On Gender

It’s funny, but I never expected gender reveals to be such a divisive issue.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  Nobody has jumped down my throat for the decision for a surprise delivery, and nobody’s ever been caustic to me.  Still, it seems that there are two very divided camps when it comes to finding out baby’s gender.  The first camp seems to come from the planning angle- wanting to make sure they have specifically gendered nurseries, clothes, etc.  The second camp seems to come from the surprise angle- they look forward to having that big incentive in the final stages of labor.  I suppose it’s hard to be unbiased unless you’ve experienced it both ways, and even then it’s still an opinion.

I thought it might be interesting to share why I made the decision to keep the baby’s gender a secret (and why Mr. Cookie was kind enough to agree) and see what my friends think on the issue- either side.  So, here are my reasons for the surprise.  Of course, this in no way is meant to say I think my way is best.  It is just best for me.

Decor Many on the opposite side of the debate wonder at how I can do such things as get a nursery ready and buy clothes.  I’ve never been entranced by highly gendered rooms, either for babies, children, or adults.  I guess it’s most important to me that a space be functional.  Form can follow that.  For example, given the choice of pink paisley, blue sailboats, or a mixture of bright, cheerful colors and animals, I would choose the bright colors any day.  I can’t wait for the nursery to be finished and to be able to post pictures!  Look at these adorable bookends I ordered:

That’s a stock photo, as we have neither the bookshelf nor the books for them yet.  But how cute are they?  I am in love.

Clothing Surprisingly, I have a modest amount of clothing already.  Hand-me-downs and a couple personal purchases have certainly helped.  I’m not too worried about the colors my child is wearing and, while I will probably buy clothes after the baby is born (or, if friends who also had delivery surprises are any indication, will receive plenty of “gendered” clothes post birth), I am okay with blues and yellows and greens.  I even saw an awesome onesie in a boutique about a year back that was pink, and on the chest is said “What?  Boys can wear pink too!”  I kind of wanted it, even though I was not pregnant and had no reason to think I would ever actually even have a boy.  I’m still a little sad that I didn’t buy it.  My husband wears pink, and he looks really good in it.  Why couldn’t a son?  Of course, there is the excitement of gendered clothes.  Don’t think that I will keep my child in gender neutrals forever!  There are too many adorable sweater vests or polka dot tights to be worn.  I just don’t feel like I need to have my child’s entire first year of clothing purchased before s/he is here. Look at this adorable outfit I got for the baby’s coming home:

Big Items Back when I first started teaching, there was another teacher who was pregnant.  She had decided not to find out what she was having, and one of her reasons for it made a ton of sense to me.  I hadn’t given it a lot of thought up until then, but that sealed the decision in my mind.  Her thinking was that if you knew what you were having, people would be really tempted to buy you gender specific things- strollers, car seats, play gyms, swings, etc that you may or may not want to use with subsequent children who happened to be a different gender (she even knew people who had registered for gender neutral stuff but had been gifted very gendered stuff instead).  There are some things on my registry that are labeled as “boy” items, but I think they just happened to be gender neutral by my estimation.  Maybe I’m destined to have tomboys?  Or girly girls who resent being surrounded by “boy” things.  Probably the latter.  And, that’s okay.  I will take that in stride.  But I doubt my newborn is going to be offended that her bib (assuming she’s a girl) has an alligator on it and comes from the “boy” bib collection.

Name  I like the idea of having to come up with two names (check back when discussions have really begun in earnest and we’ll see if that’s still how I feel).  Either way, the baby’s name will be a secret until birth!

Announcement Finally, and this is the reason that really clinched it for me.  I am in love with the image of giving birth to the baby, having him or her placed on my chest, and having my husband announce the gender.  You can bet that will be part of my birth plan (at least the announcement part- if I have a c-section I realize they won’t be putting the baby on my chest).  I love the idea that Mr. Cookie will have such an important job as soon as the baby’s born.  I am very excited to hear from my own husband that first bit of information about our child.

 

Now, all of this said, I was one of the more obnoxious commenters on facebook a couple days ago when one of my friends was going in for her gender scan.  I surprised myself at how impatient I was!  And, honestly, I have no idea what we’ll decide to do with the next child.  Maybe since I was so adamant this time I’ll let Mr. Cookie decide next time.  I know it’ll be fun either way.

So, I’m really interested in hearing from my readers- did you find out, didn’t you?  If you didn’t, why not?  With future children, do you plan to find out?  What is your reasoning for finding out (or not)?  Do you ever feel like people just “don’t get it” when you tell them your decision (either way)?

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The Great Baby Pay Day

We all know that we live in a country that strongly endorses spending lots and lots of money (isn’t it patriotic or something?).  Thank you, Target, for getting your Valentine’s Day stuff out.  I was beginning to worry that I wouldn’t be able to buy Mr. Cookie a schmaltzy “be mine” card and matching gift bag in time for the holiday.  Nowhere does this seem to be more true than when it comes to babies.  Mr. Cookie and I put a lot of thought into registering.  After all, this is our first baby and we would like to be able to reuse whatever we get.  We’d also like to be able to use whatever we get.  We’d also like for me not to wind up on the show Hoarders (or in a mental institution screaming “I need order!”).  So, I did a bunch of research that included talking to new moms and checking books out of the library then put my research to use by scanning Craigslist for big items (huzzah $70 crib, $60 co-sleeper with leg extensions, sheets, and mattress protector included and $50 glider!) and beginning a registry.  There are definitely things on the registry that are not in the NEED category on the registry, but nothing prepared me for our trip to the big baby store.

We’d started a registry online, and were quite pleased with ourselves when we walked into Babies ‘R’ Us to finish it up by picking out some final things that we wanted to see in person.  We strode over to the registry desk, confidence personified, and asked the lady for a scanning gun.  20 minutes later, and armed finally with said gun and a “registering guide” that made my eyes go cross eyed, we stumbled away from the desk, lost and confused.  I mean, just look at the sheer magnitude of this list:

Did you know that the average baby shower guest purchases 5 items?  So, register for lots of lots of stuff to help those guests out!  Now, obviously you can’t read this list because there’s just so much of it and it’s teeny tiny.  Don’t worry, I will tell you some of the highlights.  You need to know that this is labeled the “must-haves” list.  I quiver to think of what the “really-wants” list would look like.  According to this list, you NEED:  wall hanging, decals, and wall border; window valance and switch plate cover; car seat toys (not to be confused with activity toys, cribs toys, stroller toys, or rattles); 1-2 rain covers (really, one wasn’t enough?  Or better yet, maybe I could just not take the stroller out when it’s raining??); 1-2 stroller netting(s) (where do we live?  Central America?); full size swing AND travel swing; mobile walker (umm… weren’t these deemed a safety hazard 20 gazillion years ago?); 3-6 cotton overalls (overalls!  My baby is a farmer and must be dressed like one every day of the week!)… the list goes on (and on and on and on).

I fear that I have the wrong mindset.  My child is clearly going to grow up deprived because we didn’t register for any of the things listed above.  Oh my god, you guys.  Do they sell economy packs of stroller rain covers and baby overalls?

But seriously, am I overreacting to this?  Is it really not that absurd?  Tell me, because my hormones have been wacky.  I was crying while planning my unit for Esperanza Rising because the story is just so.damn.beautiful.

Also, on a completely unrelated note, I had a theory going into the new year that as soon as we were in 2012, people would stop responding by saying “Oh, you’ve still got a ways to go” and instead start saying “Wow, that’s right around the corner” when finding out my due date (seriously, it’s the number one question people ask me these days).  I was totally right.  I’m nearly into double digits.  24 weeks=50-70% chance of survival, which is super crazy.  And also, super exciting.  Still, stay put, Stowaway!

And finally, for those of you who haven’t seen it via Facebook, here I am looking enormous.

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Brain Fart

So, I mentioned in my last post about how I think my baby is eating my brains.  I’m even more convinced now.  A few days ago, notification came that Mr. Cookie and I had received Amazon gift cards from his family for Christmas.  Wahoo!  As much as I keep telling myself that I need to spend the money on myself (or rather, as much as other people keep telling me), that is really  hard.  1)  I’m bad at thinking of what I want.  2)  Baby stuff is so interesting!

We have some dear friends coming to visit us in a couple weeks from NYC.  They’ll be bringing their kids, including a one year old.  I decided it would be way awesome if I had all the stuff I needed for the crib so they wouldn’t have to lug their pack ‘n’ play with them.  And, you know, I’m nesting or something.  So, I hopped on Amazon and ordered a mattress, some sheets, and a bumper (the mesh kind).  Then, yesterday I went to track the packages.  The good news is they’re on track to be delivered tomorrow or Thursday.  The bad news is that… they’re going to our old house.

Cue to a frantic email to our old landlords, who kindly put us in contact with the new tenants, who are graciously going to hold on to our stuff so I can go pick it up.  But seriously?  Brain?  Enough already.  Get your act together.

Oh yeah, and how cute are these sheets I ordered?  I got the two on top.  LOVE.  Dan and Andrea, any preference?  🙂

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Notes on a Baby Half Baked

Tomorrow is 20 weeks.  20!  That’s, like, halfway or something (yes, I realize the first two don’t really count and there will probably be some extra at the end, but I’m not counting those two things).  Halfway, yay!!  I deserve a prize.

Here is a bulleted list of exciting things that have happened lately:

  •  I am now feeling the baby’s movements more regularly.  As I type this, Stowaway is practicing a game s/he likes to call “beat up Mommy.”  Still, Stowaway is a little picky and will only perform such tricks for me.  Mr. Cookie felt vague movements once, but so far every time there is a spate of kicking, as soon as I call Mr. C over to feel it, it stops.  Boo.
  • The heartburn that I had been experiencing pretty regularly seems to have abated for now.  Huzzah!
  • I’ve noticed that my belly button is now getting shallower, and consequently the scar from a laparoscopic procedure I had about ten years ago is becoming more obvious.  This fascinates me for some reason.
  •  I have now made an agreement with Stowaway:  s/he will promise to be under 13 pounds, and I will take “Jihad” off my list of possible names.

I think that is all for now.  This promises to be our last quiet weekend before the holidays, so maybe I’ll finally get those belly shots up that we’ve been taking since something like week 10 and haven’t managed to actually post yet.  You never know!

EDIT:  All my life, I have astounded people with my ability to remember finite details of events long past.  I have a really good memory, and until lately that has included short and long term.  Lately, it’s as if my fetus is eating my brains (Attack of the Zombie Fetus.  I’m calling Hollywood).  What was I saying?  Oh yeah.  Today at lunch, I unpacked not one, but two Chobani Black Cherry yogurts from my bag.  Hmmm.  I distinctly remember opening the fridge this morning and thinking “huh, I thought we had more of those left” as I grabbed  a yogurt and tossed it into my lunch bag.  Apparently we did, because I’d already packed one (most likely seconds before, since I was in a hurry this morning).  Silly me.  Silly pregnancy.

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Top Searches Head Scratchers

Umm, I just needed to add, for the person who googled “I got my cousin pregnant” and somehow stumbled on my blog, I’m really sorry for your predicament (unless it was on purpose, in which case… congratulations?).  Now I’m dying to know what post triggered my blog to show up on that search.  Also,  how many pages deep must this person have had to go to find my blog???

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The Devito Inside

I bet you thought you were going to see ultrasound pictures today, didn’t you?  Well, you were wrong.  Let me start by saying that everything looks good, the baby is healthy and growing and, as of yesterday, headbutting me in the cervix (which, while annoying, was vindication for me saying all day that I was feeling a lot of pressure there). 

And yes, we are having a… human!  Surprise!  There’s still only one, so things are pretty great.  It was very touching and bla bla bla.  Now, on to the real meat of this post.

You guys, I think that I have a smaller version of this in my stomach (albeit, with fewer clothes):

Now, let me explain.  The technician was not very talkative at all.  She was very curt with her answers, not at all like the friendly and informative one we had last time.  And, that’s fine- I realize I’m an annoying first time mom and maybe she was having a bad day.  But, I’m a doer, not a whiner, and so I’ve had to come to my own conclusions (warning:  do not try this at home without adult supervision).  Okay.   According to the venerable internet, the baby should be between 15.3 and 16.4 cm (baby is 14.4)  and should also be between 8.47 and 10.58 oz (baby is 11 oz).  Those are the measurements for 19 and 20 weeks, respectively, and I am 19 weeks, 4 days.  Herm.  So, basically, according to doctor google, my baby is shorter than average and chubbier than average.

Baby Devito, would you like it if Mommy ate a hard boiled egg now (those of you who watch It’s Always Sunny should get that reference)?

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Holiday Happiness

When you join forces with another person, there are so many logistics to figure out.  Who will we visit for this holiday?  How do you prefer laundry to be done (a good answer to this one is “however you would like, since you’re nice enough to do it”)? How should we decorate our living space?  This will, inevitably, lead to many fights or, at a minimum, disagreements.  Until you stumble on the things that you can wholeheartedly agree on.  Like that Crest paste is great toothpaste.  Or that the right side of the bed really can be mine.  Or that Christmas decorating needs to happen the day after Thanksgiving.

In Mr. Cookie’s house, this was always the way.  In our family, we waited an agonizing two weeks (at least) before Christmas came to our home.  The first year we lived together, I met Mr. Cookie’s suggestion to decorate the Friday after Thanksgiving with some trepidation.  Since then, there is no turning back.  It is such a nice tradition, and such a great way to prolong the togetherness that Thanksgiving brings.  So, yesterday, without fail, Mr. Cookie headed off to the hardware store to purchase lights and other decorations for the outside of our house.  He hung one string (and then rehung it because it was backwards) only to decide that he didn’t like how it didn’t match the icicle lights he’d gotten for the side porch.  Here he is working hard hanging the lights the first time (the ones we wound up later exchanging):

Off to exchange the icicle lights for ones that would hopefully match. When that failed to work, he went back to the store for a third and final time to exchange the lights in front for more icicles.  It was a little more expensive but so worth it!  I went with him on one of his three trips to the store and we picked out a snowman, a wreath, a kissing ball, and some other things to supplement the garland he had purchased earlier.

Here is the result (finished around 10:15 last night):

There is still a little work to be done (namely, we need candles for the windows), but I am really excited to be the first on our block to have our lights up and I just know that there is a kid somewhere who is looking at our  house and starting to pester stubborn parents about decorating early.  🙂  Next weekend:  REAL tree (finally- one of those things we couldn’t agree on at first) and decorating the inside.

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