Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The All Seeing Cupcake

If you’re a first time parent with less than “traditional” parents yourself, you probably are asking a lot of questions. And you should. Lord knows I didn’t know ½ of the stuff I know now when I started. In fact when I first found out I was pregnant, I was pretty excited… about the idea of pregnancy and childbirth. I had no idea what that meant.
Among the doctors appointments, medical treatments and steps to get your body prepared to grow a parestite- er baby…. (I know mama, you hate that joke).. there’s a lot of other things to think about to. Like do we find out if it’s a boy or a girl? When and where do you ask for help preparing for things? Is is ok to register for gifts? Do I have to have a baby shower or can I just pop the kid out and call it good? I make light, but these are actually all vital steps in your mental preparation for baby.
Number one, thinking about what type of toys you want for baby can be a big statement about what kind of parent you’re hoping to be. What kind of diapers (my faves are Honest), bottles, strollers… Each of these things are essential to cultivating a young body and mind into a young person- and with any luck a responsible adult with enough humility to not brag about how awesome they are, but rather what a rad parent you were (hey, one can dream right?). So aside from knowing I was going to have a baby shower,  the next question and more immediate one that I get asked is “Do you know if it’s a boy or girl yet?”
For some, this is so they can buy pink or blue. For others, this is so they can relate to you about their experience. For me, it was just a confirmation of if we went more Pirate or more fairy with our Neverland theme.
My mother in law is the goddess of parties. We have not yet had to have an unspoken rivalry about who throws a better party, mostly because I enjoy going to hers. She also knows more about female tradition and trends than I could ever imagine. When she first told me about a baby reveal, I pictured a baby on a silver platter with a “voila!” moment. That apparently is just my active imagination.
Baby Reveal parties are the latest trend that allow expecting parents to celebrate their new bundle of joy with a party of their closest friends and family. Some people choose to have a box filled with colored balloons, pink for girl and blue for boy, others use cupcakes where the couple is the first to bite into a specialty order. I’ve since heard of specialty cocktails which I’ve decided is a really big tease and therefore NOT an option. We went with cupcakes from Seattle favorite, Cupcake Royale.
Now the Neal’s are an Irish clan. We tend to be the black sheep of the family, rarely to do things in a straight line, we opted for a party at our absolute favorite Irish Pub, the Owl n’ Thistle. Baby was after all expected to arrive on March 17th. You don’t get more officially Irish than being born on St. Patrick’s day. So continuing to celebrate our Irish roots, we also chose Irish flag cupcakes and Green for boy and Orange for girl. My husband wore his kilt and I wore a green sweater over an orange tank with the Blackwatch Tartan (because I’m the Scottish kid in the group) wrapped over my jeans.
The Neal’s are a masculine clan. I don’t know the specifics of other Neal’s, O’Neils and any other version of the name, but the Neal’s I married into have boys. I the last 14 babies and three generations starting at Grandpa Neal (not counting a divorce and remarry to a non-Neal) there was exactly one girl. One girl in over 50 years. So the deck favored another boy.
That was my bet. That was the bet of all of the cousins. That was the bet of our little nephew, my sister in law and Mama Neal. My husband had said from the moment he met me his first child would be a girl. Twin girls, to be exact. I laughed and told him to place an order with God, see how that worked out for him. Having known him now for 4 years, I’ve watched him in the face of extraordinary odds make predictions like this before- and come out right. So my faith in the Neal history was a little shaky. But he had been wrong about the twins part, so maybe he wasn’t as infallible as I thought.
Bets were laid. We designed a game based on a similar game done with champagne, blueberries and raspberries. We’re Irish, this family doesn’t do champagne, they do whiskey or ale. We asked the kitchen to give us a small side of Lemons and Limes so we could at least stick with our theme and people could declare their bet on the rim of their preferred beverage. hubby had his whiskey, I had a cranberry sprite. Le sigh.
Now Collin had cheated. After receiving some very disheartening news not three days prior he had needed a confidence booster and peeked at the little card before he took it to the bakery. So he remained silent and took a slice of each fruit. And we waited for the allotted time.
Thanks to modern technology, we were able to connect with family from far away via Google Hangouts (we take a good 20 minutes to get to the reveal, but you get the idea). My mom, my dad and stepfather connected with us from Rosalia, WA and Los Angeles, CA. My step-brother couldn’t get it to work in Chicago and my best friend couldn’t figure it out in NY but that’s alright, we posted it on YouTube on accident and decided to leave it there for them. The time had come.
We put the lap top at the far end of the table. All our friends and family that could come gathered round, cupcakes were passed out and we dramatically waited, people holding their glasses out with their predictions on the rims. I bit into my cup cake. I forgot to remove the wrapper. I looked for the filling and couldn’t see it. Then I looked again, that wasn’t Irish frosting, that was orange filling.
We have a little girl.
A beautiful, strong, fiery Irish girl ready to make her debut this coming March and I can’t wait!

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