Years ago, it was traditional when a woman was expecting her first baby, for her female friends and family to gather around, share food, share stories of pregnancy, childbirth, and new motherhood, and shower her with gifts for the new baby. Of course, back in the day, babies came with some fairly regular succession, so a year or two after the first one, a second one would arrive; and if the parents so decided, a year or two later, a third, and so on. The expectation was that the first baby would hand down the things she outgrew to the second, and the second to the third. Of course, mom and dad would add new things – especially if they went from a girl to a boy – but all the big ticket baby items would get handed down, reused, and then passed down to the next family member who needed them.
Having babies has changed dramatically over the years. Women no longer come out of high school, get married, and start having babies. Many women find college and careers before they choose to become moms, and in some cases, infertility causes much bigger space between babies than two, three, or even four years. It has become increasingly popular to acknowledge the arrival of second or third babies with additional baby showers. Maybe they are warranted in some cases – several years have passed between babies one and two, and the mom, no expecting to have additional children, has donated all of her baby’s belongings and is starting fresh. But in true terms of etiquette, it is never really appropriate to have a full out shower for any but the first baby.
Now, it seems, the trend is changing again. Perhaps women tired of hearing from their mothers and grandmothers how rude it is to hold showers for other than the first baby, have found a loop hole! They are calling this loop hole a Baby Sprinkle. That’s right – a Sprinkle! Not a shower – because showers are for first babies. But a sprinkle is sort of just a request for gifts, as in “We can’t invite you to a shower, because we already have three kids and it would be rude, so just come and give us smaller gifts for the new baby.” Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying you shouldn’t celebrate. The birth of a baby is a wonderful and miraculous thing, and every baby deserves to be celebrated. But don’t beat people over the head and demand that they celebrate by inviting them to come and bring you gifts. Invite them to a Christening or a bris or a baby naming. That’s a celebration with some meaning, where they get to meet the new baby and share your joy, as opposed to an out and out solicitation for gifts.
But, I digress. I am on my tangent this morning because a friend has been “invited” to contribute not only a gift, but a food item to a baby “shower”, which is actually a “sprinkle” because she already has an older baby! And I admit, I just yesterday heard of a baby sprinkle that I approve of 100%. A group of women is going into Super Suppers today, which is where I work, to assemble meals for an expectant mommy. Hallelujah, Ladies! There is nothing a new mom needs more than meals she (or her husband) can put on the table with no fuss, no muss, and I think a lot of new moms rely on the local pizza or Chinese delivery people way too often. And you know what? As a mom who has 10 years between baby 1 and baby 2, I can get behind a sprinkle for a mom in a situation similar to mine – even though apparently no one else could, because I wasn’t sprinkled. But come on, girls. It’s too much. You send registries with bridal shower invitations and wedding invitations. You register for honeymoons and baby showers. Give people a break with the “sprinkle” invitations.
Unless you wanna sprinkle my two….