I kind of hate baby shower games. None of them truly prepare you for parenthood. When I go to a shower that I suspect will have loads of games, I strategically arrive almost two hours late so as to avoid them. And you know what? They are usually still playing them! Before I know it, I am in a contest with three other women to see which one of us can suck an ounce of liquid through a newborn bottle nipple fastest. I always lose, but leave with a new appreciation for the sucking strength of newborns.
I began to wonder, what kind of games should we throw at baby showers to give expecting parents a true taste of parenthood?
I’ve come up with a short list, just to get us started:
Game #1: The Smoke Detector Game
Set off a smoke detector. Tell expectant parent she must swaddle smoke detector, rock smoke detector, try unsuccessfully to nurse/feed smoke detector, all while remaining absolutely calm. Prize goes to person who never stops smiling and sings appropriate lullaby (not some made-up passive aggressive lullaby threatening to abandon smoke detector in a field) for the entire duration of the baby shower, even though this means she can’t have a normal conversation or drink any champagne and is receiving more than a few judgmental stares from people she doesn’t know, and may even have to spend last half of baby shower in the garage.
Game #2: The Dirty Swim Goggles Game
Get some swim goggles. Rub Vaseline on the lenses so no one can see out of them. Tell expectant parent he must find baby in crib, change baby’s diaper, swaddle baby and feed baby all while wearing these goggles, which mimic closely how well one can see at 2:13am when one hasn’t slept through the night in three months and is afraid to turn on an overhead light. If expectant parent is over 40 or wears glasses, blacken one lens. Prize goes to person who can find the child, change the diaper without getting poop on self, correctly snap baby’s crotch pajamas, feed baby without accidentally sticking nipple in baby’s nose or eye, and then successfully return to bed without stubbing toe. Bonus points for not cursing throughout any of it.
Game #3: “You look great” game.
Take expectant mother. Mess up her hair by running multiple people’s hands through it roughly. Use leftover Vaseline, if necessary. Add a few Cheerios. Apply mascara and lipstick to mom haphazardly, making sure to get at least some makeup on a tooth. Remove one earring. Unbutton blouse and re-button out of sync. Prize goes to person who most convincingly says, “You look great!!” without the expectant mom bursting into tears.
Perhaps games like these will make us feel like we are truly preparing our friends for the many joys that await them when they become parents.