A few weeks ago I learned about a simple test that you can do right around 10 weeks pregnant to determine whether you're having a boy or a girl. People call it the "red cabbage gender test," but it's really a sex test. Besides, all fetuses are androgynous.
(It drives me crazy when people use the words "sex" and "gender" interchangeably. Sex is a biological feature; gender is a cultural creation. Sex is the classification of people as male or female at birth, based on things like hormones, chromosomes, internal reproductive organs, and genitalia. Gender is the significance we assign to that biology—what it means if someone is a man or a woman [or a boy or a girl]. And even that's not entirely correct if you want to delve deep into gender studies.)
I don't put a lot of stock in tests and tricks that are supposed to determine the sex of a baby before it's born. According to most of those tests, Westley should have been a girl. So the red cabbage thing was just for fun. I was curious to see if it would agree with Westley's certainty that we're expecting a girl.
Here's how it works:
1. Chop up half a head of red cabbage.
2. Put cabbage in a pot and cover with cold water.
3. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
4. Drain the cabbage, reserving the water. The water will very purple.
(What you do with the cabbage at this point is completely up to you. I happen to enjoy cabbage, even when it's had the heck boiled out it it, so I ate mine. With homemade sweet 'n' sour sauce!)
5. Collect some pee from your chosen pregnant person.
Yes, the Red Cabbage Sex Test, like so many tests during pregnancy, involves urine. First-thing-in-the-morning pee is supposed to be best for this test. I used middle-of-the-night pee, because I'm an overachiever. And I don't mind leaving a (tightly sealed!) canning jar of pee under my bathroom sink for hours.
6. Mix equal amounts of urine and cabbage water in a clear container.
7. Observe. If the mixture is pink or red, you've got a boy on board. If the mixture is purple, you're in girl land.
That's straight cabbage water on the left, and my test results on the right. Looks awfully purple to me! Which means red cabbage agrees with Westley: it's girl time.
When I asked Rob what color he thought the result was, he nodded at my pee container and the control and said, "Looks like those two mixed together." Super helpful. (Incidentally, my middle-of-the-night pee was neon yellow. If you're curious, there's a picture here.)
* * *
Since there were buckets of cabbage water left over, I decided to do a little kitchen science project to see what other pretty colors we could make.
Red cabbage water + baking soda = blue.
Red cabbage water + white vinegar = pink.
This amused Westley for about 20 minutes. We also made a vinegar-and-baking-soda volcano. Hooray for preschool science!
ED: We still had leftover cabbage water at the end of the day, so I convinced Rob to do the test also. His results were purpler than mine. In fact, there was almost no change in the color of the cabbage water at all. I was really hoping for something exciting, like florescent orange or forest green. Oh, well. I guess the reaction only works with pregnant pee.