Pink icing or blue?

Pink icing or blue?

Technology has taken a lot of the mystery out of life.

Storms arrive on schedule. Cars drive themselves. Our phones tell us who’s calling, when the Cardinals’ game starts and not to forget the milk.

And for years now, parents have been able to find out the gender of their babies long before the Blog Photoblessed event.

I remember fighting off friends who wanted us to find out whether we were having a boy or girl when we were expecting. They said it would be more practical. We wanted to be surprised. Besides, it didn’t seem like nearly as much fun to learn the news through a sonogram.

Not that I wasn’t tempted — especially when I was trying to choose nursery bedding that wasn’t too girly or too boyish. My husband will tell you that my family has trouble making decisions: “Wurthing it” is now a verb.

I’m not sure how many people wait anymore, but the whole “gender reveal” thing has taken on a life of its own. There’s an entire category on Pinterest devoted to it (with 112 pins).

Parents will invite friends over to watch them a) pop a balloon b) slice into a cake c) open a can of paint or d) smash a pinata to see what color is inside — pink or blue. Or perhaps both?

Pinterest has lots of ideas for your gender reveal party — fancy invitations (“Bow or Beau? Soon you will know”); themes ("Guns or glitter?" "Ties or tutus?"); pink and blue snacks, and party favors. One host provided bows and mustaches for guests to choose, depending on their prediction.

Here’s the drill: You go to your five-month checkup and ask your doctor or nurse to write down the baby’s gender and seal it in an envelope. You then take said envelope to the balloon store or bakery or whatever, and ask the nice people there to bake a cake or make an arrangement that you can open later, with family and friends.

I learned of this trend last year, when my niece was expecting her second child. She took the envelope to the florist, who filled a garbage bag with balloons and sealed it. My niece and her husband recorded themselves opening the bag on Mother’s Day with their 3-year-old son, so they could share it on YouTube with the grandparents.

First, they all guessed the gender of “Camel” — the name their son had chosen for his baby sibling. They all said boy. They were all wrong. They opened the bag, and pink balloons floated out.

“Camel is a girl!” the 3-year-old exclaimed, then promptly started chasing pink balloons around the room. The grandparents were thrilled.

Missy Holste, owner of Sweet Indulgence Bakery in Champaign, gets a request at least once a month Blog Photofor pink or blue cakes for baby-reveal parties.

“It seems like it’s getting more popular just in the last year, even," she said. "Now it seems like a regular thing."

Her customers will bring over the envelope with the sex of the baby inside. The bakery makes a pink or blue cake and ices it in with “some cute little saying on the top in pink and blue,” she said.

Last week cake decorator Hannah Vossenkemper prepared a dozen and a half mini-cupcakes for some new parents-to-be, filling each with a squirt of blue icing and covering the tops with neutral white (and pink and blue sprinkles). She carefully crossed out the word “boy” on the order ticket with a black marker, just in case the parents saw it when they were picking up the cupcakes.

Some parents blend the idea with their favorite theme — i.e., Illini football. At the recent UI game against Texas State, one tailgating couple ordered a sheet cake iced with a football field featuring a pink and blue helmet and the words “Boy?” and “Girl?” in either end zone. (Not sure which was the Illini end.) Inside, blue icing separated the two layers, in honor of their baby boy.

Jamie Pruitt, a nurse-practitioner at Carle Clinic’s obstetrics and gynecology department, estimated about 70 percent of her patients opt to find out their baby’s gender before the baby’s birth. It’s grown much more common over the last decade, she said.

For some it’s practicality: they don’t want a bunch of green and yellow baby clothes. Stores may be adapting to this trend.

“It’s hard to find gender-neutral stuff these days,” Pruitt said.

Most parents who find out want the answer right away, she said, even if they plan an event to surprise Blog Phototheir friends. But some ask for the sealed envelope.

Parents get pretty creative. Some have friends squirt pink or blue paint inside a balloon, and they pop the balloon. In one case the parents wore white t-shirts and had their daughter squirt them with the appropriately colored paint, Pruitt said.

I still think I’d go for the surprise at the end. I’ll never forget seeing my son’s face for the first time, so much like my dad, who had passed away after a long illness while I was pregnant. Nothing could replace that moment of joy after so many months of sorrow.

There are still traditionalists like me out there who just want the thrill of the surprise.

“It’s very neat to be in on the delivery when people don’t know,” Pruitt said. “That’s incredibly exciting.”

Sections (1):Living
Topics (2):Health Care, People


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cgirl wrote on September 30, 2014 at 9:09 am

Great now we can begin gender stereotyping before the kid's even born. Heck only halfway developed!

I'm hoping I never have to go through one of these, baby showers are awkward enough. Anyone have suggestions on how to get out of this sort of thing somewhat tactfully?

rsp wrote on September 30, 2014 at 9:09 am

Go, leave early. Bring a truck for a girl, a doll for a boy but not a barbie. A baby doll they can wrap up and hold. Even better bring both, make sure the doll will fit in the truck. Boys who have a chance to play with dolls make better fathers.

Julie Wurth wrote on September 30, 2014 at 10:09 am
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I have to say I was a little taken aback by some of the themes - especially "Guns or glitter?"