I'd like to think of surprises as things that are fun; exciting, new, different. The fun is in the anticipation of it, knowing it, whatever it is, is coming...wondering what it is going to be...the speculation and plotting over the resultant revelation.
Christmas, of course, a most timely and relevant example. Parents work hard to keep Christmas surprises under wraps [insert pun related groan here], which makes all the presents and Christmas morning action so magical. Would it really be the same if all the goodies were just out on the dining table for 2 months prior to Christmas, and then chucked under the tree with no sparkly paper? No way. No magic there. The surprises need to be shoved away under daddy's old pajamas in the back shelf of the closet, crammed under extra duvets in the loft, and smuggled into the dark recesses of the garage - that's what makes them become surprises. That's what brings the magic in the morning.
So then why did everyone get so bent out of shape when we said we were keeping the sex of the baby a surprise?
Comments swirling around like 'Hrmph well that's no fun', and 'Why aren't you treating us like family', and 'How are we supposed to plan anything?', and 'Why wouldn't you just TELL us?'. With the necessary additional comments of course of 'Well, as long as the baby is healthy.....'. Gosh, what's the big deal?? I figured this is [probably] most likely my last baby, and last chance to have a bit of fun! In the past I felt sort of forced to reveal the sex of my children (both boys!) right away, as I was unsure about arranging circumcisions and whatnot - my husband and his family are Jewish and they wanted the babies circumcised - fine...but I don't want to feel forced. I want it to be a surprise! I want the fun of it, the mystery, the big exciting reveal. And now that I am experienced x2 in the art of baby-circumcision-arranging, it's no big deal. I know the number of the guy: baby out, it's a boy, call the number of the guy, drive to the place, get the baby 'done'. Easy. There is nothing to 'plan'. And for goodness sake this has nothing to do with treating anyone like family or not. This is not a family treatment issue at all, it shouldn't be ANY issue at all, this is a non-issue. It is (was) a simple fun surprise. The outcome of it all is not affected by whether someone knows now, or four months from now. Nothing will change either way. So where's the issue???
I feel a bit let down now, actually, as I was excited about the surprise aspect of things - now it's got all tarnished and has been turned into some kind of feuding point. Why can't everyone just say 'Ok, cool, that will be fun! We'll find out when the baby comes, what a nice surprise!'. Part of the parents' joy in Christmas is doing the smuggling, hiding, stuffing away of the goodies, wrapping them up pretty, arranging everything just so...so the impact and fun of Christmas morning is at a total maximum. Part of a parents' joy of creating the surprise is seeing your kids' faces light up, exploring what's been revealed. I just feel a bit now like I have had my wrapping paper opportunity stolen away. I don't want this to be the case, but I feel like now, in the end, my surprise will be akin to me glumly shoving a pair of socks across the table, in newspaper; no ribbon.
Who knows, anyway, if it will turn out what we think? Ultrasound scans are pretty good at identifying the sex, given, but there is a chance we might all get a surprise. It doesn't matter to me, anyway. As long as the baby is healthy :) Number Three will be getting 2nd hand-me-downs anyway, no matter what sex it is!