In a new world in which we are self-identifying, not identifying or remaining fluid when it comes to gender, I am always amazed at how much emphasis and expense is now being directed to gender identification at the gender reveal celebration and soon-thereafter baby shower.
And although I have not experienced a reveal party as of yet, I have sat through videos and explanations of the big announcement: one in which the piñata burst to drop candy that was all in pink wrappers and another in which the "explode upon impact baseball" puffed blue smoke. (No explanation of why there's some kind of pattern of hitting going on here.)
I have talked with young women who are emphatic: they want to immediately know if it's a boy or a girl upon notice of their pregnancy. My husband and I hoped to be surprised and didn't want to know until our baby's birth as proof of the manila file in our OB/GYN's office that noted, "Does not want to know sex" right on the cover.
Baby showers have gotten more complicated too. It used to be a party with some drinks, snacks, cake and presents. Now guests are politely asked to do their part: put gifts in clear wrap (smart but not exactly a sound biodegradable approach), attach a book with dedication page instead of a greeting card (nice approach) and while waiting for the second course at a fully catered luncheon grab some fabric markers to decorate onesies. Oh, and by the way, you will have your chance to give advice to the Mom-to-be, guess the exact size of her belly and try every dessert known to man that is appropriately covered in chocolate and pink (or blue) icing.
But no matter the upgrades, the change I've noticed most given all these newly arriving babies is that my friends and family are now doting grandparents. We have raised the generation that will raise the next in line and all the stories about spoiling grandkids without consequences is now on my peers' lips. It's not my time just yet — but like retirement — I hope I have an opportunity to experience it while I'm young enough to enjoy it.
A contributing writer to the Herald since 2012, Lauren Lev is an East Meadow resident and a direct marketing/advertising executive who teaches advertising and marketing communications courses at the Fashion Institute of Technology/SUNY, LIU Post and SUNY Old Westbury.