Saturday, August 28, 2010

Well, that's one way to do it

We went to the doctor for the 20-week checkup, which is typically when the ultrasound technician is able to determine the baby's gender. The techs are used to handling requests from nervous parents who don't want to know the gender of the baby, but we surprised her a bit.
After she probed my wife's belly, checked the baby's vital signs and made sure all its toes and fingers were accounted for, she told us to look away. That's when she printed a picture of the baby's privates and wrote the gender on it for good measure. Then she tucked it away in a sealed envelope.
Almost as soon as she handed us the envelope, we were both tempted to break the seal to see if we were having a Little Boy Bluestein or Little Girl Bluestein. I kept trying to snatch the envelope away as we grabbed a quick bite to discuss which of our family members most wanted a boy and which most wanted a girl.
Luckily, though, I didn't have to resist long.
That night my wife gave the envelope to one of her best friends, Jaime, for safe keeping. Jaime kept it by her side until she drove to a local grocery store the next day and handed it to the baker along with a strange request: Take a look at the picture and bake a cake with blue icing inside if it's a boy and pink icing inside if it's a girl.
At first, I was a bit uncomfortable with the whole idea. It seemed strange sharing such an intimate moment with our closest friends, and even weirder that the baker knew our baby's gender before we did.
Then we figured if we had to find out the baby's sex, we might as well try to share it with many of them at once. And we also thought it would be a nice way to put some of our friends at ease, since we're among the first in our circle to have a baby.
But most of all, Sheryl reminded me that I didn't have much of a say on this one. After all, she's the one carrying the baby.
Our guests started coming over that Saturday night around 7, and two shoes greeted them in our foyer. We asked them to write their names on a slip of paper and tuck it into my giant loafer if they think it's a boy and Sheryl's slender stiletto if they think it's a girl. One lucky winner would take home a prize; a gag gift of baby oil brought by one of the guests.
Over the next few hours, about 50 friends gorged on a dozen pizzas until it was time for dessert. Then we all gathered in our kitchen in front of the massive sheet cake, giving our guests a brief reminder of the import of the moment.
Anticipation mounted as we eyed the icing. We slowly cut into a cake, separating a piece.
I looked. Sheryl looked. I wasn't quite sure. I checked again. She checked again.
Cheers echoed through the house as we saw the pink icing.
It's a girl!