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Showers, baby preparation part of being auntie

September was dry, but for me it was filled with showers. No umbrellas were required, though. Just lots of presents wrapped for baby.

Auntie is a title I will soon hold so that means parties where grown women ooh and aah over diapers, onesies, Boppy Pillows and whale-shaped tubs. Guessing the flavor of unmarked jars of baby food becomes a competitive sport. And rooms are decorated with pastel-colored balloons anchored by bundles of teething rings and rubber duckies.

Baby showers may not involve the most dignified activities, but they certainly are fun. Very few times in life compare with anticipating the arrival of a brand-new little person. I went to three such celebrations over the course of eight days for my sister and the niece or nephew who will make an appearance before October is over, we hope.

The whirlwind trio of parties began with a Saturday morning shower in the church basement. Lutheran ladies were at the helm and brunch, hymns and games preceded the opening of a generous display of gifts nestled in bags decorated with teddy bears and other gender-neutral baby-themed designs. Gifts included two handmade quilts and a big box of diapers.

Not long after the church shower ended we headed off to Perham to meet some friends for a second shower in the basement of a coffee shop.

A smaller crowd made it easier for a few more games. Some sampled baby food, while those of us who were less brave merely sniffed, in order to try and guess the flavors of bananas, green beans and other food rendered nearly unrecognizable. We cut pieces of yarn in lengths approximating my sister's new girth. We attempted a baby word scramble, although none of us got all the words figured out. Terms like bassinet aren't ones we use every day.

We also wrote messages on baby diapers for mom and dad to read when it's changing time. Some expressed sweet sentiments like "It goes by so fast." I bypassed sentimentality entirely and simply expressed the obvious with "oh, crap!" written in marker on the little diaper.

The series of showers ended with a family celebration in Bertha the following Saturday. The mother-to-be received an adorably decorated "diaper cake" topped with a little green hat and accented with pacifiers and ribbon along with her other gifts.

And then the days dedicated to partying with diapers were done. The next celebration will be birth day. The little bath sets and the tiny clothes are cute to be sure and necessary, but it isn't the diapers or the onesies you celebrate. It's the little one whose chubby legs will poke out of them.

Baby was definitely present at all of the showers as my increasingly uncomfortable sister can verify. But the real celebration will occur when we meet baby face to face and can swaddle him or her in items wrapped with love in tissue paper decorated with duckies and bottles.