There are few things that the Americans have given us that we have adopted with gusto. Halloween being one, which has been pushed so hard by the retailers that it's now almost a national holiday. Another one which has come creeping out of the woodwork over the years, is the baby shower.
Up until my wife became pregnant, I had no idea that baby showers even existed this side of the pond - how wrong I was. I was even (un)fortunate to attend my wife's, which I gather are usually an all female affair, however with a strong collective of male friends, my wife deemed it to be a unisex event. Needless to say, I was subjected to eating baby food as part of a party game, whilst the female contingent pinned something on a man...
From my experience, a baby shower is to celebrate the imminent arrival of your little one, and is a great way to give and receive small gifts such as baby grows, blankets and teddies, as to prepare the mum-to-be with all manner of gear that she had no idea she needed. There doesn't however, seem to be something for the man.
With the imminent arrival of our beloved daughter back in October last year, I made the most of a baby-free world and popped out for a few jars on a Saturday afternoon, only for it to turn into a Saturday night, and then a Sunday morning. Jokingly as I left my friends house in the early hours to make my way home to my sleeping mummy-to-be, I slurred that I'd enjoyed my 'Male baby shower'... and so the tradition began.
Roll forward almost a year and our daughter's godparents are due with their little one in January and casually I dropped the hint to my friend Dan that he should plan his male baby shower, or 'Last Hurrah' as we'd now coined it. Cue the Facebook group/event and before we knew it a full blown house party was planned to send him off into parenthood with a bang!
It worked out quite well for me too, with the wife away, my friend's wife came and stayed at ours and babysat for the night, and as she put it, spent the evening practising everything that she would inevitably be doing for the foreseeable future, whilst he on the other hand would be practising everything that he wouldn't be able to do again for the forthcoming years.
The night was fantastic, and with 70% of the attendees being fathers who hadn't had a break from nappies for almost six months, you can imagine the sort of bravado and subsequent hangovers that occurred - but in short (and under baby-stag code), we gave the father-to-be a send off that he'll remember. Especially when he's sat up in the middle of the night with milky sick dribbling down his shoulder.
From what I hear wetting the baby's head happens less and less. Whether this is because the man generally takes a more practical role at home once the baby has arrived, and the thought of being out of the house, in a pub after 8pm sends tiring, exhausting shivers down their spine, or actually that the male baby shower is catching on, I don't know. For one, I think it's a great idea, with a generally guilt free night out with the boys... that is of course, until the second one comes along of which I have no idea how the baby shower system works - perhaps I'll ask the Americans.