Our first baby shower was in Tampa with my parents’ friends. We calmly ate dinner and unwrapped presents with not a mimosa or nipple bobbing game in sight. It was lovely.
Keeping with the nontraditional tradition, our second (and last) baby shower was in room 315 of Phillips Hall, the home of the Division of World Languages, Literatures and Culture at the University of Iowa. This is the room where professors normally hold their faculty meetings. In fact, we were booted out after two hours of hardcore baby shower partying so that a line of Spanish professors could take over the room for their Friday afternoon meeting (about Cervantes and the subjunctive, I’m sure).
Before giving up the room, though, several of us who were taking down balloons quickly posed for these photos. They were meant, of course, as demonstrations of our empathy for Marta in her current waddle-state:
The food was delicious. One of the organizers has a boyfriend who was once a caterer and he made legendary sandwiches. Our friend Paula made lip-smackingly tasty hummus. A friend of mine also brought homemade chocolate chip cookies in three different variations: undercooked, just right, and slightly crispy. And then another one showed up right at the end of the shower with a gift of three family -sized bags of Cheetos (a repeat of our wedding gift, which means I currently have four and a half family-sized bags of Cheetos in the house).
The highlight of the shower, though, was the one and only game we played. Name-That-Baby game consisted of a box, into which shower participants threw a suggested name or two. Though we’ve been calling the baby Nico (short for Nicola) for the last four months, several native Spanish speakers have been less than enthused by the name. Marta’s parents have gone so far as to pretend to get a dog and then name that dog Nico so as to preempt the use of the name. Apparently, from a Spanish perspective (or maybe just Marta’s parents’ perspective) the name Nico sounds like it comes from an old-fashioned Spanish name, Nicolasa, that, from what I’ve gathered, would be a bit like naming your daughter Wilhelmina. Another argument against Nico, I’m told, is that kids might shout at the poor child “Nicolasa, portera de mi casa!,” which literary means “Nicolasa, the doorwoman for my house!” but indicates that all Nicolasas are lowly domestic and other-such workers because, well, their names rhyme with casa, which means house.
Hence, the Name-That-Baby game.
After participants had finished filling the box with their suggestions, Paula played Vanna White and wrote the names up on the board. She was accompanied by three others–Fernando, Pablo and Raychel, who were all kind-of but not really anything like Pat Sajack. They then took turns reading the names while we voted, as often and fervently as we wished.
Names offered included Valentina, Micah, Gumersinda and Condoleezza Thatcher–along with Nicola, Lucía, and Gabriela, which are the main choices we’ve been considering up until now. In the end we narrowed it down to five: Valentina, Susana, Daniela, Micaela, and Lucía. Nicola garnered just 4 votes, sadly.
She pulled in near unanimous support, which was impressive considering the size and opinionated-ness of the crowd.
Marta and I have yet to decide if we’ll accept this “gift” from our baby shower. But if we do, I figure it will be a nice story to tell ol’ Nico-Lucía-Daniela-Gumersinda-CondeleezzaThatcher when she gets older.
Thanks to everyone for such a lovely day. And such (sometimes) lovely names.