Kansas Snapshots by Gloria Freeland - Sept. 28, 2012

Business to babies

Kedzie Hall - my office home at Kansas State University - was transformed from an all-business atmosphere to one of celebration last Friday. One of my colleagues and his wife are expecting their first baby and she's a girl.

Tiny purple, pink, yellow and green dresses, socks - and even a miniature bathing suit - hung on a clothes line. A table was laden with bags of the same colors. The table "centerpiece" was an elaborate several-tiered cake - a cake whose layers were made of folded disposable diapers held together with pink ribbons. The base was made of bibs. A real cake, topped with small plastic blocks and balloons, cupcakes with bright green, orange and purple icing, and a bowl full of pink lemonade punch sat on another table nearby.

We went to round tables where each of us selected an eight-inch square fabric piece. The pieces had puppies or girls in bonnets stenciled on them. Our job was to color them with non-toxic markers.

I must admit that I don't particularly care for the games that are usually played at bridal and baby showers. But coloring was fun.

"It's been a long time since I've colored anything," I said to no one in particular.

My table partners just concentrated on their work. One professor who came in later noted how quiet we all were.

"It's just like a class of kindergarteners," she said. We grinned.

We put our names on our works of art. They'll be sewn together later to be made into a wall-hanging for the expectant couple's nursery.

Then the gift unwrapping and "oohs" and "ahs" began.

I gave two books, "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" and "Goodnight, Moon," favorites with daughters Mariya and Katie. Others gave tiny purple K-State T-shirts, rattles, bibs, clothing, a hand-made quilt - and more diapers. Expectant dad was super excited about the diapers.

"I've heard how expensive they are - and how many of them babies go through in a day," he said.

Those of us with children laughed and nodded knowingly.

The shower took me back to the parties friends had for me when I was pregnant with my girls. I remember looking at the tiny clothes and shaking my head in amazement.

"Will they really be this small?" I thought.

Expectant dad thanked us and said he'd welcome any words of wisdom we might have to share.

I thought about all the suggestions people gave me. Both Mom and late mother-in-law Rita said you could never rock a baby too much. I took that to heart with both my girls. They are now 26 and nearly 20 and I, too, would advise young parents to spend as much time as possible with their little ones.

I found a poster when Katie was a baby with a poem on it that made the point perfectly. I framed it and hung it in her room.

Cleaning and scrubbing can wait 'til tomorrow
For babies grow up, we've learned to our sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs, dust go to sleep
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.

Left, sister Gaila, Gloria and Mom at a summer 1986 baby shower before Mariya was born. I had a "circus" theme for Mariya's nursery - hence, the clown cake; right, expectant parents Morgan and Tom behind the gift-laden table, including the several-tiered "diaper cake" on the right

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