Don’t Jest The Test!

While celebrating my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary on Sunday, my nephew’s wife asked me about the Pencil Test. Expecting their first child within the month, Kaitlin heard about this test that can be used to determine whether she’s going to have a boy or a girl.

The Pencil Test, as you may or may not know, is a sure-fire way to determine the sex of an unborn child without the massive expense of a sonogram. If you believe that, I have a section of land I’m willing to give away!

There’s already a bit of a history behind the Pencil Test in our family. It was five years ago — when two of my three sisters-in-law were both expecting babies — that we gathered around the dining table on the family farm, threaded a needle and poked it in a pencil eraser. More about those results later in this blog!

Well, too much time had passed and I’d forgotten just how the test went. That’s when Mom went to her sewing basket and pulled out a yellowed and tattered newspaper article from the Daily Globe, circa the 1960s.

It was written by former Globe writer Fredi Lowry as part of her “Keep it under your hat” column.

Writes Fredi:

“Here’s how to do the test: Double thread a needle, but tie no knot. Then press the point of your needle into the top of the eraser on a pencil. The woman to be tested and the women making the test sit at a table facing each other. The woman to be tested extends her left arm and hand on the table, palm upward. The woman making the test props her right elbow on the table and holds the double thread so the tip of the pencil comes close to the wrist of the other woman. She keeps the thread as still as she can. Then, for some reason, the pencil begins to move.

“If the pencil moves parallel to the arm, a boy is indicated. If it makes a perpendicular motion, it’s a girl. When the pencil stops, that means an end to the family. Miscarriages are also shown. Little circular swings in between have no meaning.”

Well, Kaitlin stretched out her left arm, I held the pencil over her wrist and we watched as the pencil started to move up and down her arm. Yep, according to the Pencil Test, there will be a little Buntjer boy added to the family around Thanksgiving.

Now, the test can also be used to predict how many pregnancies and the sex of each of those children. So, Kaitlin and I kept watching. Boy, boy, boy, girl, boy, girl … and then the pencil finally stopped moving. By this time, Kaitlin was rather wide-eyed at the thought of having six kids. It was a bit better than the Facebook quiz she took a while back that claimed she’d have eight little ones in her future, but half a dozen is still more than a handful — pun intended!

Next to take the test was my niece Crystal, who had a baby girl in late August. Her test revealed girl (correct), boy, boy, girl.

Just to prove to the girls the test’s accuracy, my oldest sister-in-law was also given the test. Boy, boy, girl … absolutely accurate. Then I had it done to me. The pencil did not move — proof I have no children and don’t want any!

Now, getting back to my other sisters-in-law — the two I mentioned earlier who were pregnant at the same time.

Connie was expecting little Katie when we did the test, and the pencil indeed moved perpendicular to her wrist. (We all thought she was having a girl because she had horrible morning — more like all day — sickness while pregnant with her girls). Anyway, the pencil was completely accurate all the way through.

Then came Kari. She and my brother already had one boy and were expecting baby No. 2. The Pencil Test accurately started out with a boy, and then predicted No. 2 would be a girl.

You can imagine how excited I was to learn I would have two new little nieces by the end of the year, what with being the only girl in my family and having to put up with three brothers!

I went out and bought little matching onesies, with purple lettering, that said, “Auntie’s little angels.”

I also started on birth samplers (I made one for each of the nieces and nephews) for the babes — both with an overwhelming amount of pink coloring in them because, well, little girls must have pink!

Kari was due first, and her beautiful little baby arrived on Oct. 27. If you haven’t guessed by now, it wasn’t a little girl and well, he wasn’t little at all. Reece Steven arrived at a whopping 10 pounds, 14 ounces. He did still fit in that special onesie I bought, but his parents cleverly disguised it under a plaid shirt and blue jeans the one time I saw him wearing it.

As for that birth sampler I stitched, someday I’ll have to explain to my Godson Reece just why there’s so much pink in his cross-stitched heirloom. He’ll be five years old tomorrow. I’m thinking he probably won’t want to hear at this age that I was certain he was going to be a girl.

In my defense, the Pencil Test told me so!