Like prom night and Black Friday, the American trend for baby showers has become big business here in Blighty. And whether you consider them the most irritating US import since The Osmonds or a marvellous opportunity to celebrate the imminent arrival of a brand spanking new member of the human race, they’re becoming increasingly popular.
Back in 2013 a survey by Mothercare revealed that not only are more than a quarter of UK mums-to-be now having baby showers, they expect to attend 23 – 23! – in their lifetime. I don’t think I’ll even know 23 pregnant people in my lifetime, let alone 23 who are pregnant AND have a baby shower.
It goes without saying that the perfect baby shower present is The Alternative Baby Keepsake Book. Not only will it have the mum-to-be spraying coke out of her nose with laughter (the carbonated drink variety, obviously, her being pregnant and all), it will also get the baby shower attendees in fits discussing their own buttock-clenchingly embarrassing mothering moments.
So that's the present ticked off. BUT what about the entertainment? If you’ve ever been to a baby shower you’ll know that:
A) Most of the games suck.
B) Some of the games require you to suck.
If you have any say whatsoever in the arrangements, demand some of the games below. Hopefully you’ll actually have fun playing them, so much so you might momentarily forget the cocktail you’re quaffing is actually a mocktail as the organiser has decreed that if the mum-to-be can’t drink alcohol, you bloody well can’t either. Sanctimonious bitch.
Before I start on the games, look no further than below for the perfect soundtrack for the gathering. You can easily turn this into a game by having guests guess the artists behind these fabulously inappropriate (or, if you're anything like me, hugely appropriate) songs for giving birth to.
Comfortably Numb – Pink Floyd (for when you've finally received that much requested epidural)
Do You Really Want to Hurt Me – Culture Club
Whoomp There It Is – Tag Team
Push it – Salt-N-Pepa
The Drugs Don't Work – The Verve
Push – Moist
The First Cut is the Deepest – Rod Stewart
Sex on Fire – Kings of Leon
Hurts So Good – John Mellencamp
Stand and Deliver – Adam and The Ants (for those hoping gravity will come to their aid)
Help! – The Beatles
F**k you, I won't Do What You Tell Me – Rage Against the Machine
I Hate You So Much Right Now – Kelis
Relax – Frankie Goes to Hollywood
Torn – Natalie Imbruglia
The Whole of the Moon – The Waterboys (for when the entire room's getting an eyeful)
I'm Coming Out – Diana Ross
I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor
What Have I Done to Deserve This? – The Pet Shop Boys
Under Pressure – Queen
Supermassive Black Hole – Muse
Every Breath You Take – The Police
Gimme Stitches – The Foo Fighters
And last but most definitely not least: Ring of Fire – Johnny Cash
Baby shower charades
Just like regular charades but baby-related (obvs). You can get downloadable suggestions online but they're as dull as they are predictable, eg: Discovering you’re pregnant, Giving birth and Burping baby. Make things more entertaining by creating your own scenarios, such as: Finding out you’re pregnant then realising you’re not sure who the dad is; Trying not to show your midwife how much you hate her while giving birth; Squeamish dad reluctantly trying to cut the umbilical cord; and The horror of your first post-birth bowel movement.
Name that stool
No near-the-knuckle baby shower is complete without this crappy classic. Simply smear nappies with anything vaguely resembling a baby’s bowel movement - think peanut butter, pâté, lemon curd, melted chocolate, Marmite, curry sauce - even dog food - and get guests to guess what they are. Extra points to anyone who sticks a tongue in a nappy in a quest to identify its contents; depending on how kind you are, you may or may not want to let them know about the dog food.
Pushing or porn?
Google photos of women in labour. Google porn. Crop the photos so all you can see are the faces. Wipe your computer's recent history (this step is particularly important). Now see if guests can tell whether they are witnessing the miracle of life or the miracle of orgasm.
You can spare yourself any future computer repair-related blushes by purchasing ready-made downloadable cards such as this one, which I found on Esty of all places (not quite the homespun, handcrafted vibe I have in mind when I think of that company) .
If the mum-to-be’s Great Aunt Joyce is attending and you want to rethink the game (although word is she was a bit of a goer in her day), you could always opt for ‘Birth scene or horror scene’ or ‘Baby bump or beer belly’.
Baby face mash-up
Enlarge and cut up two close-up photos of the mum and dad-to-be, then ask guests to create a Picasso-style montage of what the baby might look like. Beware: Frankenstein's monster might have fled whimpering at the resulting image.
For an added twist, use one of the many free morphing websites to create a completely unscientifically-based but nevertheless possibly vaguely more realistic image of the baby-to-be. You can also have fun morphing yourself with different celebrities. I couldn't resist sneaking a peek to see what the child I'm planning to have with Aiden Turner, aka Cap'n Poldark, will look like (right). He - and my husband - are as yet unaware this is going to happen.
Blindfold nappy change
Use a life-size baby doll and, for extra realism, the particularly gunky nappies from the Name That Stool challenge. If the winner gets too smug, remind her there’s scant comparison between changing a nappy on a doll and changing a nappy on a small, screeching, breakdancing octopus at 3am.
Inappropriate baby shower Pictionary
Beg, borrow or steal an easel or a whiteboard. Divide the guests into two teams who take turns drawing and guessing the words (give them a minute each to do this before it's handed to the other team).
Suggested words and phrases:
Waters breaking • Mucus plug • Stretch marks • Giant, mesh knickers • Nursing pads • Hospital gown • Gas and air • Caesarean • Colic • Morning sickness • Crowning • Ventouse • Forceps delivery • Episiotomy • Epidural • Umbilical cord • Swollen feet • Maternity bra • Nuclear nappy • Breast pump • Mastitis • Perineum • Cradle cap • Placenta
So, that's the best I can do regarding baby shower games that won't make you think you've entered the fifth level of hell. But if you've got any better ideas (and for 'better' I actually mean 'cruder'), then do us all a favour and share them here by leaving a comment.