An American Baby Shower

Earlier this year, while it was still winter, I went to a close friend’s baby shower. It was her and her husband’s first baby, and my first time attending a baby shower.

The weekend included:

  • A hawk killing one of their chickens… while my pregnant friend was trying to chase it away… and the eight of us at her party sat around the table inside, chatting without a care in the world. Some friends we are, I know.
  • Detailed discussion about how to pump and store breastmilk and assemble reusable diapers
  • A list of due date guesses- one woman declared that the winner would get to name the second child
  • Love- it’s lovely to see someone surrounded by people who love them
  • Lots of food
  • Dog cuddles
  • Post-shower, a cold but refreshing walk with just my friend and her other friend who like me, wasn’t local and was staying overnight

It did not include:

  • A game where we smelled different kinds of chocolate in diapers and guessed what kind they were
  • A game where we tasted baby food, including meat-flavored ones, and guessed what flavors they were
  • Tossing a baby bouquet to predict who would be next to have a baby

The first two are real games that my friend witnessed at other baby showers and that initially made her not want to have one. It was her husband who ultimately convinced her to take her sister and friends up on their offers to throw one (though she ended up doing the hosting and organizing, really). The third does not exist, as far as I know, but please give me credit if you incorporate it in the next baby shower you attend.

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J’aime me déguiser

This past weekend my friend (who is Californian) and her friend (who is French) had a costume party to celebrate their birthdays. The theme was dessins animés: cartoons.

Now, I love costume parties. One thing I know about attending them in France is that you can bet there will be a number of people who do not dress up. Tant pis. Fortunately, a bunch do get into the spirit. It’s always funny seeing the range from store bought to homemade costumes. I always put something together from items I own and supplementary pieces I make or buy.

The hostesses of this party were minions from the movie “Despicable Me.” In attendance were Bugs Bunny, Dora the Explorer (in boy form), Cruella de Vil, Woody from “Toy Story,” Alice in Wonderland, and, adorned with a platinum blond wig and sunglasses, Johnny Bravo from the channel Cartoon Network. In black-rimmed glasses and a matching red and white bonnet and striped shirt was Charlie, or Wally if you’re from the U.K., or Waldo if you’re from the U.S. It’s funny, I just realized that all of these characters come from American movies or TV shows.

I wore a blue dress with a slight flounce at the bottom and blue ballet flats with ankle socks. I had strung two silver mardi gras necklaces together on which I attached one sign in front and another at the back:

“PSYCHIATRIC HELP 5₵ / THE DOCTOR IS IN”
“ASSISTANCE PSYHIATRIQUE 5₵ / LE DOCTEUR EST LÀ”

I was Lucy Van Pelt from “Peanuts,” of course, or “Snoopy,” as it’s called in France.

I took the metro home around 1:30am. The cars filled up as the train approached the center of Paris. Weekend night rush hour before the last metro: it’s always an interesting ride. You have your inebriated passengers swaying and talking loudly about who knows what, your groups dressed up in flashy skirts and high heels that are probably from out of town, your nuzzling couples, your vagabonds with their tattoos and hefty backpacks and tall short-haired dogs, sometimes an older lady and you wonder where she’s coming from, and the other night, your group of international professional musicians who obviously gave a concert earlier that evening and are speaking English because it is their one common language.

Then, as I’ve done many times before, I come out of the metro station into the cool night air. People are mingling around, and I pass the bars where the last few people linger and pedestrians heading home before the streets become quieter and I enter the codes to my building, climb the stairs to my apartment, take a shower, and maybe have a ‘midnight’ snack and write in my diary before slipping under the covers and into Sunday morning.