Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Tanya's baby shower

The Russian wives approached me a few months ago to talk about baby showers.  We've had a lot of them on tour, and they said, "we always do them the same way.  maybe for Tanya's shower, since you're close to her, you can run it?  and do something different?"  I was a bit stumped by this request.  Something different?  They wanted to know what American showers are like.  I haven't been to that many, myself - but the ones I have been to have been big affairs, 30-40 attendees.  The new parents both participate, and the shower isn't a surprise.  No games, either - for such a big gathering, people are generally happy to socialize.

Showers on tour are a different situation.  It's the same 8 or 9 women, those of us who see each other all the time.  The food is Russian, the games are traditional.  (if I never have to play the "taste the baby food and guess what it is" game again, it will be too soon.)

I was pleased to take on the challenge.  To start with, I had to convince Tanya of the merits of a baby registry.  (unheard of in this community).  Over a few months I worked on this with her, and finally she got a decent registry together.

Then, after doing some Internet research, I landed on an idea for the shower - instead of playing games, we could do a project together!  And decided on a baby quilt.  Note ...I do not sew.  I do not quilt.  But the Internet instructions seemed pretty clear, and with some assistance I thought we could pull it off.  One of my key invitees was Genevieve, from the costume department!  Who conveniently is a good friend of Tanya's, and also offered to bring us a sewing machine.

In the weeks before the shower, my Mom (quilter!) helped me assemble the pieces I'd need.  We found fabric, cut squares, bought fabric markers.  In the meantime I collected shower decorations, and told the Russian wives that if I was going to do this, they had to provide all the food.  Which they happily agreed to.

Also in buildup for this, I had to re-schedule my Russian/English lessons with Tanya for Tuesdays, the only day Genevieve was free.  I did this for three weeks, convincing her to walk (yes, 8 months pregnant) the 30 minutes to my apartment each time.

And then today was the event!  I called Tanya to make sure she was coming to our lesson.  Then we cleaned, decorated, and set up - all of the other women arrived early with tons of food and drinks.  All the children were in tow (it being a Tuesday), so the place was a chaotic dance party in no time.

They did manage to shush enough to completely surprise Tanya when she walked in the door.  Throwing handfuls of confetti, blowing noisemakers.  It was a great moment.

The rest of the (4-hour) party was food, and present-opening, and quilt-crafting.  We all participated - some just by drawing on the quilt squares, others by ironing and organizing them.  Genevieve did the most work, sitting with her sewing machine and putting the whole thing together over the course of the evening.  It was a thrilling sense of accomplishment to see it finished!  We still need to put together the backing and border, but the hard part is done.

Here we are, this group of women friends, seeing each other through milestones in city after city.  We had the stunningly wonderful news this week that Nastia B is pregnant with a baby girl.  Nastia, my dear friend, has been trying to get pregnant for years, and they have two older boys.  Both she and Aliaksei have been dying for a little girl - and in the meantime she has babysat, taught, and played with baby girl after baby girl (so many of them have been born on tour in the last few years!)  It is finally her turn.

Of course, that means we'll have one more baby shower to throw....

1 comment:

  1. what a wonderful idea for a baby shower! I love the idea of creating something special for the baby (and family). and yes - baby shower games leave lots to be desired.
    I am in Santa Monica - perhaps we brought yesterday's rain! family members are looking forward to seeing Totem tonight :-) it will be my 5th time seeing the show.