My cousin (who is only one year younger than I) is expecting her first baby, so the extended family got together on Saturday to celebrate with her. Her mother-in-law won the traveled-the-farthest award as she flew several hours to get to the mid-central US where the baby shower was being held. On my mother’s side of the family, I have fourteen cousins. Nine of them are female and almost all of them were in attendance. Two of them were born within a year of me with all the rest being five to fifteen years older. I didn’t know most of them very well and to this day, I am not always sure what each of the older females are named or which one of my uncles spawned whom.
I bucked tradition and sat with some of those cousins that I didn’t know instead of seeking safety and shelter at the table with my immediate family. (In an unspoken tradition, we don’t usual mingle with the extended family at such get-togethers. Strange, but true.) I sat next to the other almost-my-age cousin who is a pop culture diva and unmarried. I was definitely the odd-ball of the group. There was much discussion of scrapbooking, popular TV shows like Jon & Kate + 8, popular teenager music, cell phone text messaging, and iPods. I don’t know anything about any of those things, so I was pretty quiet. Two of my cousins emphatically pointed out that they HATE math during a discussion about how much fun (or not) a job at a bank would be. I was the only one to speak up on behalf of how much fun math is.
I got more crazy looks when one of the cousins was explaining with some glee about a blog she reads (and says she hates?) where the woman needs to “get a life.” Why? Because the blog writer is building a new house and sometimes posts about how they got the windows in and even includes a photo of them. Everyone at the table (but me) expressed amazement at this and one mocked that she should start a blog and post with a picture of her emptying her dishwasher in her pjs. I said I would probably like such a blog because I’m interested in watching handyman project progress pictures. (Say that fast three times.) Yes, I’m a freak.
My aunt and mother are very vocal about not liking to play “games” at such events, so instead, there were “activities with prizes.” My pop culture diva cousin won the first where you had to match a list of famous moms with their children’s names. She got 14 right. I only got 4. She won the bag which had a “mannie,” lipstick case, mirror (compact)-type thing, and other such things. She said they were “Sassafrass!” I think it means, “cool” or “hip.” But I can’t be sure.
I redeemed myself on the second activity, which was a tray full of baby stuff. Each table got sixty seconds to look at the tray. Then it was covered up and removed from the area and you had to write down what you remembered. There were fifteen total items. Let’s see how many I can still remember: bib, blanket, binky, (chewable) book, (2) baby (grandma “brag”) books, spoon, Chlorox hard-surface cleaner spray, baby lotion, teether toy, rattle, wipes, clothes hanger, . . . Well, I can’t remember them all. I only missed one item that day, though. Tied with one of my other cousins. So, we had a tie-breaker question. Who could guess the estimated due date? My guess was one day off and that was close enough to win me the bag of foot-care products including some super soft socks and bright red toe nail polish that I’ll be sure to keep out of the reach of Child #3. My mother whispered to me that I was supposed to give my prize to the pregnant cousin. But I didn’t. I don’t know such party etiquette.
The gifts were all very nice, although there seemed to be some panicked looks and whispers every time she opened a Halo SleepSack or a Swaddle-Me Wrap. She got a LOT of those. Being a four-time mom myself, I got her something she probably didn’t even know she would need – a winter cover for the infant seat.