Whether you think they're the most irritating US import since The Osmonds, or a marvellous opportunity to celebrate the imminent arrival of a spanking new member of the human race, baby showers are increasingly popular here in Blighty.
Back in 2013, a Mothercare survey revealed that not only were more than a quarter of UK mums-to-be planning a baby shower, they expect to attend 23 in their lifetime. Twenty three? I doubt 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), it will also get the guests in hysterics discussing their own buttock-clenchingly embarrassing mothering moments.
So that's the present ticked off. But what about the fun and games?
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.
Here are some suggestions for games the guests might actually find amusing, hopefully forgetting in the process that the cocktail they're quaffing is actually a mocktail as the organiser has decreed that if the mum-to-be can’t drink alcohol, no one else bloody well can either. Cow.
Every good baby shower needs a decent Push Playlist (aka "Songs to scream to"). You can turn the suggestions below into a game by asking attendees to guess the artists.
Do You Really Want to Hurt Me – Culture Club
Comfortably Numb – Pink Floyd (for when you've finally received that much requested epidural)
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 (for when the midwife gets bossy)
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 find downloadable suggestions online but truth be told they're as dull as they are predictable, eg: "Discovering you’re pregnant", "Burping baby". Creating your own scenarios to act out is much more fun. What about: Finding out you’re pregnant then realising you’re not sure who the dad is; Trying not to conceal how much you hate your midwife while giving birth; Squeamish dad reluctantly trying to cut the umbilical cord; and for the grand finale: The horror of that first post-birth bowel movement.
Name that stool
No decent baby shower is complete without this crappy classic. Smear nappies with anything vaguely resembling a baby’s bowel movement - 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 gives the nappy a lick. Depending on how kind you are, you may or may not want to warn them about the dog food beforehand.
Pushing or porn?
Google photos of women in labour. Google porn. Crop the photos so all you can see are faces. Wipe your computer's recent history (unless you want your local computer repairer winking at you in the future). Now see if guests can tell whether they are witnessing the miracle of life or the miracle of orgasm.
You can also buy ready-made downloadable cards from, among others, Etsy, (not quite the homespun, handcrafted vibe I have in mind when I think of that company) .
If the mum-to-be’s Aunt Janet is attending and you think this may be a bit near the knuckle (or any other part of the anatomy), you could create something similar with the theme ‘Birth scene or horror scene’ or ‘Baby bump or beer belly’.
Enlarge and cut up two close-up photos of the prospective parents to create a Picasso-style montage of the future baby. Then gather everyone together to pray that he or she looks nothing like the resulting axe murderer.
For an added twist, use one of the many free morphing apps to create a completely unscientifically-based but nonetheless possibly vaguely more realistic image of the baby. The guests can also have fun morphing themselves with various others. The baby pictured here is the result of a torrid affair between Aiden Turner and me, although he - and my husband - are as yet unaware that this is going to happen.
Divide the guests into two teams and get them to take turns drawing and guessing a variety of terms linked to pregnancy and birth (give them a minute each to do this before handing it to the other team).
Suggested words and phrases:
Waters breaking • Mucus plug • Stretch marks • Giant knickers • Hospital gown • Gas and air • Caesarean • Colic • Morning sickness • Crowning • Ventouse • Forceps • Episiotomy • Epidural • Umbilical cord • Swollen feet • Maternity bra • Nuclear nappy • Breast pump • Mastitis • Perineum • Cradle cap • Placenta • Mastitis
Spit the dummy
Very simple, this. Get the guests to line up, get each to stick a dummy in their maw and whoever spits the dummy the farthest is the winner. Unless you're a fan of flying phlegm, you might want to take this one outside.
If you've got any other suggestions for crude and funny baby shower games, feel free to share them by leaving a comment.
Esther Onions can produce 1,000 words of decent quality copy (or so she likes to think). But ask her to write a mini biography...