The first gender reveal party I attended was in our front hallway.
It was what you would call low-key.
Our expectant daughter-in-law arrived with a box of homemade cookies. She's not a baker, so my antennae were up.
The cookies had pink frosting. I got it. Very cute.
The rest of the family just helped themselves to the cookies and said thanks.
Gender reveal parties are far bigger events these days. Some hire professional photographers, stream live video and make the big announcement with a fireworks display. All of which makes you wonder what they'll do when the kid passes kindergarten. Surely a coronation will be in order.
Women of my generation had the big reveal in the delivery room. Our party guests were masked medical personnel. The party theme colors were hospital green and more hospital green. The only drinks served were ice chips, and appetizers were strictly forbidden.
It was a good system. Most of the time.
When our second baby was finally born, I said, "Oh, it's another boy!"
The nurse-midwife said, "No, it's a girl."
"But it looked like a boy."
"That was the umbilical cord, dear. You had a long labor."
Our middle one knew the sex of their twins early on because they do ultrasounds every 10 minutes when you are a high risk pregnancy expecting multiples. They knew it was two boys. Or maybe a boy and a girl. Or maybe two girls. And they were. Two girls.
She didn't want to know the sex of their third baby. She wanted to be surprised.
Our youngest is the first to have an actual gender reveal party. It was a small family affair. We were to choose a blue or pink clothespin when we entered to signify our guess as to the baby's sex. Nobody's going to make me vote against a grandbaby before the baby is even born. I took one of each and prepared for a win/win.
A family friend had been given the ultrasound technician's note as to the baby's sex and bought an outfit, which the expectant couple slowly pulled from a gift bag. The first thing I saw was black and white stripes.
That's different, I thought. We still don't know if it is a boy or a girl, but apparently the baby is a convict. Ultrasounds have sure progressed from my day. Then they pulled out the entire outfit and it had bright pink trim. What a relief. Turns out it's going to be a girl.
Our daughter, a kindergarten teacher, took the gift bag and little outfit to school the next day to share with her students who had been asking if the baby was a boy or a girl.
"Who can guess what I'm going to pull out of this bag?" she asked.
A little girl yelled, "A BABY!"
If only it were that easy.
(Lori Borgman is the author of "My Memory is Shot, All I Retain Now is Water." Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org; or on Twitter @loriborgman. Distributed by MCT Information Services.)