[Paleopsych] NYT: Will It Be a Boy or a Girl? You Could Check the Receipt

Premise Checker checker at panix.com
Fri May 13 15:49:54 UTC 2005

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


    When Rochelle Ludwig became pregnant last year, she and her husband,
    David, debated whether to find out the sex of their baby early.
    Knowing that a routine sonogram at 20 weeks would most likely provide
    that information, they ultimately resisted the urge to look.

    Laura and Lloyd Rosenbaum also thought it was important to be
    surprised. "When we thought about the excitement when the baby is born
    and you hear, 'It's a girl!' or 'It's a boy!' - we didn't want to give
    up that moment," she said.

    But the Ludwigs and Rosenbaums wanted someone to know, behind the
    counter at the baby store.

    Maybe it is another example of big city neuroticism. Or maybe it is
    the ultimate in practicality. But the Ludwigs and the Rosenbaums are
    among a growing number of Manhattan parents-to-be who do not learn the
    sex of their baby early, but still want the nursery decorated when
    baby arrives. So they choose two sets of furniture, clothing and
    bedding, then ask the store owners to call their obstetrician to find
    out whether to submit the order in pink or blue.

    "It's a New York mentality," said Dr. Ricky Friedman, an obstetrician
    on the Upper East Side. "With the new technology at our disposal, just
    about anyone who wants to know the sex of their baby can. But for
    about half of our patients, who want to be surprised, they still want
    to be fully prepared, and everything still has to be planned

    Susan Johnson, co-owner of Blue Bench, in TriBeCa, has kept the secret
    for a dozen customers. But the service is starting to get more
    attention in places like New York magazine.

    "The first time a customer asked me to call her doctor, I was so
    nervous and afraid that I'd blow the surprise," she said. "After we
    had spent hours together picking out two sets of furniture, bedding
    and curtains, once I knew what she was having, I told her not to call
    me again during her pregnancy."

    Keeping the secret is especially hard for store owners when family
    members come snooping around.

    "There have been several occasions," said Pat Meyerson, co-owner of La
    Layette, on the Upper East Side, "when a sister or mother-in-law has
    called and asked us to share the secret, but we never tell. Once we
    know the sex of the baby, we write it down on a sheet of paper and put
    it away - so we can try to forget that we know."

    Ms. Johnson said one pregnant customer asked her to share the secret
    only with her mother.

    "She wanted to have the nursery painted, carpeted and decorated in
    time for the baby, but didn't want to know herself," she said. "So
    every day when she went to work, her mom came to her apartment and
    worked on the room, then padlocked the door before leaving. For
    months, she lived with a padlocked nursery."

    Not knowing can be excruciating, the expectant parents say.

    After the Rosenbaums' sonogram, the technician wrote the sex of their
    baby on a slip of paper, folded it into a sealed envelope and handed
    it to them. "We made it for one block, then ripped up the envelope and
    threw the pieces into a garbage pail," Ms. Rosenbaum said.

    But a month later, she returned for another sonogram, "and this time
    brought it to my doctor's office, so the stores could know." (It was a

    Some parents look for clues, said Pamela Scurry, owner of Wicker
    Garden, on the Upper East Side. One customer, she said, had ordered
    two sets of layettes, but came back with her mother to choose
    alternatives when some items were unavailable.

    "When the saleswoman spent a lot of time with them choosing a new pink
    blanket, they were smiling at each other, certain we knew it was a
    girl," Ms. Scurry said. When they chose an outfit for a bris, the
    circumcision ceremony, in case it was a boy, "and the saleswoman spent
    even longer helping them, they looked at each other again, now
    convinced that it was a boy. They were so busy trying to figure it
    out, without really wanting to know." (It was a girl.)

    Temptation sat in Ms. Ludwig's home for weeks. After she had ordered
    two sets of bedding and two gliders, one with pink fabric, the other
    with blue, she told the store to ship the order to the home of her
    husband's family. But three weeks before her due date, the glider was
    mistakenly shipped to her apartment.

    "For three long weeks, it sat in our nursery, in a huge box marked 'Do
    not open,' " Ms. Ludwig said. "It was torture." (The glider came in

More information about the paleopsych mailing list