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"Here comes the next one!" my husband proclaimed as thecontraction intensity graph began a steep ascent. "OK, OK, it'speaking now," he shouted eternities later as I clenched my teethviolently and attempted to throttle him with the IV rack. It waslike being trapped at the Houston Space Center and getting peltedwith unsolicited bulletins from Mission Control. Yes, being marriedto a rocket engineer while inching toward that 10-centimeter "Gofor launch" condition had its challenges.

But those were the Dark Ages compared to today.

Innocently picking up the ringing telephone in early November,my younger daughter announced, sans preamble, "I'm pregnant!!!"

"NO!!" I shot back, apropos of nothing. I detected my son-in-lawin the background as he burst out laughing.

Yes, they'd been pregnant approximately nine minutes (they findthese things out early these days). Two-year old Charlie would be abig brother. And yes, I was indeed surprised. As was the case forall of our grandchildren, I never knew for sure when the "trying"part would begin. I mean, who needs all that performanceanxiety?

But we were on our way to New Babyville once again, and the racewas on toward the 17-week mark when the baby's gender could beascertained via ultrasound.

Now this is one of those modern break-through advancements thatamazes me. Although it sort of messes up the function of thedelivery room folks who, in the olden days, would call out, "It's a(boy/girl)!!!" But now most parents are thrilled knowing the genderway ahead of D- (Delivery) Day.

Furthermore, today's parents-to-be are entertained fromconception with updates delivered via the Internet. Weeklybulletins relay approximate dimensions of the baby from, you know,grape seed-sized to watermelon volume and all manners of fruits andveggies in between. You'll also learn what is materializing thatweek: "Your girl baby has acquired the gene that causes her to lovecute shoes," you'll read, and yes, I just made that up, but you getthe idea. It's light years away from the dark mysteries that tookplace within the wombs of yesteryear.

So when my daughter asked me what I thought of a "Gender RevealParty," I have to say I was right on top of it. "A WHAT ...?" Istammered, wondering if I'd heard correctly.

Yep, these days there are actual parties dedicated to lettingfolks know baby's gender. And it's kind of a cool thing, in myopinion. My daughter wanted to celebrate the pending arrival of hernew baby, and since it involved baking, this party was right up heralley.

"I don't want it to be overly dramatic," she worried beforethrowing herself into party planning.

"It won't be," I advised. "Just go for it!" And she did.

So we arrived at their home one recent chilly evening, attiredin clothing indicating our guess of girl (pink/red) or boy (blue).Pink and blue paper footprints led the way to a sign that asked usto specify our vote for boy or girl. Pizza was ready, and so was atier of mysterious cupcakes ... cupcakes that held a pink or bluefrosting surprise in the center.

After pizza, we each received a cupcake, and let me tell you, itwasn't pretty, people! Nope, at my daughter's signal, weimmediately tore into those cupcakes like packs of wolves, eager toknow the answer to that ageless question: boy or girl?

And inside each cupcake that night? A dollop of frosting tinteda beautiful baby blue announced the joyful "reveal" of anotherhappily awaited grandson.

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