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    Getting the Baby Shower You Want

    If your hostess's idea of a great party clashes with yours, with a little tact you can still get the shower and gifts you want.

    Baby Shower Planning: The Mom-to-Be's Involvement continued...

    "Surround yourself with the people you enjoy and want to be part of the children's life," says McKinley. "That can be as intimate as a gathering with three of your best friends, if that's what you want."

    This is also an opportunity to decide whether or not you want to mix people from different areas of your life (such as family, friends, and co-workers) at one event. While some women feel more comfortable in a group of people who know each other, others say that games or other activities that encourage mixing can break the ice in any group.

    Baby gift registration.

    Though you shouldn't expect everyone to buy the items you register for, registering for the baby gifts you want is one way to communicate your taste and needs to those who want to know them or who may not know you well. Most hostesses will include this information with baby shower invitations.

    "Before I had a baby, I never purchased off the gift registry, but now I always do," says Meghan Crimmins, a Washington, D.C. mother. "Having a baby is an expensive undertaking, and it's very helpful to get practical things that you need."

    Karen Zuercher, a mother of a toddler and a baby in San Francisco, says that registering for baby gear is especially smart for first-time parents. "It's a good idea to bring a friend who has a child to advise you when you register," she suggests. "You'll have to do less returning. After a wedding, you have more time to return gifts, but you don't want to be doing that with a new baby."

    Baby Shower Etiquette: Ways to Say What You Want

    Fortunately, many modern baby showers are hosted by close friends of the mother- or parents-to-be, which usually makes it easier to be upfront (or drop hints) about any issues you have strong feelings about. Close friends are also likely to have a pretty good sense of your taste.

    But what if your hostess is planning a traditional pink-and-white girl shower and you hate pink? What if she's got her heart set on games that involve chocolate pudding in a diaper, but the thought of that turns your stomach?

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