Metro Mama & Metro Baby

By Missye K. Clarke

You’re past the pee-stick test, the morning sickness and (depending on the outfit you’ve selected) jokingly compare yourself to the fruit du jour. (Having been pregnant with my now teen daughter, Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory’s Violet Beauregarde wasn’t the only one resembling a human blueberry). Right about now, you can’t see your feet, can’t get up from a deep, cushy chair and are contemplating charging the baby pre-term rent.

Surprise! A baby shower just for you – and guess what? You’re the Queen!

At,, a virtual cornucopia of baby shower everything awaits the planners. One of the biggest snags in planning a shower for the expectant parents: not anticipating the other men in attendance may be bored. To offset this miss, plan a couples or girls only party with games that aren’t hokey for the expectant pair. One interesting route an expectant couple in New Jersey took for their shower: they and their guests played mystery dinner theatre as they dined. Another couple set off a room for the men to watch ESPN or play Texas Hold’em in the den. The logic: Don’t expect the men to hang around of they don’t want to. Baby showers aren’t usually on a fella’s to-do list.

Hit: Location, location, location. If this is a surprise shower, pick a place big enough for the gifts, guests and plenty of ventilation. A spacious backyard is ideal as is a hall and more inexpensive. (If smokers are among the guests, they can smoke in the yard freely whereas in a hall, that’s half the guests that will be outdoors during the festivities.)

Hit: And, in planning, make sure some of the guests get essential gifts. It’s a tad awkward when three Diaper Genies arrive at the party. Assign someone to purchase essential gifts: the first month’s diaper and wipes supply is always a crowd pleaser (and you can get them jealous in secret they didn’t think of that, first). The exhausted parents will thank you for this, and, no one else will likely copy your idea.

Miss: The guest bathroom. You know what I’m talking about. Since that bathroom will have heavier use than usual, planning ahead is crucial. This room should be pristine, stocked with scented soaps, nice guest towels, plenty of toilet paper – and an adult height latch lock instead of the doorknob kind. Little ones under 5 can’t lock themselves in the loo this way.

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Hit: Personalized baby blocks of the date, the baby’s name and couple’s name on them, and, when emptied, the 2″ square blocks can be filled with diaper pins, spare change, M & Ms, jelly beans, or whatever you like. These and other unusual baby favors can be purchased at

Hit: Cute baby shower games, especially if little ones are there. Try these games from Baby Bingo, Diaper Surprise (the one with the dirty package wins, but it’s just mustard, not to fret), Baby Trivia, (when will baby give its first smile, how many stinky-poo diapers will they go through in a month, when will the baby’s eye color change, and other interesting baby factoids), the Personalized Baby Block Game (played like a lottery drawing game with cute of win or lose sayings) or the Don’t Say Mommy’s Name! game. The object here is to not say the mommy-to-be’s name and if one does, that person takes the pre-dispensed toy pacifier to form a binky chain. The one with the most binkies, wins. And, please, planners, give out cool prizes – a $10 Starbucks giftcard, a free massage for a half hour, or a $20 DVD credit for NetFlix. Budget accordingly, but don’t venture in the orbit of Cheapskate Galaxy.

Miss: Just pink and blue themes for the showers. Get creative., has many party favors and decorations to do themes not just in Minnie pink or Mickey blue. My favorite: Garden Party theme. This is great for a backyard Saturday shower, the colors are in purple, red, green and white. Potted flower candles – a new life is blooming – and pastel centerpiece roses are but two of the decoration ideas on the garden theme on the website. Flutterby, L’il Ladybug, and A Baby is Brewing Tea party showers are very sweet if the baby’s a girl. For sons to be, a Noah’s Ark/Safari shower, Ahoy, It’s A Boy! Sailboat theme or a Little Buckaroo/Cowboy baby shower decorations work well, too.

Hit: While you, the Shower Planner, want this time for the expectant couple to be a very happy and festive one, do keep in mind the people they wish to have attending the event. Plan ahead. When these things are organized accordingly and planned well in advance for gifts, games, prizes, no shows, and needing extra ice, drinks or CDs, have more food than you can possibly keep in the fridge and that extra bathroom to be in use that day, no doubt the party will be a rousing success. A new life is to enter the world. Time to celebrate!

Originally published April 2006
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