Toward the end of the school year I found myself constantly fielding questions from the mothers at my school- specifically the ones who recently came to the US. They saw my growing belly and whether they knew me or not, immediately pointed their finger toward my stomach and announced, "Girl, right?" Going out to kiss and ride to help kids find their parents was the equivalent to throwing myself into the lion's den. Every mother and grandmother wanted to share their village's secret for predicting gender.
One day my daughter must have been in a particularly boyish position because at least two, if not three mothers predicted that I was having a boy. When I told them this wasn't the case they argued with me and told me to go back to my doctors. "Those machines can't tell" they told me, "Look at how you are carrying."
*At my next appointment I insisted they check again. The technician sighed, checked, confirmed that it is a girl, and then gave me her credentials. "My job is to make sure your baby's heart, kidneys, and amniotic fluid are healthy. If I messed up gender I should be fired."
I didn't bother to explain that a woman from Afghanistan had told me that she was wrong.
Now that I'm at 8 months strangers' predictions have shifted from gender to my due date. Again, it has only been people who seemed to recently enter the US. On the metro, or just out in downtown DC, people with thick-accents from around the world pop up in my face with predictions of "two months", "one month and two weeks", paired large grins, waiting for me to confirm that they are correct. I happily confirm or correct their predictions, ask how they know, and listen to their explanations from their home-towns, secretly thanking God that they have kept their hands to themselves and have not rubbed my belly.
I love living and teaching in such a diverse area. I just wish I'd been writing all of the different prediction methods down along with the country. I can't remember who said what, or where what prediction came from.