I don’t think I’ve mentioned this on here yet, but one of my friends is having a baby soon!
Her name is Marie, and we’re still not sure what sex the baby is, but it’ll be called either Torsten or Quantin if it’s a boy, and either Neveah or Eloise if it’s a girl! She and the hubby are both only children, so a baby shower thrown by the famalam was off the cards, and they were acting like they weren’t that bothered about the whole concept, but you know who wasn’t going to let that slide? Who wasn’t going ot let them miss the baby shower of their dreams? Who was going to step in and host them an amazing baby shower in her beautiful home?
That’s right. This momma.
Marie’s still very young (she’s only 29! Goodness, I’m no dinosaur but she does make me feel a little wrinkly) and she’s new to this, what with it being her first little sproodling, so the hubbub and I took the reins and arranged a brilliant shower in secret, without letting on until only a week before.
And it went fantastically!
We spent two whole days getting the house tidy (one whole afternoon just to tidy up all my dreamcatchers and the jars of mine and Mark’s baby teeth that wound up on the coffee table somehow) and scrubbed it until it shone, then hung up these adorable little string decorations with tiny clothes pegs that little paper baby-grows hung from in pink and blue.
We baked cookies that spelt out “Baby” and decorated them in pink and blue (although that was entirely my job, poor Mark gives it a great go but his baking always winds up either burnt, crumbly as all hell or iced so powerfully that a diabetic bumblebee wouldn’t touch it) and arranged them for maximum effect in the middle of our table spread, which also included houmous and dips with varying exotic and mundane breadsticks from Mark’s collection, celery sticks and carrot sticks (I would later go on to make my famous gumbo with the leftover celery), party rings, home-made spring rolls by Marie’s school friend Lisa, and sausage rolls, because we all know how much Marie loves sausage rolls!
I’ll tell you the story some other time, but rest assured, it’s a wonderful in-joke, she certainly does love a nice baked sausage treat!
We also cleared a spot in the corner of the reception room for gifts, and made sure all the invites had been appropriately RSVPed before the day, when Marie and her new hubbalubbadubdub, Chris, were due to arrive.
The first people to show up were Marie’s old school friends Bob Saggle and Olympia Faulkes, two just lovely Londoners who showed up with armfuls of gifts even as Mark was still running around changing lightbulbs in the living room, stepladder and all!
God love them, I think they felt a little awkward sitting there with cups of tea while the whirlwind of cleaning swept all around them, but the show must go on! The house was perfect by the time the rest of the guests arrived, and when Marie and Chris turned up, they were so surprised!
“Jin!” they said. “Your house is so beautiful!”
I knew that already, but I pretended not to so I’d look nice to them, and I took them in and sat them down. Poor Marie was tired just from walking from the car, as she’s due any day now and she was enormous! She might make me feel old, but she certainly also makes me feel thin. I’ve got that one over her, at any rate.
The party was perfect, too. We played party games about guessing the baby’s gender, including seeing which way a wedding ring on a string moved when held over the bump (boy), which way a cup landed when flicked off the bump (girl), whether baking soda makes the mother’s urine fizz or not (boy), whether the mother can do a pull-up (boy) and my personal favourite – and the one that has predicted the gender of my little munchkins perfectly – putting blueberry jam on the bump and seeing whether it changes colour (boy).
So the tests are pretty conclusive – it’s gonna be a boy. And that’s that.
The presents were after that. They got an amazing car seat and a push chair from our friends Raquel and Alice, and a wonderful set of baby grows with humourous sentences on them that I can’t quite remember right now (they mustn’t have been that funny!)
Then from Mark and I they got the big pacifier with the calming quartz crystal stone set in the ring, to keep the baby’s energy good and balanced in the crib and ensure a full night’s sleep, which they looked absolutely delighted about. The satisfaction I get from seeing my friends’ faces light up when they open a gift is one of the loveliest feelings, I think.
Then, came the centrepiece of the party: the pinata. A huge baby’s pacifier in pink, blue and yellow, it was full of sweets and mounted on a long pole, since we had nowhere to hang it up that wouldn’t be ruined by a good swing.
We wanted to use a ukelele as the bat, since Marie plays the uke like a Hawaian virtuoso, but we forgot to bring it, so wooden spoon it was. The flat of the spoon turnout to out be a poor bat, but reversing it and re-enacting the shower scene from “Psycho?” Perfect.
Swinging downwards with the handle of the spoon as a sort or wooden stake, the dummy was soon completely split open and sweets showered everywhere. I was hit by one that had completely snapped in half at one point, like sugary shrapnel (I didn’t know Marie had the strength, to be honest) but it seems she did!
The party went on until about 11.30 at night, which was amazing, since we didn’t plan for it to go that long or think it would – the natural flow of the night just went that way, and I didn’t even realise!
I put the sproggins to bed, and we all just chatted away until I suddenly looked up as Marie was going home and thought “how did it get so late?!”
By the end of it we had absolutely devastated the table spread, with very few breadsticks surviving and even fewer party rings and sausage rolls escaping the massacre. We had seriously depleted our tea stocks, and we were almost out of milk. The house, however, was almost spotless. The guests had been absolutely lovely about tidying up after themselves, even the ones that had brought kiddlers of their own, and no-one was really drinking, so there were no bottles or cans to get rid of (oh for the days of mine and Mark’s ragers, where we’d come through the next evening with a brush and brush the piles of detritus up because it was more cost-effective than trying to pick it all up individually. That was well before Tilly, you see).
So we woke up, feeling hungover from the strain of hosting such a great party even though we hadn’t touched a drop. We went down into a bizarrely tidy, clean house, took down the decorations, and then I poached a few eggs for breakfast. They were amazing. Shame we didn’t have any tea bags, though.