May 12, 2005

Only Your Crib Salesman Knows For Sure

Is this really a New York City trend? Heaven help us all.

Apparently, there are pregnant people who won't find out the sex of their baby beforehand--no news there--but they will let their baby shoppe salespeople know, so they can get all the nursery stuff right in advance. Confused? They pick out all their boy and girl gear at some store, then they tell the store to call the OB--and only order the stuff that matches the baby's gender.

All I can figure:
1) These people are high.
2) The woman who let her mom come in and decorate the nursery behind a padlocked door? High.
3) The salespeople who call about substitutions because some items aren't available, and then mention a bunch of other-gendered items to throw the mom off the scent? High.
4) People who go through months of logistical backflips and mind games in order to perpetuate some pink/blue hegemony? High.
5) Shops like Blue Bench in Tribeca and La Layette and Wicker Garden on the Upper East Side who do this? High.
6) The publicists who landed the same story in NY Magazine the same week? High.

Will It Be a Boy or a Girl? You Could Check the Receipt [nyt]

21 Comments

Yes, far better to go through an elaborate routine of sealed envelope passing, fake shopping and nursery padlocking than, oh, I don't know, maybe having gender neutral colors in the nursery. Nope, couldn't possibly have a taupe glider.

On the "whether or not to find out the gender" front, obviously both positions are fine and there's a lot to be said for tradition, but I've always wondered about the idea expressed in the article: that parents don't want to lose the excitement of finding out at the birth. A birth is a pretty damn exciting event on its own. That lily doesn't need too much gilding. Plus you get to have another entirely exciting moment 20 weeks earlier.

Not to mention it does happen that the doctor can't tell in the ultrasound because the baby refuses to cooperate, OR even worse in some cases the doctor reads the ultrasound WRONG so what do the people get to send back the little boy's stuff and get little girl's stuff when the doctor messes up.

Probably the scariest one is there are times (very rarely) when even after the child is born it is difficult tell the gender. This has happened with my wife when she delivered a child and they couldn't tell if the baby had a penis or a really big clitorus. It turned out that the child was a boy and just needed some hormone therapy to make things grow correctly and should have normal life.

But it makes you wonder.

Oy...just when you think it can't get any worse. Why, exactly, does the child's gender change the way you decorate their room??? Are there lots of cases of offended newborns turning up their (cute little) noses at color schemes that don't follow the Official Gender Decorating Guidelinse? Who came up with these lame color rules? And who do I talk to about starting a foundation to give grant money to parents who don't decorate their kids' rooms in pink or blue? There seems to be a need.

When this issue came up for us, my husband said it's going to be a surprise either way we just need to figure out when we want to find out. We opted for 20 weeks. But our nursery decoration certainly didn't hinge on it since she was sleeping in our room anyway and bedding was going to be purchased at the Carter's Outlet on sale. Have never understood the need for $200 bedding sets esp after the first time she vomitted in bed.

You know, you can wash those sheets.

We knew we'd be going with neutral colors. The real reason we wanted to know early is because we were having such a hard time with coming up with names that if we could eliminate one gender, we could save ourselves a lot of time.

We went with finding out. It didn't change our decorating plans one bit (blue and orange stripes) since we weren't re-painting. Yeah, sounds hideous, but it's really not.

We wanted to know because we didn't want to agonize over two sets of names. And we wanted to have enough time to convince our families that we didn't want or need gender-specific colors but wanted at all costs to avoid "mint" green.

Besides, it's hard to get hand-me-downs if you don't know what to ask for.

If I'm going to carry somebody around for nine months, I'm damned well going to know more about him/her than anyone else does. I agree with the previous poster who said that being a new parent is a big enough surprise.

"Probably the scariest one is there are times (very rarely) when even after the child is born it is difficult tell the gender." Ugh...just when I thought I had all of my pre-birth fears under control. Thanks...thanks a lot.

It happens only in about 1 of every 2,000 births, a.j. And there are for more sensitive, enlightened ways of dealing with it now than there were even a decade ago.

For decorators, though, the solution is simple: order everything in cream.

Sorry about worrying you a.j. but Greg is right it is extremely rare and most doctors know how to handle this.

My wife (not a doctor but a midwife) did such a quick check that only the doctor saw her do it and the he was quite impressed how well she handled it.

They later explained the situation with the parents and like I said there was a way to take care of the situation and the child should live happily ever after ;)

Yes sheets can be changed but once they've been vommitted on or had an explosive diaper occur on them, they're never really the same.

That's true, Sophia's Mum... the same can be said of the parents...

Kaz, can I get your mailing address? I need somewhere to send the bill for the cleaning of my keyboard and the emotional distress.

Due to blowing coffee through my nose about your last comment.

Cameron you might as well charge for a new one since your keyboard won't be the same either.

We didn't find out in advance of the birth. I was convinced it would be a boy; I wasn't sure how I would feel if that were confirmed in advance. Finding out at birth ensured that I'd have no time for misgivings or apprehensions. I knew I'd love whatever I got. I don't dislike boys; I just really wanted a girl. Our families both have a lot of males; I was hoping for a little female relief :)

We agreed on a boy's name very quickly; we agonized over the girl's name until afer the birth (we had a girl). The midwives helped us decide between our top 2 first names; the middle name worked with either one.

Yes, finding out early could have helped us to focus on the name choice, but for some reason (insert pregnancy hormone excuse here) I wanted us to give equal time to boys and girls names.

Friends found out their baby's sex early, decided on a name and shared the info at their baby shower. They were immediately bombarded with more suggestions for names--as if their choice didn't count.

Granted, a couple can know the sex and name and not share that info, but I felt somewhat insulated from the advice offerers because I could honestly say I didn't know what I was having.

Due to my having personel experience with said rare condition above, I had to have my babies checked and rechecked to be sure, I should be grateful I was able to have children.....its congential you know.....and there was no chance I wanted to deal with it again, although, and thankfully, all mine were just normal, cooperative little wiggle-worms who blantantly exposed their little privates to any and all imaginging devices.....hasn't changed much in intervening years. Decorating mattered for daughter (no. 1) and then came sons, and by then, I didn't really care, the only thing I changed in the nursery was the word 'fuk' written in black marker on the back of the door. Don't ask me.....but daughter got it from someone!!

and now, I need a drink.....

I think its a personal choice. I too was old fashioned, thinking it was more fun to be suprised. (Don't know why, after so many tests, tests & more tests). I felt like it was the only thing we didn't know. Got a strong feeling it was a boy. But we never knew for sure until the big day.

Didn't find out with the second one either. My pregnancy was so different from the first we were sure it was a girl. Didn't even think of boys names. Then in a moment of pure insanity, I told my husband we should at least pick out a boys name just in case. (This was about a week before my due date). Guess what we got??? I totally believe that that baby's sex changed overnight.

My third we decided we wanted to find out. Gotta love "em, but if I was having another "daddy jr" I wanted plenty of time to prepare. The day the ultrasound was done the technician said, "I'm gonna say girl but don't buy anything pink." We left thinking "what the heck does that mean???"

2 weeks before delivery, baby was uncooperative in disclosing anything but a foot. I told my husband we were not even going to pick boys names this time because I WAS HAVING A GIRL. (Thank goodness I was right.)

Kaz, next time you can send me $20 and the name of your OB and I'll pick out the baby's name for you and let you know what it is after the birth. It's the least I can do, really.

Moxie - Well, as it stands right now, the next one would be called "oops!" ... however, things may change. I'll keep you in mind.

There is too much being left up to a third party here. It's almost too american. I mean where else in the world would proud parents to be leave it up to a retail sales person to decorate their childs nursery? What if the family was really bitch and put off the sales person and the sales person thought that he or she could teach that couple a lesson by decorating it for a boy when it's really a girl or vice versa. It just seems stupid and like something a sell out like Donald Trump would do.

huh? I can't even imagine the hell that a new mother--and some new grandmothers--would unleash on a salesperson who tried to teach a pregnant woman a lesson by mis-decorating her kid's nursery?

The whole point of this story is that the expecting parents moms--there, I said it--who go this far are control freak and they know it. I don't know why that's "american," but it certainly is "new york."

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