Grandmama Zen: Trending gender reveal party for pregnant mothers relies on accurate ultrasound
What is a gender reveal shower?
In today's high tech age, ultrasounds have become so accurate, the sex of an unborn child can be reliably verified around 20 weeks. Twenty weeks marks the halfway point for a very long gestation period of anticipation, culminating in delivery. To break this tedious time into manageable pieces, an anonymous but creative person originated the Gender Reveal party.
Gender Reveal parties are mixed gender baby showers where the sex of the fetus is made known to close family and friends. It is perhaps the most exciting shower event; in most cases, the parents do not know the gender of their impending child either! They choose to share the surprise with beloved guests.
How do the parents not know, you may ask? Aren't they present during the ultrasound? Doesn't the technician share with them the baby's gender?
Yes they are present, but not, the technician does not share the news, if parents do not wish to receive it. In the case of our Mom and Dad, a very reliable ultrasound technician with twenty years experience and 100% accuracy read the ultrasound, identifying the sex. Word had it, "She was 100% sure."
Mom brought with her an envelope and a card. The technician went into another room, wrote the sex on the card and, just to be sure it could not be read, held to the light, folded it in half and in half again before inserting the notation into the envelope. She then sealed the envelope and handed it over.
Mom and Dad gave this sealed envelope to a favorite Aunt, who opened it in a locked bathroom. This Aunt baked a layered cake and, the next morning, frosted the inside layers with a color symbolizing the sex of the baby. Mom had specified the classic blue for a boy and pink for a girl. Before Aunt would allow anyone into the kitchen, she smothered the cake and its colored frosting with thick meringue, adorable cutouts and the words "He She Open to see!"
This cake became the party's centerpiece- it was stunning!
The party theme was "We're Going on a Gender Hunt", based off a popular children's book by Helen Oxenbury and Michael Rosen. The plan was to pit boys against girls; to track the winners on a big poster. At the end of the shower, we figured it would be fun to see how closely the party results matched results of our gender competition.
We set up a variety of games, warming up with quiet games and working toward more active ones that would be less intimidating once participants got to know each other. At the end of each game, a big "X" in the appropriate column marked the winner "BOYS" or "GIRLS".
Of course, in the end, it was winner take all- let the cake decide.
What follows is a copy of the invitation, detailed descriptions of the games, including a list of Old Wives' Tales, a video illustrating all the fun, and the final result!
Invitations and Party Plan.
The invitation read, "Wrap up a favorite picture book for (Mom) and (Dad)'s baby, then come help us test old wives' tales and pit boys against girls to discover its gender!"
The cover of Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury's magical picture book, "We're Going on a Bear Hunt" inspired the card. We asked guests to bring their favorite picture books, so this theme seemed doubly appropriate. (I didn't worry about copyrights, because I was promoting this picture book to people who would be buying books. I rationalized that it was free advertising.)
Games were led by siblings and cousins of the Mom. Dad's family was across the country. Each leader received a letter spelling out what was required for their game. Equipment was provided by shower coordinators, but the leaders needed to know what objects their game required.
A list of Old Wives' Tales was printed for each guest, so that they could circle what they believed to be the correct answer. As the answers were read, each guest corrected their own answers.
When the guests arrived, they were given a folder containing these printouts, a party timeline and a pen. Each folder had a pre-printed name tag paper clipped to the outside. (This helped the hostess figure out who had arrived and who hadn't- extra bonus!)
Beneath the name tag was a printed business card requesting that each guest flip the card over and write down the origin of their first name. These business cards were attached to their gifts with cute stickies. Later in the party, as Mom opened the gifts, she had to guess which guest belonged to which explanation. This generated conversation!
Near the cake, was a poster showing four ultrasound photos. Guests were asked to view these photos and determine whether the baby was a boy or a girl. Pink and blue index cards had been cut into quarters. Guests placed the color of their choice into a gift bag beneath the ultrasound poster.
Old Wives' Tales Handout.
Old Wives' Tales Questionnaire.
This flyer is reprinted to the right- sorry it is blurry. This is how it read:
Many Old Wives’ Tales predict the sex of a baby before it is born. Here are a few of our favorites! Answer each question as you think Mom (or Dad) might answer it. There are some intentionally vague questions! Just circle your answer– they will all be explained later, promise! Please have your answers circled by 2:43 pm, then gather near the television and prepare to score them yourself...
1. Carrying high or carrying low?
2. Eating more or sick/nauseated?
3. Craving sweet or salty foods?
4. Sleeping on left or right side?
5. Father of the baby has or has not put on weight during the pregnancy?
6. Round or long?
7. Even or odd?
8. Chinese birth chart says boy or girl?
9. Complexion breaking out or not?
10. Crabby or happy?
11. Over or under 140?
12. Hands: chapped or soft?
13. Clumsy or graceful?
Warming up the guests.
Managing Old Wives' Tales Answers.
Our goal as party planners was to involve our guests as much as possible. To that end, I typed the following answers on a sheet of paper and cut them up- one per slice of paper. (I added extra Old Wives' Tales onto the end of the chosen 13, because they were hilarious. The laughter was priceless. Even the guys laughed.)
Then I folded these snippets of paper and placed them in a pink and blue gift bag. Once everyone had arrived and filled out their forms--we set a silly time (2:43 sharp) for them to be finished-- my co-host called everyone to gather before the BOYS vs. GIRLS poster while I walked through the crowd inviting guests to draw a slip of paper from the bag.
The co-host read each question on the printout (1-13). The person who had drawn the slip of paper that was numbered the same as the question she read, read the Old Wives' Tale answer. Then Mom (or Dad) read the answer she had circled.
Here are the answers to the questions listed above:
1. Carrying high or carrying low? If (Mom) is carrying high she is having a girl. If low, it will be a boy. Hmm, is the baby resting closer to your ribs or your hip bones, Mom? (Hard to tell? Well, if the hair on your legs has been growing at record speed, you are having a boy…)
2. Eating more or sick/nauseated? If Mom is having a smooth pregnancy with no morning sickness, it’s a boy. If she has often been sick or felt really nauseous during the pregnancy, count on a girl. (Unless we are talking headaches; headaches indicate a boy.)
3. Craving sweet or salty foods? Old Wives believe that if you are craving salty food while pregnant, you can count on having a boy. If you crave sweets, fruit, and orange juice, you are having a little girl. (But if your urine is bright yellow, it will be a little boy… or if your feet are colder now that you are pregnant.)
4. Sleeping on left or right side? If a pregnant woman prefers to lay on her left side, she’s having a boy. If she prefers resting on her right side, she’s having a girl. (What if she lays on her back? While sleeping, if she dreams of a girl, she is having a boy… and if she dreams of having a boy, it will be a girl. It doesn't say what it will be if Daddy dreams it is a boy…)
5. Baby’s daddy has or has not also gained weight during pregnancy? If the dad-to-be gains weight during the pregnancy, it’s a girl. If he doesn't gain weight, then it will be a boy. (If Daddy was more aggressive in bed, it will be a girl… haHA! That is what Old Wives claim and they know all…)
6. Round or long? When a pregnant mom’s face gets full and round, it means she is having a girl. If it is long and narrow, it is a boy... (If it’s too early to tell, try picking up a key… pause for this one... If she picks it up by the round end, she is having a boy. If she picks it up at the bottom, she is having a girl.)
7. Even or odd? This Mayan tale adds the mother’s age at conception and the year of conception. If the result is an odd number, then a boy is on the way. If it is even, then mom is having a girl.
8. Chinese birth chart says boy or girl? The “Chinese Gender Chart" claims to have an accuracy rate of 93%. It is based on the mother’s lunar age- determined by an online “Lunar AgeCalculator"- and the month that she conceived. (For our mom, the square is bright pink! Grandma checked it for accuracy and her three kid's sex predictions were completely accurate.)
9. Complexion-- breaking out or not? If you have acne while pregnant, it’s a girl. It’s thought that acne during pregnancy is caused by the extra hormones… Basically, you are having a girl if your beauty disappears during pregnancy. It is said that a girl “steals” her mother’s beauty. If you think that pregnancy has never made you look more beautiful, you might be having a little boy!
10. Crabby or happy? If Mom is really moody, she is having a girl because she has extra girl hormones. If she is smiling and happy, she is having a boy. (Because there’s a little penis inside, the Old Wives' Tale says… Honest! That’s what it says!!!)
11. Over or under 140? If the baby’s heart rate is above 140 beats per minute, it is said that the baby will be a girl. If it is under 140 bpm, then it will be a boy. (By the way, if a toddler boy expresses interest in a pregnant woman, she is having a girl. If he doesn't show interest, she’s having a boy… or the toddler may be gay.)
12. Hands chapped or soft? If your hands are constantly dry, it’s a boy. If they are soft, it’s a girl. (But if your nose is growing and getting wider, you might be having a boy… and if, when mom looks at her hands to see if they are chapped or not... pause for mom to demonstrate... she immediately turns her palms down, it’s a boy. If she first puts her palms up, it’s a girl.)
13. Clumsy or graceful? If the pregnant women is graceful throughout her pregnancy, she is having a girl. If she becomes clumsy, she’s having a boy.( Perhaps this is because if your legs get really big, you’re having a boy. But if your legs stay in shape and lean, it’s a girl…)
Extra answer. Bottom line? If both parents can only agree on a boy’s name, it’s a boy. If they can only agree on a girl’s name, it’s a girl… What names do you agree on, Mom? Dad?
**Whatever Mom said was the correct answer** and guests scored their sheets accordingly. In the end, Mom's answers swung toward "BOY" so a large X was placed in the poster's BOY column.
I emailed this letter to Relay Leaders, a week before the shower began:
To Relay Leaders
The Relay portion of the party will be a simple division of BOYS against GIRLS. No exceptions. Dad will be leader of the Boy Team and Mom will be leader of the Girl team, no matter how skewed the numbers.
We will have five rounds to the Relay and will break between each one. You as leaders will be responsible to set up what you need for your round, (though I will provide everything). If the weather is good, we will have all the game stuff on the porch. Otherwise, I will set it up by the fireplace. You will be responsible to tally the winner of your round on a large poster I will have on display-- BOYS versus GIRLS.
Here are the Rounds in order of occurrence, name of person leading the Round and description of what is to occur- please feel free to email any questions!!! We figure this will take an hour and run from 2:53 to 3:53…
1. J will manage the CEREAL BOX RELAY. He will call everyone together and ask them to stand in a circle around an empty cereal box. In a boy then girl fashion, each participant will go to the cereal box, lean over without touching the floor with hands or knees, and pick up the box by the teeth. When everyone has taken their turn, J will rip an inch or so from the top of the box and participants will once again lean down to pick it up with their teeth. Guests are eliminated as they touch the floor with knees or hands or give up. Winning team takes all. (Boys won this round.)
2. T will manage the BALLOON PASS. Teams line up, boys opposite girls. If they are uneven, T will have to decide who goes twice. Five pink and five blue balloons will be inflated and placed in a bucket. Mom and Dad will pass the appropriate color balloon (pink for Girls Team, blue for Boys Team) to their teammates, who must pass them elbows to elbows, (holding the balloon between their elbows). The last person in the line must pop the balloon before Mom and Dad can start passing their next balloon. If a balloon pops before it reaches the end, the balloon is out of play. Winner takes all. (Girls won this round.)
3. P will manage the FOOTBALL TOSS. Team members- again BOYS versus GIRLS- will partner up with one of their fellow teammates, then line up facing Dad (boys) or Mom (girls). The shortest of the pair will stand in front of the taller and slide their arms beneath their partner’s armpits. Mom will get the Bronco beanie ball and Dad, the Redskins beanie ball- they are 8" stuffed round balls. Dad and Mom will toss these balls to each pair on their team. Each pair must catch one toss or take three tries before reversing (taller person in front, shorter behind). When all pairs have moved through the line, the fastest group wins. (Boys won.)
4. A will manage the CHUG BEER FROM A SIPPY CUP Relay. I will color code Sippy cups with beer. I have gluten free beer, root beer and regular beer. On cue, everyone will grab a cup and chug their drink. Then they will remove the lid, set the cup on the table and flip it. First team finished wins. (The beer was very hard to sip. I recommend you do not fill the cups full! and tell the boys NO cheating. They used a key to punch larger holes in their cups. Of course, the Boys won!)
5. K will manage the BABY NAME ROUND. Boy/Girl teams will circle around their leaders Dad or Mom, who will each have a clipboard, pencil and paper with the full first names of Mom and Dad printed in large letters across the top. On cue, team members will begin to shout out baby names using ONLY the letters from Dad or Mom's names. No celebrity baby names like GAIA (Emma Thompson and Greg Wise) or PAX (Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie) will be allowed. At the end of 5 minutes, lists will be read. Mom and Dad can VETO names on the other team’s list, if they do not have the correct letters or if they are celebrity names. Team with most names wins. (Girls won.)
At the end of these rounds, the Boys were ahead. The co-host took out the colored index cards that guests had inserted into a gift bag at the beginning of the shower and counted them. The Boys won this round as well.
The Boys had an "x" across from the Old Wives' Tales game, the Cereal Box Relay, the Football Toss, the Chug Beer Relay and now the index card guess. They beat the girls five to two!
But would the cake frosting agree with this result?
The gals kindly let the guys go outdoors and admire one of the guest's hot new sports car.
Not worrying about whether the guys would be bored (and rude) they circled up. As the gifts were opened, Mom read the tag on the gift, guessing who was named after favorite aunts or confident business women or children's book writers. (This was pretty interesting!)
They kindly applauded each gift, giggled over humorous cards and oohed as tiny newborn clothing appeared.
Dad and his gang joined us for the final gift from the pregnant Mom to the pregnant Dad- a onesie from his favorite team, the Redskins.
Then we all raced to the cake! Would the games prove an accurate predictor of the baby's gender? We would know within minutes!
The cake takes all.
While the games pointed to a boy, the color of the cake's frosting would override all our efforts to guess. We had bonded through all the games and the feeling in the room was one of camaraderie and high pitched excitement. This was the final moment. Everyone grabbed their cameras and gathered around the cake.
Mom and Dad stood behind the table, both holding cake cutters. Mom's face was glowing. They each took one side of the cake and cut.
Chaos erupted. Guests began shouting.
"No, that's from the cutouts!"
"NO, it's blue!"
"It's a BOY!"
Slide show of Gender Shower participants and activities.
Oops! It was really a girl!
Ultrasound Tech goofed!
Labor came hard and fast, yet it took my daughter two days to push out her baby. Turns out the cord held her in place like a seat belt. Finally, the OB doctors performed a Cesarean Section, pulling the baby from the womb without a glance.
The attending nurse exclaimed, "It's a girl!" and the doctors, without looking shrugged her off. "This is our patient. She is having a boy." Again the nurse said, "It's a girl!" holding up what was indeed a girl child. The Ultrasound Tech had never been wrong in seven years...
We were delighted with our Isadora June. It was a grand joke on us and we took it as God's way of reminding us we are not in charge!!!
© 2013 Barbara
More by this Author
The true story of how one young woman totaled her Colorado soaring club's Schweizer 2-33. Mistakes happen when one trusts heroes more than self.
- 7Whatever happened to Bud Cort of Harold and Maude fame; did he get married; what about his friendship with Groucho Marx?
Harold and Maude was a cult film when I was in college. Bud Cort, who played Harold, seemed quirky and melancholy. I was curious; did he remain this way?
It's tough to throw out a pot of food, however, food that has been left out all night may be dangerous to eat.