It’s official: I’m pregnant.
Okay, that’s not true. I’M not pregnant. I’m a man.
But a woman is pregnant. And not just any woman. A selfless, loving surrogate.
And that surrogate is carrying my children. As in more than one. Two to be exact!
That’s right. I’m, well we’re, going to be parents to adorable twins. One boy and one girl.
Now that the introduction is out of the way, let’s talk about you.
If you found this blog post via a little Google search, then you probably just found out that you’re pregnant. And if that’s the case, you’re deciding how to tell your family.
Some couples can’t help but take the traditional “pick up the phone and blurt it out” approach, but this is a Gay Parenting Blog, so we’re going to take a much more fabulous approach.
You should, in my “professional” opinion, tell your parents in a way that they will remember for the rest of their lives – especially if they’re becoming grandparents for the first time.
Luckily for my parents (and I’m a little embarrassed to even admit it) the first question I asked myself when I first found out that I was having twins, before even wondering how we’d be able to afford it, was “what will I make to surprise my parents with the news?”
You see, I grew up in a family of Makers. My dad is the quintessential handy man and my mother is the model crafter. They built and designed our homes, they planned and created every detail of my DIY backyard wedding, they can sew and paint, and therefore raised my siblings and I with an “if you want something done, do it yourself” mentality. I didn’t plan on half-assing the most important announcement of my life.
Phase #1: Planning
Like my mother would when designing a cake, I grabbed a sharpie and a stack of crisp white paper and began brainstorming.
Like with most things in my life, I was inspired by the human experience when designing this concept:
- What would it look like to them?
- How would it feel in their hands?
- Could I trick them into thinking it was something else?
- At what point would it be apparent to them that a secret was about to be revealed?
- And lastly, because we are having twins, would it be possible to surprise them twice?
As I sketched, I started to design what I ended up calling a “Special Delivery” box.
The box would have distinct layers of tissue paper, each revealing new surprises. I didn’t know what exactly would be in the different layers, but I knew I wanted my parents to do a little work to find out they were going to be grandparents.
Step 2: Shopping
Now onto the actual gift. In hopes of confusing them a bit, my hubby and I decided to pay homage to our childhood and place our favorite books from growing up in each of our respective boxes. We had considered placing baby toys or embroidering something clever on infant onesies, but our parents would know instantly that they were becoming grandparents and that just isn’t as fun, now is it?
So we hopped onto Amazon to order the books (The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Goodnight Moon, Corduroy, Where the Wild Things Are, and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?) and got working on the next element: the gender announcement cards.
Step 3: Crafting
Because we’re having twins, we had a unique opportunity to surprise our parents twice!
Surprise 1: We decided to hide the first announcement card within the stack of books. If our parents were confused by the gifts and started flipping through the pages, the card would potentially fall out and they would know they were having a boy. And if they asked about the gender after realizing what was happening, we’d force them to perform a little scavenger hunt to figure it out.
In typical Sean Zepps fashion, I decided to make a few different options to choose from – I’m a three-dipping-sauce-on-my-chicken-fingers kind of guy. The first “It’s A Boy” card option was going to be a mustache. I measured the smallest book I had in my new collection and hand drew a “stencil” on white paper, cutting it out with my lucky scissors. I then used that stencil to cut out the final mustache on light blue paper.
I then used that same stencil to draw and cut-out another mustache that would be used to make the letters. Using a ruler, I gave myself some parameters and hand drew the words “It’s A Boy” using my go-to bubble letters that I’ve been mastering since the ripe age of 10 – ensuring that each letter was the same height. After the slightly annoying cutting out process, I glued each white letter onto the blue mustache and then glued the entire thing onto another piece of white paper, which I planned on using to create a small white border.
As backup options, I made a baseball and a bow tie.
Surprise 2: For the “It’s A Girl” card, I decided to take a similar approach, hiding it deeper in the box so my parents would have to dig. I wanted the cards to feel like a set, so I used a similar technique and made a pink rattle and a pink onesie. Stereotypical? You bet your ass it is.
I let my husband decide which two should go to my parents and which two to his, and began working on packaging everything up.
Step 4: Packaging
I started by placing a blown-up photo of the ultrasound in a large envelope with the “It’s A Girl” card. After filling the envelop with balloon confetti, I licked it shut and placed it at the bottom of the box. I then cut some layers of tissue paper to match the exact size of the box, and sealed the bottom of the box with satin finish gift wrapping tape – creating a secret chamber for our parents to discover later.
To finish everything up, I stacked the books in descending order and wrapped them in a thick layer of white tissue paper. After sealing it with gold ribbon, I sprinkled packing peanuts around the edges and closed the box up with the Stain Finish tape. Next stop: USPS!
And here’s how it all went down…
Suffice to say, our parents freaked out. My mother (pictured below in the fetal position) fell over and nearly died from the surprise. Luckily, my father and sister-in-law were there to revive her. And my husband’s parents (top image), jumped around the room together and waved the two cards at us with glee. Memories like that will last us all a lifetime.
Until next time, stay crafty.