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20-40-60 Etiquette: Baby showers for second- or third children
QUESTION: If a pregnant woman had a first-time baby shower and then becomes pregnant two years later, is it acceptable for her to have a second one if friends/relatives want to plan one?
CALLIE'S ANSWER: If the friends and relatives want to have one, what is the problem? Go for it!
LILLIE-BETH'S ANSWER: My dear friends celebrated baby showers for each of my three babies with me, and for them (my friends), I am grateful. I have also hosted baby showers for friends having children after their firstborn.
The shower for the first child generally is the biggest one that covers the items a mom needs. The first one often includes more people, but the subsequent ones can be equally as meaningful. If the child is going to be a different gender than the first one, the mom may need new clothes, and even if she has all the basics, it's fun to have some items that are new and clean and untouched by baby teeth or hands.
When you're in the middle of child-rearing, especially when your kids are young, there's never enough time to see friends, and a baby shower is a happy excuse for everyone to get together, no matter how many children were born before the latest one.
HELEN'S ANSWER: Friends are wonderful! If they want to celebrate your second-born child with you by having a shower, that is wonderful, too!
Children are such treasures, and by getting together to celebrate a new life, it adds such pleasure to the family. My heartfelt thanks to my friends who chose to celebrate the birth of my children by having showers and bringing all sorts of baby items that I needed.
I still question family members hosting the shower, but sometimes if family members are the hosts, they invite only other family members to participate.
Other ideas for second and third showers include: having guests bring books, food items that the new mother might need for her freezer or items for the mother-to-be. People have had grandmother showers and have brought toys for the baby to have at the grandmother's house.
GUEST'S ANSWER: Hilarie Blaney, etiquette and international protocol consultant: As we are well aware, the Post family knows how to handle this dilemma. In the most recent edition, “Emily Post's Etiquette: Manners for a New World” (18th edition), the authors, all relatives of the original Emily Post, note that society is more mobile and that it's not unusual for family members or close relatives to host the shower anymore. They also note that they approve of throwing second or third showers. Finally, because the parents likely have many things that they need, “a theme shower” would be a good idea.
I think EACH child of a friend or relative should be celebrated in some way, either by a gift or a sip-and-see-party, where gifts are not requested, but appropriate and appreciated. Most of your friends and family will want to give you a gift for Baby No. 2 or 3, and some people want to make it a fun event. If so, the gifts lean more toward clothing or the latest trend in baby items because the main baby needs are in place.
Callie Gordon is 20-something, Lillie-Beth Brinkman is in her 40s, and social columnist Helen Ford Wallace is 60-plus. To ask an etiquette question, email email@example.com. For more 20-40-60 etiquette, go to blog.newsok.com/partiesextra.