Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Learning About Finland: Baby Showers Are Few & Far Between

The term "Baby Shower" does not actually refer to the washing of the child or the tears...nope, not even the golden shower you might get occasionally (typical with boys) or the brown/green/black/mustard coloured splatter either.

In North America, a baby shower is the chance to shower the un-born baby and quite pregnant (or expecting - aka adopting or other alternative) mother with gifts, love, food and attention.
Usually the work place, Church, close friends and/or family would host one and quite often it's a surprise.
There's usually light finger foods, some games, prizes, sharing of birth stories or advice (especially for the first-time mothers) and that's that.

In Finland - it doesn't quite exist yet...
If you're an expat and living in Finland - don't be surprised if you don't get thrown a lovely gathering of friends, a pile of gifts and a stuffed tummy of food before your up-coming due date.
It's just coming to Finland in bits and pieces and typically most Finns don't name their child until they've met the baby and decide on a date for a "Naming Party" (often tied in with a christening or baptism).
That seems to be the prime time to meet the baby, congratulate the parents and the older siblings and bring a gift.
The only baby showers I have been to in Finland have been organized for those that are expats or know about baby showers because they have lots of expat friends or they're half Finnish.
Finnish men seem to have something called a "Little Toes Party" which involves getting dragged out and completely wasted for their "last time".

Today, my knitting group and I threw a triple baby shower.
Oh yeah - we went there.  We have three ladies all pregnant  (okay one had her baby last month) and all in agreement to having one baby shower together.
We picked a date, decided on potluck and trickily thought of three different gifts to get each expectant mother that would (hopefully) compliment her taste and style.
Oh yeah, and all three ladies were having boys.
We had the party at the mother who had her baby boy about a month ago's home and it was spacious, welcoming and it gave most of us a chance to see her new home. :)
Each of us brought a dish of food of some sort to share and we started with food because with all the wonderful smells coming from the kitchen/living room (it's connected) - it's hard not to resist on snacking here and there!
Once the food was done, we played some games.
We had a baby food tasting game (4 baby food jars with the labels removed and you had to guess what was in them by looks, smells and taste if you wished), memory game (20 items related to baby or child and after 5-minutes - you had to write down what you remembered) and charades.
Charades is a game where you draw a word or sentence and have to act it out silently so the others (or your team if the group is divided) can guess what you're trying to portray.
Funny enough, one of the expecting mothers drew the word "Delivery" and she got really into it, dropped down on the floor and imitated giving birth!!
I've never seen this done at a baby shower before but it was really funny and a hit (I think).  Definitely recommended!
For gifts I just ran into the grocery store and picked up random small sized chocolate or candy bars.  Simple and lots of variety for people to choose from. :)
Because we're a crafting group, it made sense to make/find gifts for the mothers that were unique to them.
  • For the one who had the baby already - we each crocheted or knitted a square and shortened his name to 3 letters and knitted that into 3 squares and he now has a personalized blanket.
  • For the one who technically lives in another city now and had to take the train back in a couple days - we didn't want to laden her down with a lot of heavy stuff and she had 2 simple requests.  Nothing blue and hooded towels.
    • So we got terry cloth fabric, two of the ladies made 1 towel and some wash cloths to match. 
    • We also each bought some cotton yarn, as she's a crochet fanatic and it was  all wrapped up in the shape of a pram for her.  And a little notebook to write patterns down too.
  • The third was the trickiest.  We knew she has a nephew in her native country and a nephew here in Finland from her husband's side - so clothing was obviously not necessary. That and she's a knitting machine (and regularly designs her own patterns) and quickly becoming a sewing machine too.
    • Ideas we had for her (that were quickly cancelled because she ended up receiving/buying or making them herself:
      • Baby carrier
      • Pram
      • Scrapbook or baby record book
    • We then decided on something she could never predict - nor her mother in-law or mother!  A little library for the baby.  We each brought our favourite childhood stories and the baby and parents will have loads to read in both Finnish and English. :)
Also, a friend in the group also made some hand-made soaps and pampering body-butters for the mothers based on their favourite scents.  And another member who couldn't make created some lovely personalized bookmarks.
Actually, you can check them out here in her Etsy shop - along with lots of other fantastic things like post cards, folded cards, calendars and the like!
Mostly dog-themed ;).

Then we had dessert and chit chat around the table!!
Fairly relaxed and some of us managed to get a bit of knitting done too.

I'll write a separate blog post about ideas for baby showers and how to go about setting it up!
Until next time!

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