I am a horrible person: New Baby Edition
June 16, 2011 12:58 PM   Subscribe

I flaked out on a friend's new-baby acknowledgment... for two months! Exactly how much of a transgression is this, and what (if anything) can I do to mitigate the damage?

The friend in question is a grad-school buddy with whom I was once medium-close, and with whom I've since been in touch on a once-a-year-phonecall basis. I was totally excited when she let me know about her pregnancy, and had this cool idea for a neat handmade baby-name gift I was going to send... and then, what with the baby arriving in the middle of a super-busy work period, and various unexpected problems with materials and design, I guess I let the perfect become the enemy of the good, as they say. I've certainly been thinking fondly of her the whole time, cooing over all the baby pictures online, and working steadfastly on finishing the wretched gift (which should have taken all of four hours, were it not for my own ADHD-having, overbooked, super-disorganized ways)-- but as matters stand it's still sitting half-completed in the middle of my workbench, and I woke up in a cold sweat last night with the realization that it had been TWO WHOLE MONTHS with nary a word from me of any sort about the baby.

At this point, the guilt and avoidance is getting to be a problem in its own right, so here's my question: just how bad is this? And what's to be done at this point? The friend in question has had some exposure in the past to my general problems with lateness in responding, so I doubt she's surprised, but still... eesh. Have I crossed some sort of deadline where it's no longer possible to send the ordinary congratulations? Should I-- can I-- do anything extra to make up for the lateness? Can this semi-friendship be saved?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (22 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'd say send a card and whatever you originally wanted to send. She's probably so sleep deprived she has no idea what day it is anyway.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 1:02 PM on June 16, 2011 [14 favorites]

call her. congratulate her. talk about baby. tell her you've been working on the gift, and it will come soon. then finish said gift and send it!
posted by sabh at 1:02 PM on June 16, 2011 [6 favorites]

Dude, just finish the gift and send it with a card that says, "Sorry I ran a bit behind- little Marcellus is such a wonderful addition to your family!"

Maybe do it this weekend.

I promise- your friend has a newborn and she has not given your lack of a card or gift a second thought. She's lucky if she has second thoughts right now.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 1:02 PM on June 16, 2011 [15 favorites]

It's not bad at all. Your friend hasn't had time to think about you for two months. Spend the two hours to complete it this week, then drop her a nice note of congratulations and ask if she's settled enough to receive visitors, because if she is, you're coming over and you're bringing dinner.
posted by IanMorr at 1:03 PM on June 16, 2011 [3 favorites]

It depends on your friend. I had a baby 10 months ago and I have a couple of friends who still haven't seen him (one lives about a 15-minute walk from here). It happens. I know that my friends still have lives. I look forward to catching up with them when we all have a chance to get together, and I certainly don't have any hard feelings. Time flies, it's a fact.

Also what the others said - your friend doesn't know what day it is. She would love to hear from you, I'll bet.
posted by rubbish bin night at 1:04 PM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

call her, all she wants is to talk to an adult!
posted by katypickle at 1:05 PM on June 16, 2011 [4 favorites]

Since you say your friend knows your problems with lateness in responding...while you've waited kind of long to give your congrats on the baby I don't think you're in that bad of a situation. I would go ahead and finish making your gift at soon as possible. And then send it with a heart felt note apologizing for the tardiness and explaining how busy you've been with work but say that this is no excuse. Then follow up with a phone call shortly after you know she's received the gift. I think this will be enough. If you guys talked on the phone all the time and you hung out more often but then lost contact for two months right after she had the baby then maybe you'd have a lot to be worried about. But you guys aren't in that close of contact to begin with since you say you only talk on the phone once a year. She'll forgive you. It'll all work out. Just get that gift out to her and follow up. Hope this helps.
posted by ljs30 at 1:07 PM on June 16, 2011

Relax. Breathe. You are not a bad friend. Since your friend has a two month old, they have other more pressing concerns, like a dire need for sleep.

Frogive yourself if you need to and finish the gift. the call your friend and give her the gift that she will realy appreciate: time with another adult.
posted by Verdant at 1:12 PM on June 16, 2011 [2 favorites]

The first big wave of congrats is over---but the baby is doing new fascinating things everyday that the parents are dying to talk about!

Your interest isn't late---it's right on time!
posted by vitabellosi at 1:13 PM on June 16, 2011 [2 favorites]

Don't wake up in a cold sweat over stuff like this! I know its easier said than done but seriously it isn't a bad thing. Get the gift finished, write a little note and post it.

I guess someone in your past has made a big deal over small stuff and it has stuck with you. Your last two questions are super OTT! Grab a beer and chill out :0)
posted by aqueousdan at 1:15 PM on June 16, 2011

Drop her a nice note of congratulations and ask if she's settled enough to receive visitors, because if she is, you're coming over and you're bringing dinner.

This. Bringing dinner to new parents will make up for just about anything.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 1:16 PM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

This isn't a big deal. I mean, it isn't ideal, but she's your friend. She'll understand a simple explanation that time got away from you and you were busy.

It's never too late to congratulate someone and wish them well. Get on it!
posted by inturnaround at 1:25 PM on June 16, 2011

It's a baby gift from a friend who calls once a year. My wife and I are expecting a little one in the near future, and we have plenty of people asking about the baby-to-be, giving us baby things, etc. I expect we'll continue to receive baby gifts for a while after the baby is born (because babies are cute, baby things are cute, buying gifts for people is nice, so buying baby gifts is great -- at least, that's what I've seen from other friends with new babies).

Don't freak out, relax. Everyone likes gifts, no matter when they come. Just make sure it's large enough for a slightly older than just-born baby.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:28 PM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Aw crap, that reminds me. The toy I crocheted for my baby nephew has been sitting on an end table for three months now.

I bet your friend isn't even expecting a baby gift, and will be thrilled with both your consideration and the thing you're making. Call or send a card now with your congratulations, and mention that you're working on a gift but it's taking a little longer than you thought.

(Doesn't sound like it's clothing, but if it is, make it for at least a six-month-old anyway. New parents get a lot of newborn-sized stuff that they can only use for a couple months, because tiny babies grow fast!)
posted by Metroid Baby at 1:38 PM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

It's not that bad. Call your friend. Send the gift. Send a six-month outfit if you are so inclined. While unpacking baby clothes for baby #2 this past weekend I noted once again that we have three times as many "newborn" clothes as "3 month" clothes, because people LOVE getting teeny newborn stuff!

(On preview, what Metroid Baby said on sizes.)

She is not keeping track (I mean, other than to write TY notes), especially from more-distant friends. The initial frenzy has worn off, she'll probably be delighted to talk to you now that there's less interest. Just say, "It was super-busy at work and I kept spacing out on calling -- but you've been busier than SIX of me, how are YOU doing?"
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:18 PM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

I don't think I got baby gifts from anyone but family and local, see-them-once-a-week friends, but the little dude is 7 months old and I'd still think that a gift was very sweet. I can guarantee that she's not keeping score though, especially with a handmade gift.
posted by tchemgrrl at 2:26 PM on June 16, 2011

My family has a reputation for being so late to get people wedding presents that they usually end up getting them baby presents instead.

Tell her what you told us in your askme. I think we've all been in this boat in some way or another.
posted by sciencegeek at 2:27 PM on June 16, 2011

Haha, am I your friend? I had a baby two months ago and have been cocooned in a haze of sleep deprivation and baby, baby, baby. We got so many gifts and so many people from all corners of our lives wanting to meet the kiddo, that I still haven't caught up on thank you cards, baby announcements or responding to people who want to visit. When I have time to dwell on something other than the baby, it is worrying that I haven't gotten those things done.

While I haven't kept track of who has acknowledged the birth, friends from out of town who I haven't seen for a long time are off the hook more so than people who live nearby who or whom I communicate with frequently. About gifts: we got and continue to get loads and loads and loads of baby stuff. Gifts are lovely (particularly homemade ones), but a nice visit, phone call or email means way more than a gift. So if your procrastination on congratulating your friend is because you haven't gotten or finished the gift, I wouldn't worry about it. Just go ahead and call her!
posted by pluckysparrow at 3:01 PM on June 16, 2011

Better late than never. If you don't actually say anything, she has no way of knowing that you've been thinking good thoughts all this time. So write her a note and maybe send a small gift along with it, and mention that you've got something that you would like to give to her the next time you see her, which you hope will be fairly soon. But you need to write that note, stat.

Next time, just write the note and get it over with, then create the 1/12 scale Taj Mahal in chewing-gum or whatever. That way, the perfect won't become the enemy of the good.
posted by tel3path at 3:18 PM on June 16, 2011

write the note asap. also, this is just about the time that all the newborn help starts to fall off, so maybe send her a little special something--a CD, an audiobook, a DVD, some small token.
posted by thinkingwoman at 3:54 PM on June 16, 2011

What others above have said is true. If you've only been in the habit of getting in contact every now and then, I can almost guarantee that she won't be thinking any bad thoughts about you at all. Seriously. She'll love hearing from you and be thrilled with a gift. She's your friend and you're hers! It will all be fine.
posted by h00py at 5:18 AM on June 17, 2011

I HAVE a two month old right now, and I can assure you that I have no secret mental list of who I've heard from or not. If I were to hear from you now, with or without a gift, I'd be nothing but delighted.

Oh, and there are a few people I keeping thinking I need to call about having had a baby, and I feel really badly that I haven't, so it's possible she's feeling the same way.
posted by robinpME at 8:28 AM on June 17, 2011

« Older Is tumble dryer water safe for fish?   |   Salt and Cats - Is Koshered Chicken Making My Cat... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.