A friend of mine – a friend I’d previously thought a sane and balanced individual – did something this weekend that made me reassess my opinion of him.
He and his wife – who is expecting their second baby – paid £150 to have a gender reveal.
Now I don’t know about you but I’d never heard of this before. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not thick – I’d fathomed it was something to do with finding out the sex of the child. But I didn’t know exactly what it involved.
Dear reader, let me tell you.
It involves having a scan at the hospital, then returning home with something called a Confetti Cannon – an object that looks a little like a cross between a magician’s wand and the baton they use in the 4x400 metres at the Olympics – and firing it into the air.
If blue confetti spills out, it’s a boy, and if pink emerges, well, you’ve guessed it – you’re going to have a girl. Why not have a pint of mild or football-shaped confetti to denote a boy, and if it’s a girl confetti shaped like a washing-up bowl or a vacuum cleaner?
‘You’ve done what?’ I asked him.
‘Yes,’ he said quietly, sounding quite ashamed. ‘It was the wife’s idea,’ he added, feebly, ‘I just went along with it.’
He told me how all the family had gathered in the garden and while someone carefully videoed the whole thing on their phone, he and his wife stood at the front and fired the cannon.
A volley of blue confetti flew into the air, various people shouted ‘it’s a boy!’ – presumably for the benefit of any guests with a serious eye impediment – and then everyone stood there not knowing what to do.
‘Worst thing about it,’ moaned my mate, ‘was that everyone went inside and I had to spend the next 25 minutes picking confetti off the decking’.
I’ve not got anything against anyone who chooses to do this kind of thing.
It’s just that I’m a bit miserable, and tight too, and the thought of shelling out 150 quid – a sum my dad would have baulked at paying for a fortnight’s holiday in France with a new car thrown in – to discover something you can find out for free when the little thing plops out after nine months makes me uneasy.
But I think I’m in a minority because I did a little research on gender reveals and found they are becoming more of a thing among younger couples.
Apparently it’s linked to social media. More than 500,000 videos of expectant couples firing coloured confetti into the air were uploaded to YouTube last year. So in other words people want something visual to mark the moment because it’s no fun at all getting a short video of a nurse saying, ‘Mrs Jones, you’re going to have a girl’. No way will that get as many likes on Facebook.
But a cannon isn’t the only way of revealing what sex baby you’re having.
According to Wikipedia, ‘The most common form of revelation of a fetus' gender is through the cutting of the cake which will show an inside appearance of either blue or pink’.
What is going on with society? It’s a matter of time before someone hires the Red Arrows to fly over their back garden trailing a certain colour of smoke.
As for babies, as you may know I now have two children: a two-and-a-half year old who spends 83 per cent of her time hurling herself to the floor and screaming at the top of her voice ‘I WANT A SNACK’ and a four-month-old who specialises in waking at 1am and 4.30am every night and then – and this is incredibly annoying – spends all day blissfully sleeping.
Mrs C, the other day, looked at the youngest – Wilf – and remarked, misty-eyed, ‘oh he’s growing up so quickly – do you think we should have another?’
I replied, ‘over my dead body’.
We will not be in need of a confetti cannon any time soon.