#78 Boy or girl?
“Ready?” Deidra asks nervously, holding the knife tightly.
“Yes, please, for the love of God, we’re ready,” her dad replies, rolling his eyes, “We’ve been ready for ages, honey.”
“Wait, wait!” Amber scrambles to grab her phone. “I need to record this!”
“Oh, right!” Andre’s father gets his phone out too, struggling to find his camera app.
“How about all you oldies leave the recording of this moment to me?” I propose, wanting to get on with this already.
“Oldies?” Amber shoots me a fake glare. “I’m younger than you are, Dylan.”
“Guys, someone press record, and then let’s finally cut the cake.” Imani’s voice is firm. “Amber, you’re young, you know how to work a phone. It would be great if you could record this. Arthur, you can’t even read the letters on your screen without your glasses on. And Dylan, this is your moment as much as ours. Don’t be on your phone right now.”
She’s right. Deidra, Imani, Andre and I shouldn’t be on our phones. Today is the day. Our gender reveal party. I would have loved to go big, just like our engagement party, but the other three told me no. Still, there are quite a few people at our house, since all of our parents came over for this. Soon, we’ll know if we’re having a boy or a girl.
Of course, Liv already knows. Sandra too. We had to hand someone the envelope from the OB-GYN, after all, so they could make the gender reveal cake. It’s adorable, with blue and pink on the outside, and one of those colors on the inside as well. On top is a little teddy bear, and it’s decorated with bronze chocolate balls.
I hope it’s a girl. Of course I’ll be happy either way, but I think I’d be better at raising a girl than a boy. Let’s face it, what do I really know about men? I know that I am a man, and I’m engaged to one, but my personality and fashion style don’t exactly scream masculinity. I’d love a little girl to go dress shopping with, to take her to father-daughter dances, and whose room will definitely be pink from top to bottom.
“Okay, ready?” Amber asks, holding her phone tightly. “What do we all think it is?”
“A girl,” Imani, Deidra, Andre and I all say in unison.
“We’re going to call her Jade,” Deidra adds. We decided on that a couple of days ago, and since Deidra and I both know we’ll end up telling people anyway, we decided not to keep her name a secret.
“Oh, that’s beautiful,” Imani’s father sighs. “I love that name.”
“Let’s cut this damn cake now,” Deidra decides, ready to slice into the cake. “But we all know it will be pink inside.”
“Of course it will be,” Imani agrees. Even she’s convinced by now.
Andre and I hold hands as we watch Deidra cut into the cake and carefully pull out a perfect slice, revealing that on the inside it is…
“Blue,” Andre breathes. “It’s blue.”
Deidra looks completely dumbfounded. “It’s blue? But… but… It’s a girl!”
My dad laughs loudly. “Apparently, it’s not. Boys are fun to raise, though.” He ruffles Blaze’s hair and winks at me.
I can barely manage to smile back. In my mind, I’ve been picturing this tiny little creature in a pink dress, running around playing princess. Now that imagine shifts, replaced by… Nothing yet, to be honest. I have no idea what image to conjure up for a boy.
“So it’s a boy?” Blaze asks in his quiet little voice. “Like me?”
The moment I look at him, I feel the tension leave my body. It’s such a silly thing to worry about, after all. And just seeing my baby brother makes me feel like I can do this, even if it’s not the princess daughter I was imagining.
“You’re going to get a nephew,” I tell Blaze. “You’ll be his uncle.”
He nods, looking serious. Dad and Amber have talked about him to this many times already, since it’s a little confusing for him what the baby will be to him. It doesn’t seem weird to him that his big brother is having a baby with a woman he’s not engaged to – kids adapt way more easily to situations like this than adults – but he is a little vague on what having a nephew means.
“I need to look out for him,” he says, looking up at my dad for confirmation.
“That’s right, honey.” Dad smiles down at him proudly. “And you can play with him, teach him things, and help him.”
Blaze seems determined to rock at all of that. “I can do that. What’s his name?”
I look over at Andre, who shrugs. Deidra and Imani are quiet as well. We haven’t even started discussing names for boys.
“You have all the time in the world to agree on a name,” Emmy says when no one else speaks up. “Let’s just have cake now. Do you have pictures from your last ultrasound, Deidra? Andre only sent me two, but I bet you have more.”
Soon enough, everyone is sitting around looking at pictures of our baby boy, stuffing their faces with cake. I take a picture of my slice before diving in, sending it to Mila and Thomas. The two of them had a 50 dollar bet on the gender, so of course Mila immediately sends him a request to pay up. She told me all along I’d end up with a baby boy. Guess she was right.
Three adults holding their collective breath while pressing their hands against the fourth adult’s round belly.
Having a baby together is wonderful, but also one of the strangest things I’ve ever experienced.
Just an hour ago, we were having lunch at Imani and Deidra’s house, and now one of our hosts is lying on the couch, trying to make the baby move so we can feel him kick. She’s 22 weeks pregnant, and she’s been feeling the baby move for a while now, but never enough for any of us to feel it. Today, she swore he was being rowdy enough for us to be able to feel her belly move.
“You really haven’t felt anything yet?” I ask Imani softly. After all, she lives here. She’s with Deidra way more than Andre and I are.
“He always stops moving when I put my hand on her belly.” Imani groans. “I think the little bastard is already playing games with me.”
“Don’t call my son a bastard,” Andre mutters, shaking his head. “He can hear you.”
“He can hear sounds, but it’s not like he speaks English yet.” Deidra laughs. “Besides, it’s Imani’s son too, remember.”
“Then she shouldn’t be calling him names.” Andre softly rubs the part of Deidra’s belly he’s got his hand on. “Don’t listen to mommy.”
“Oh my God, you’re too cute.” I press a kiss to his cheek. “Look at you, already being an overprotective father.”
“Okay, this isn’t happening.” Imani takes her hand off Deidra’s belly and gets up, brushing dust off her skirt. “Who wants some tea?”
“I would love-”
I’m interrupted by a loud gasp from Andre. “He moved! Deidra, did he just kick my hand?”
“He sure did,” Deidra says happily. “I told you he’s rowdy today!”
Andre gasps again. “Oh my God, he’s kicking! I can feel it!”
“Fucking hell, him and his mind games.” Imani gets back to the couch and kneels next to Andre. “Where? Let me feel!”
It takes Andre everything he’s got to allow Imani to put her hand where his just was. Of course, the baby stops moving right away. After about ten minutes, Imani gives up again, muttering curses under her breath as she walks into the kitchen.
“Come on, Dylan, you try!” Deidra urges me. “I can still feel him moving a little, but he’s not kicking right now. He’s awake, though, so he might.”
I put my hand where she tells me to and softly press on her belly. “Hey little man, could you kick for your daddy?” When he doesn’t respond, I poke her belly a few times. I mean, if the doctor can treat her belly like playdough at ultrasounds, surely I’m allowed to poke her a bit, right? When I put my hand back and press down, I finally feel it. A soft, but clear kick against my hand.
“He did it,” I breathe.
“I would kick you too if you poked me,” Deidra deadpans. “Wait, you did poke me. I’ll kick you later, you asshole.”
“You need to stop cursing around the baby.” Andre is completely serious. “I know he can’t understand us yet, and he can only distinguish vague noises, but… I mean… he is learning to recognize our voices. Do you really want him to hear you guys curse all the time?”
Deidra and I exchange a look. I love Andre, but he’s definitely going to be the most protective of all of us. He already is. Poor little baby will have his dad trying to make sure he never has a single bad influence in his life.
No, not poor little baby. Lucky little baby. Having Andre in your life can’t be anything but a blessing.
Imani returns with a tray full of tea cups when the baby kicks me again, and I can’t suppress a soft gasp. “Oh bloody hell, is he kicking everyone except for me?”
“Maybe your voice just calms him down,” Andre reasons. “He hears yours more often than ours, after all.”
“Sweet of you to make up that bullshit. Now move.” She motions for us to get away from her wife, and puts both of her hands on Deidra’s belly. “Listen, you little maniac. You better kick me, or I’m going to start thinking you hate me.”
Deidra laughs, her belly moving in tune with her chuckles. “Imani…”
“Don’t laugh! Lie still!” Imani sounds exasperated. “Is he even moving right now?”
After a moment of focusing, Deidra shrugs. “I have no idea, babe. I can’t feel every single movement, you know that. He’s definitely not kicking right now. Can I have some tea now?”
Still grumbling in disappointment, Imani pulls down Deidra’s shirt and sits down next to her. We all take our places on the couch, sipping tea while we talk about the 3D-ultrasound we have coming up in a few weeks.
So far, everything has been great with the baby. He’s growing beautifully, and even though it took a while to be able to see Deidra’s baby bump clearly since she’s overweight, it’s clear as day now. She’s got a definite bump. All the ultrasounds were perfect, the tests came back clean, and it’s safe to say that if things continue like this, we’ll be meeting our healthy baby boy 18 weeks from now.
“Did you end up buying that crib you were talking about?” Imani asks us while she snuggles up to Deidra, a hand placed over her belly protectively. I don’t think she even realizes she does that. All the damn time. It’s cute, and I totally get it. Andre and I don’t do that unless Deidra asks us too, but if it was my wife who was pregnant, I’d be all over that big belly too. For sure.
“Yeah, we’ve got most of the furniture set up and everything.” Andre sweetly tucks a strand of hair behind my ear. “This one already painted the whole room light blue, and we bought some dinosaur wall stickers.”
“We ordered our furniture last night,” Imani confesses. The girls waited longer than we did, because Deidra felt like it would be like jinxing the baby’s health to buy stuff before she was halfway through the pregnancy. It drove Imani – who likes things done quickly and efficiently – completely crazy.
“Oh, show us!” I get up to sit next to her so she can show me the pictures on her phone.
As Imani shifts, she suddenly freezes. “Oh my God! Deidra? Honey?”
“Yes, he kicked you,” she confirms with a smile. “I told you he doesn’t hate you!”
All thoughts of nursery furniture are forgotten, and Imani presses her entire face against Deidra’s belly, peppering it with kisses.
“That’s our cue to leave,” Andre decides.
“Yeah, thanks for letting us rub your belly like Aladdin’s magical lamp.” I grin as Imani keeps talking through us, telling our baby that she’s willing to let it go that he kicked both of us first. “Bye, girls!”
“Bye!” Deidra calls after us. “Love you!”
“Love you too!” Andre shouts back before we leave their house, closing the front door firmly behind us.
Somewhere along the line, all four of us have become so close that we say that to each other every single time we say goodbye. I love that for our kid, that all of his parents are so in sync, all wanting what’s best for him. We don’t always agree on what that is, but I think that’s for the best. Our baby will have four very different parents, and that’s the best way to raise him, I think. He’ll get to discover different kinds of love, and choose his own love language. Imani is tough love, Deidra is mushy and emotional, I am fun and wild, and Andre is overprotective to the max.
The best of four worlds, that’s what our baby boy is getting.
Picture of the gender reveal cake is up on my Insta!