Thursday, June 22, 2006

showered with books

My coworkers are the best. Yesterday, they showered me (almost literally) with copies of their favorite childhood books — a complete, but wonderful, surprise! I knew they were throwing me a shower, but I wasn't expecting it to feel so meaningful and personal. Or to go home with a library of reading material for our baby.

My cubicle-neighbor Julie engineered the plan. The thing is, I've always thought a children's book shower would be fun, but I'd never mentioned it to anyone at work. Julie came up with it on her own after hearing me say one day that I look forward to reading to our baby. What a great sense she has for people! Apparently, my coworkers have been coming in and handing her their books right under my nose. They have to pass me to get to her, so people were smuggling them in under their shirts, in nondescript bags, etc. I had no idea. (Julie: "I've been feeling rather sneaky the past two weeks!")

The shower was at The Liffey, an Irish pub-style restaurant in St. Paul, which was a nice touch for a lover of things Irish, even if I was unable to have a Guinness. The books were stacked in a very nice Combi rocker/bouncer, which vibrates when you push one of the buttons. (That's a nice gift, too!) People also wrote down their best parenting advice, which I slid into the pages of a cute photo album and read aloud when they all were collected.

Steve and I had a good time looking at the books last night. There are classics we remember — The Giving Tree, Fun With Dick and Jane, The Lorax, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day — and some I hadn't seen before. Inside the covers, each person had written a note to Steve and me, telling us what the book had meant to them when they were children, or how much they enjoyed reading it to their babies. It was really moving.

I have typically dreaded baby showers for a number of reasons. Silly games, large groups of women sitting around chattering and watching one woman open gifts — not my thing. And for women struggling with infertility, it can be incredibly tough to sit through the seas of baby-themed wrapping paper, decorations, baby talk, etc. But I have to say, the two showers that have given for Steve and me have felt very nice for us — probably because the people throwing them know us and love us enough to tailor them to our tastes. Fairly low-key, no "guess the household product inside this diaper" games, and the dads are as welcome as the moms. What nice ways to celebrate this much-loved, much-wanted baby!


Carrie said...

what a wonderful party! I love books as well, so I can imagine how fun and exciting that was!

Laura said...

Sounds wonderful! It's so much fun to read to little ones. :)

Monkeymama said...

That's a great idea for a shower!

Cynthia said...

Oh Em, that sounds so wonderful and so perfect for you. I know you love that. You are such a literate woman and I know your son will be, too.
As a new mom, I can tell you that there will come a time when you will love having the LEISURE to read to your child. LOL.... That will come when they are older.
There is going to be so much that you will have to do. It's unreal the amount of time that a child can take.
I remember the first day I tried to leave my house with my then infant in tow. It took me three hours to get us both dressed, feed and out the door!!!!!(smile)
I kid you not.
Considering how quickly I can do it now it's funny.

But then, I was and am a single mom by choice. You will have Steve there to help.

You know, I had all kind of books, Emilie (I still buy a lot of books) and I envisioned me and my baby snuggling together as we read stories each night just prior to me placing a happy, sleeping child in his crib.
... Now that was before I had a child.
What actually happened was that I knocked out in exhaustion with the child....LOL
I am laughing now as I type this... shoot, there are tears in my eyes because I remember how ill-equiped I felt.
All of those books I read about what to expect and child rearing and I was clueless and felt helpless.... LOL.
But I'm off topic...
Please don't read this as a downer. You post just made me think of my life in those early days of parenthood.
I'm an adoptive mom and I became a parent just as the child was teething and before crawling. Wow...
I just can't stop laughing as I picture me a year and half ago.
Again, I'm sorry. I think the books are great and you will enjoy reading them to your child.
I do now. Dion likes books now, although there was a time when all he wanted to do was pull them from the shelf and create a mess or use them as weapons.
Please don't take this as a downer. I'm off topic.
Again, it sounds like it was a wonderful party, a wonderful surprise and like you have wonderful co-workers.
Congratulations Emilie.

Susanne said...

Hey Em, what a wonderful thing! Like you mentioned, it wasn't just another typical shower. The book theme; how wonderful and personal (since you've always been a bookworm). Did you receive any Flower Fairy books? (BTW Teresa really enjoyes the books I bought for Mom, at Marshall Fields.)

I also liked what you said about some showers being filled with dorky games and women praddling. Not your work shower!

I haven't posted as much because I'm spending a few nights a week in Hood River. My apartment doesn't come available until July 15, but my boss set me up in an empty business lot that won't be rented until July 1. Luckily, it has a shower (the aquatic kind of shower:)!

cynthia said...

Em, I just wanted to stop by again to say that your book shower sound wonderful and so approperiate.
You will love cuddling with your son and reading to him.