.
With that done, I thought I would be free, but there was yet another game involving blindfolds which we were “volunteered” to play. Mr. Events and I were sat down and blindfolded, as were our significant others, and we were spoon fed something which we were told to identify based only upon its rancid flavor. Wildflower shoved the spoon- upside down- into my mouth, spilling its noxious contents upon my beard and fancy white dress shirt, the same shirt I’d managed to keep clean in the face of barbecue. I described the flavor as peas and Satan, and screamed at my wife to quit jamming the spoon into my face. It turns out that I was close: the role of Satan was played by liquefied turkey. I haven’t eaten baby food for well over three decades, and after this experience, I’m not looking forward to my senior years. I now know why babies spit back out the majority of food spooned into their trusting mouths. Not to mention that even in their most perfect state, I cannot stand peas or turkey.
Then came the moment in the evening which I had been anxiously awaiting. The balloons were re-purposed, and shoved up under blouses, and the competition of the Baby Bump began. This time, it all appeared to be done in good spirit, and the ladies, with their inflated bellies, fell upon the guest of honor in giggles and camaraderie.
We still had some time to kill before my daughter was allowed to tear into her newly-acquired loot, so Guillermo put on some… type… of music, and the dancing officially began.
After that, it was just cake and presents, and the inevitable call for cleanup. I tried to argue that I was staying out of it, but my wife can be quite… persuasive… when she puts her mind to it. We got everything cleaned and packed away, thanked our hosts for the wonderful evening, and were driven back home. Both Wildflower and I were dead on our feet, and began to fade as soon as we crossed the threshold of our residence. The kids weren’t much further behind. We had survived another party, and maybe the stress of today would ensure that we wouldn’t have to face another for quite some time to come. We’ll see about that, though. Birthdays are coming up, and my granddaughter has yet to be born. I’d like to say that we had settled on small gatherings for family, as even the grandest of events wind up being just that, but mothers like to provide only the best for their children, so we’re not out of the woods quite yet.