The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
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Some women can’t wait to play traditional shower games, such as guessing the mom’s waist size or seeing who can diaper a doll the fastest; others would rather be bonked in the head with a diaper pail. Some less-embarrassing party options include dancing (hey, even in your third trimester you can shake your oversized booty a little), taking turns telling the new mom the best and worst parenting advice the guests have ever heard, offering funny suggestions for the baby’s name or playing baby trivia. For new twists on traditional shower games, including memory and word games, as well as active and craft-making games, check out Joan Wai’s 100 Baby Shower Games.
What you should do
Even if you let your host take the reins in planning your shower, there are two details that you should help with: choosing the date and compiling the guest list.
If you and your hostess need help in choosing a theme, check out Gia Russo and Michele Adams’ Baby Showers: Ideas and Recipes for the Perfect Party. “It’s best to plan the event one to two months before your due date, so there’s less of a chance you’ll go into labor, and you won’t be so uncomfortable or stressed that you can’t enjoy yourself,” Rafanelli says. In fact, Russo says, there is a growing trend of waiting until after the baby is born and then having a “welcome baby” shower, which can be combined with a bris (ritual circumcision), baby naming or christening.
Providing the hostess with a list of names and addresses ensures that everyone you care about gets an invite. But what if your sister, your co-worker and your pal from the dog park are all planning separate showers for you? Having more than one celebration has become commonplace. “It’s fine to have multiple showers,” Warner says, “but the guest lists should be separate. If someone is invited to more than one shower, she is only expected to bring a gift to the first one.”
Speaking of gifts, no matter what kind of shower you have, games or no games, petit fours or pepperoni pizzas, everyone will gather around at some point to watch you ooh and aah as you unwrap tiny T-shirts, toys and other goodies. Pick someone you trust to make a list of who gave what, and try to write thank you notes (by hand, not by e-mail) within a week after the shower. The longer you put it off, the easier it becomes to forget (and people do notice if you don’t send them). One exception: If you go into labor, people will understand if their notes are a few weeks late.
No matter how much input you have in planning your shower, the hostess will be doing the majority of the work, all because she loves you to pieces, so be sure to thank her with a hostess gift like a basket of beauty products, a picture frame or gift certificate. She’ll be grateful for your recognition of her hard work.