I just have to weigh in here. But first, I must preface this post with that fact I’ve written about such odd soon-to-be-parents & new parents behavior before.
This latest trend? I’m at a loss.
Well, not really.
From the NYT. God love ’em.
(The text has been edited for space.)
A Boy or Girl? Cut the Cake
“THE house was filled with balloons and confetti, the chips and artichoke spinach dip were ready, and the guests, about 25 of them, were decked out in team colors, ready to cheer. Minutes before the party kicked off, they eagerly cast votes on the outcome.
But this festive gathering, held recently at the Miami home of Carolina and Carl Marrelli, was not a Super Bowl celebration. The decorations were all in very un-N.F.L. pinks and powder blues, and the sides involved were “Team Boy” and “Team Girl.”
“Team Boy” and “Team Girl”? Oh, this has got put-me-out-of-my-misery-with-a-pointed-stick-that’s-been-dipped-in-a-raging-festering-herpes-sore written all over it.
“This was a gender-reveal party, during which expectant parents share the moment they discover their baby’s sex, unveiling results of the ultrasound test among loved ones (often replaying the moment later on Facebook or other social media). It’s the rare surprise party that people can give for themselves.
Until recently a little-known practice, the concept is quickly becoming a pre-parenting custom, a dress rehearsal of sorts — or sometimes a replacement — for the baby shower. In a culture where many expectant parents feel obligated to tweet their pregnancy announcement, live-post their ride to the hospital via Instagram, and Skype the baby’s first smile, it’s the latest example of one of parenthood’s formerly private moments becoming a matter of public consumption.
In the last year alone, the number of gender-reveal party discussion threads on BabyCenter — one of the most popular Web sites for new parents, with 11 million visitors a month — has rocketed to 282, from 28, a spokeswoman for the site said.”
With the meteoric rise in the popularity of social media, people now feel that everyone who inhabits this rock and has Twitter, Facebook, Fuckbook, Tumblr, Google+ et al accounts, needs to be privy to every single thought (including the most mundane), movement, reaction, dirty image, achievement, puppy & kitty image, vidyas of babies giggling/wretching, song choice et cetera, et cetera, at the very moment these events happen — no matter what. What’s even more disturbing is there is an audience for these events — a very large one, in fact. Some folks are friends with the poster, but if you tweet your personal life and you don’t have your settings set to private, millions of fellow Twittererersss will be privy to that twitpic of little Milo crowning through a hastily done episiotomy. Yummo. Why is this happening? Is it ego run amok?
Are expecting parents the new media whores?
“On YouTube, the first video of such an event dates from 2008. It shows the expecting parents simply opening a sealed envelope containing the ultrasound results before friends and family.”
YouTube shoulda seen the future and outlawed the future. Fuckers.
“A handful followed in 2009 and 2010. But in the last six months, more than 1,800 gender-reveal videos were uploaded onto the site.
Parents typically arrange for the ultrasound technician to withhold the gender finding from them. The technician places the information Oscars-style in an envelope, which the couple might then deliver to a baker, who whips up a pink or blue cake, covering the telltale color with frosting. The couple discover the gender when they cut the cake amid shrieking in-laws and fluttering confetti.
“It gave us more time to cry, laugh, scream and just be free to celebrate with all of our hearts, rather than to be in some dark room with a total stranger,” said Ms. Marrelli, 34, who live-streamed her results (boy) and the cheering throng in her home to dozens of other friends and family members around the country.
I find it so hard to believe that anyone outside of the immediate family (and even this is a stretch) gives a fiddler’s fart about the sex of the baby. Just tell them where to send the gift and maybe they’ll stop by for the first time at Junior’s 10th birthday. And the real reason the in-laws are shrieking? Because they know that they’ll be asked to babysit all the god-damn time and won’t be able to offer any parenting advice because new parents these days know EVERYTHING.
Again — fuckers.
“It was a way to get everyone involved, and you experience this huge payoff after all the building anticipation,” said Brett Grayson, 28, a high school social-studies teacher in Irving, Tex., who can be seen getting misty-eyed in the video of the celebration he posted on YouTube. “I’m normally not emotional, but when I saw the pink cake, it was like a flash of me teaching her to drive and marrying her off.”
Let me paint a different, more realistic picture of what your darling daughter will turn out to be. First, the over-programming you and your wife will inevitably do in your wee daughter’s first few years of life will turn her into a bitter, resentful 10-year old. By the time she’s 12 she will have stolen three cars; spent time on the high school lacrosse team’s stank-ass mattress they keep in the equipment closet for such situations, and plotting the demise of the entire honors program. How do I know this? It’s science.
“Creative decorating tips for the parties have popped up on design blogs, and handmade knickknacks for gender-reveal parties are sold on Etsy shops (one seller offers pink and blue question-mark-shaped lollipops, 12 for $15).
Ashley (0f course) Brickner, a fashion marketing teacher and expectant mother in Virginia Beach, found out about the concept a few months ago, when she ran across ideas for festive décor on Pinterest.
So she and her husband, Joe, held their own party a few weeks ago. Since they each come from large families who live nearby, it just seemed natural, they said, to make this private moment public, particularly in an age when the family is likely to get updates on the baby’s development on Facebook.
You know, folks, you there isn’t a law that says you must tell every sordid detail about bebeh’s development on the Facebook. You can keep it to yourself and maybe do something a titch more productive like bullying your friends into having an over-the-top baby shower for you and 100 of your nearest and dearest. Just a thought.
“They’re going to be very much a big part of the baby’s life, so we thought it was just a cool way to incorporate them,” said Ms. Brickner, 28, whose cake was pink.”
Shit howdy, they just want the cake, not the expectations that come along with noshing on it.
“In rare cases, the gender-reveal party turns into a comic misfire, like the video of the Woodall party last year in Kentucky, at which it became clear the baker had given them the wrong cake: it was white inside. (“Epic fail!” a male voice booms in the background.)” I bet he sued everyone in that bakery and put contracts out on the future children of the owners, the landlord’s family, the suppliers, the people who drive the supplies to the bakery, the people who breathe the air around and inside the bakery — you get the idea.
“Donna Vela, who owns Little Angel Announcements, an online stationery store, said she began getting requests for gender-reveal party invitations about a year ago and now gets several orders a day.
“I think it goes with today’s Facebook generation that shares everything with everybody,” Ms. Vela said.
Indeed, Brooke Flatt, 24, sent out invitations on Facebook to the gender-reveal party she gave in February at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey, where she lives with her husband, Airman First Class Bryan Flatt, 26.
“It was an excuse to throw a party,” said Ms. Flatt, who streamed the event live on Ustream for relatives in Mississippi. “We had cocktail food and I gave out cards for people to guess the weight, hair color and eye color for me to put in a scrapbook.”
The cake, which turned out to have pink icing between the layers, was decorated on the outside with bumblebees and the message: “What will it bee?”
Buddy Valastro, the host of the “Cake Boss” television show on TLC and the owner of Carlo’s Bake Shop in Hoboken, N.J., says that he makes several gender-reveal cakes a month, which cost $100 to $1,000.
“Some people go crazy and want something totally elaborate,” he said, such as multitiered cakes with startlingly lifelike fondant babies on top. “I think it’s a cool way for people to find out what they’re having.”
But Greg Allen, 44, a filmmaker in New York who also writes a blog for new fathers called daddytypes.com, said he found the trend baffling.
“Creating drama around your baby’s gender seems so staged and fake,” said Mr. Allen, who found out the sexes of both his children the comparatively old-fashioned way: with his wife in a sonogram examination room. “The whole connection of cutting into the cake to find out, like it’s a stand-in for the uterus, is sort of sickening.”
Oh, I just fell in love with this man. But, now I want some uterus cake. What’s that? Oh right. Fucker.
Kimberly Wageman, 37, of Richland, Wash., avoided this association by having guests at her gender-reveal party bite into cupcakes, which had dollops of blue icing inside. Her baby boy, now 6 months, was her third child.
I’m sorry — she had a party for her third pregnancy?
“The first one, we found out the sex when we had the ultrasound, the second we waited until she was born and the third we had a gender reveal,” said Ms. Wageman, a stay-at-home mom. “I couldn’t say which was best because they were all such unique experiences.”
I hope that someday these folks will consider not over-sharing to be a ‘unique experience.’