Archived Story

A Charlie Brown ultrasound

Published 7:40am Sunday, March 11, 2012

Column: Pass the Hot Dish, by Alexandra Kloster

We’re having boys! Or girls! Or a boy and a girl. To tell you the truth we could be having a couple Pomeranians. I have no idea.

My husband, Graham, and I decided long ago that we would wait to find out the genders of our babies until they arrived. In a world that is practically telepathic in its ability to present us with answers before we even voice the questions, we thought it would be fun to go old school and not put the pink or blue cart before the horse.

According to something Graham read on the Internet, which may or may not be true, 80 percent of parents find out the sex of their child via a routine ultrasound at around the 20th week of gestation. We are the 20 percent. Every time I say that I feel like I should be holding up a sign.

My reason for doing this goes beyond novelty. I know myself too well, and if I find out what we’re having ahead of time I will construct entire personalities for these kids right down to their careers, favorite football teams and shoe size. I don’t want to do that. I want them to tell me who they are.

It was easy to stay in the dark as long as everyone else was in the dark. It was still too soon to tell at our 16-week ultrasound. Though even then we started to make assumptions about who these little strangers might turn out to be.

“Look at those big heads. They’re going to be smart,” said Graham.

“Maybe, but remember our Yorkie has a big head and he’s kind of an idiot,” I replied.

“Look at the way they move. So graceful,” said Graham.

“Maybe, but they could be klutzes like me. Remember, sometimes when I fall down I look graceful purely by accident,” I replied.

I wasn’t trying to land his balloon. I was only trying to stave off preconceptions, which might turn into misconceptions. At that point I was the objective observer, amazed at what I saw, but hesitant to attach any implication to it.

That logic was short-lived. We brought the ultrasound pictures home and hung them on the refrigerator. Day after day I stared at them. Those babies looked like somebody, but who? Then one day, as I was emerging from the deep freeze with an armload of sustenance, it hit me. Vince Guaraldi jazzed in my head. These kids looked like the Peanuts gang.

At our 20-week ultrasound I had a solid grip on who our babies were. They were button-nosed, big-headed, mini adults who danced with abandon. They were sensitive and sweet but not as savvy as a 15-inch standard Beagle.

About 10 minutes into our appointment I asked the ultrasound technician, Darcie, if she knew the genders of our twins. “Sure,” she answered casually as if she saw grainy images of slightly alien looking babies every day.

“Don’t tell me! Tell me! No don’t! Whisper it in my ear! Stop! Say nothing!” I was a whirling dervish of indecision. Fortunately, the babies chose that moment to start the floor show.

“Whoa. Oh my gosh.” I heard Graham say.

I turned my attention from the all-knowing Darcie to the screen just in time to see Baby A knock the stuffing out of Baby B. “A” was kicking “B” with all her might and “B” was just sitting there letting that tyrant have all the fun.

“Baby A must be a boy,” said Graham.

“Not necessarily,” I said. I knew a scrappy little girl bully when I saw one. Maybe I should have told Baby A to stop kicking her gender non-specific sibling, but instead I said, “Baby A, thy name is Lucy. And Baby B, of all the Charlie Browns I know, you’re the Charlie Browniest.” They paid me no mind, and that’s when I remembered from the TV shows that to these little Peanuts I sounded like “Whaa, waa, whaaa, waaa, whaaaa.”

We never did find out the genders that day. We’re going to try to hold out until they introduce themselves to us. Still, I suspect I know what we’re having, so I’m stocking up on blue dresses and saddle shoes for Lucy and yellow shirts and self esteem for Charlie. Maybe I’ll even get a 15-inch Beagle just to be safe.


Woodbury resident Alexandra Kloster appears each Sunday. She may be reached at, and her blog is Radishes at Dawn at