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May 17, 2007

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After his discharge, he nevertheless finds himself in a net of conspiracy in addition to abuse. Buut if she does that there is a chance that she might be too late aand her blind son might diie in fire.

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Equal opportunity? Should we also put dresses, bows and pretty pink shoes on the boys? Don't be stupid.

It's beyond ridiculous to compare a little teeny hole in the ear to GENITAL MUTILATION and ABUSE. Please get some perspective.

In Latin American countries, a nurse on the maternity ward pierces all girls' ears, (unless the parents specifically, and very unusually, opt out).

When my daughter was about 6 months old, I had her in a frilly pink sun dress strapped into the Bjorn. I went to my favorite lunch spot and the guy behind the counter said "how old is he?" I said "she's a girl" and he said "why isn't she wearing earrings?" It's like the earrings were what made the girl.

This post just made me realize why I haven't read your column in so long. Perhaps the stay at the in-laws is affecting you.

This post just made me realize why I haven't read your column in so long. Perhaps the stay at the in-laws is affecting you.

Just came across this and wanted to put my two sense in. My mother refused to pierce my ears until I was 12 and when I did (like many of you) it hurt a lot I played with them alot and even though I did clean them a ton they still to this day get puss in them if I leave (even the gold or nickel) in for more than a few hours. My logic on getting my daughters done early (12 months) was I felt if my mother had done mine as a baby then maybe I wouldnt have had all the problems I have now with them. To this date (my daughter is 20 months) we have had no issues with her piercings and I am thankful I did it. As for those who think its a permanent thing I dont care how healed your ears are if you take them out for a year the hole will close so no its not a permanent thing if your child wishes it to not be. I realize it does hurt them just as it hurts older kids but they UNLIKE older kids stop crying (in my daughters case she didnt cry at all until they took the stuffed animal away they let her hold while doing it lol) fairly quickly and then forget all about it. An older child wont stop messing with them therefore increaing the risk of infection before it heals. So if you DO wish to get it done (and yes it is a personal preference) then I definately say save them the heart ache and do it while they are babies. AND NO I DIDNT DO IT SO EVERYONE WOULD KNOW SHE WAS A GIRL! Sheesh I did it because I like earrings (as most women do) and wanted to do my best to prevent her from having what happened to me happen to her. PS I got my ears pierced with a second hole when I was 20 and have had no issues with those holes so YES age does matter since a 5 yr old will play with them constantly as will (with me) a 12 yr old lol.

WTF. grow up, quit whining, and all of you take a dose of take-myself-less-seriously syrup and go to bed.

In my culture BOYS can get their ears pierced too (i am from india originally) and certain communities there pierce both sexes either 12 days after their birth. I live in the US, I decided to just pierce my daughters ears - why? Because she is my baby and 2 min of minor pain won't kill her and I think it adds to her baby girl "look". Yeah she could have complications yeah she might hate it later but there are plenty of other ways people make choices for their babies and this is not that life changing. If she really hates it she can remove her earrings and close up her ears. I got it done at the mall, the girl was quick and it was done really well and I took care of her cleaning and it has healed beautifully. I am so far from white trash - educated, worked in a professional career and involved in many projects around the community and most importantly - mocha brown! I think some parents might consider the "cry it out" method for sleep training more traumatithan getting a baby's ears pierced.

Got my daughters ear pierced at 12 weeks, and she has had NO problems, and she looks adorable. It was a personal prefrence for me, to each her own!

I'm not so sure that ALL girls will want them done.

And quite honestly, I would wait until my daughter was old enough to be responsible to care for them on her own.

And really, getting your ears pierced is not painful.

I had my ears pierced when I was 13 cause my father, despite cultural pressure, decided it was a trend that would pass and did not want to subject me to the pain unnecessarily. It hurt, a lot. And, for many years, I had begged and pleaded and cried cause all my friends had earrings and I didn't. So I pierced my daughter's ears at three months, at the pediatrician's office.
I have read all the comments here and what I don't understand is that it seems that all the moms that made their kids wait wound up doing it at x age, when they are definitely going to feel/remember the pain, they do fiddle with them and there is more chance of infection (dirt from playgrounds, etc.) It seems they are all going to want them eventually, so why not save yourself the grief?

Yeah, DITTO.

My entire family gets their babies ears pierced at practically birth - it looks so weird.

We won't get our daughter's done, they acted like we were from Mars.

Next thing you know people will get their kids baby tattoo's.

My thinking is because as babies they can't choose.

On the scale of things, baby ear piercing is very minor and 99% of the time, not harmful for the baby -- but I do think that just to say "it's cultural" alone is probably not the greatest explanation.

While we may be bound by cultural norms, it's still your choice -- just perhaps your reasoning for doing it so early.

I'd say do you like it -- do you think it's cute -- if you say yes to those, along with the cultural piece for some of you that makes more sense.

But just to say it's cultural is like the "well everyone's doing it" excuse that kids use.

And what if your kid doesn't want holes in her ears? It's one thing to dress them a certain way -- but another one to do body alterations that are for show and not their own personal health or enjoyment.

But then, there are soldiers in Iraq and people starving. I suppose that could use our attention more, eh?

It's interesting reading through the comments that quite a few people are against babies ears being pierced, but are willing to let their kids do it at the arbitrary age they themselves were pierced. By that logic, since I was pierced as a baby it's okay for my baby to have the same.

My parents did it to me because it was common in the culture. I will most likely choose the same for my baby.

It seems like a lot of women remember the excitement and responsibility of their first piercing and want their daughter to have the same experience. Why is that so different from my view?

Kristen, in my culture, while I'm not 100% about this, I think it's more of a practical matter: in infancy, when they haven't even discovered their ears, it's easier to do it then and maintain until they heal. It's uncommon to use anything but really small studs, and NOT diamonds (pearls, solid silver or gold).

I have to stress how "not a big deal this is" for some cultures. It's not something harmful or dangerous or traumatizing. You just do it, get it over with and that's it.

Kristen, I appreciate your curiosity, but I have to say that I'm really disappointed at the level of "what kind of cruel parents would do this?" and "cultural reasons are bullshit" going on here - over a relatively minor thing that's basically based on personal preference.

My ears were pierced when I was six weeks old, by my mom's OB/GYN. He had actually recommended it because my mom has an allergy to most metals and, for whatever reason, they believed I would be less likely to develop that allergy if my ears were pierced while I was still young. Nothing bad ever happened to them.

I had intended to pierce Alliclaus' ears, but her pediatrician wouldn't do it and I will be damned if I'm taking her to the mall for that crap. Additionally, we had a lot of problems with breastfeeding and I didn't want to compound them.

I guess I just kind of figured that I didn't do it now, I probably wouldn't let her do it for a long time. I'm not really convinced that kids who play in dirt can really keep the ears from getting infected after piercing.

Absolutely Erin.

Although I imagine there's got to be another way to teach a kid not to pull on your earrings other than get them pierced themselves.

An added bonus, I suppose.

I suppose the issue would be that it's cultural but also involves putting a hole through a kid's ear -- it's not so much like dipping him under water like they do in a baptism.

And it just seems odd to take a kid to a doctor for something totally medically unnecessary and really just for show.

Or are there other reasons other than for show that we don't know about? I'm honestly curious.

You've got your opinion, I've got mine. I have 2 girls-almost 3 and 4 months, and we did the older one 2 months ago and the baby a few weeks ago. With the baby I figured I was already cleaning something (read pee and poop) multiple times a day so why not clean her ears too so they can be all healed when she figures out they are there. Also, my three year old no longer pulls on my earrings all the time. I guess she figured out that it hurts.

I'm going to wait and let my daughter choose for herself. And if she wants to go ahead with it, we will go to the pediatrician's office. I agree with you -- doing it when they're really little would make me nervous. I would be so scared that she would pull out the earring and hurt herself.

Ear piercing is indeed common in my culture, and I fail to see what the big deal is. I'm honestly baffled by the uproar.

I've had mine pierced since I was 2 weeks old, and I can assure you that I'm not traumatized by it, nor did those tiny pearl studs I wore make me look like the daycare whore. And in the cultures where ear piercing is common, you go to a pediatrician (who usually has a nurse who does it) because it's the safest way; I mean, a mall? Come on.

And um, it's a bit much to compare ear piercing to genital mutilation.

And why are cultural reasons BS? That seems incredibly disrespectful and ignorant. Just because it's not an "American" tradition or it's something that American sensibilities don't understand doesn't make it heinous and cruel by default.

I'm not really for the whole baby piercing thing, either. Not knocking my mom, but my ears were pierced as a baby, and then my ears grew, and my earring holes are so much farther up the ear than normal. I definitely would have gotten my ears pierced eventually, but sometimes earrings don't even work because my ears grew after I got them pierced.

p.s. LOVE this blog!

My daughter is 10 months and I just got her ears pierced a couple of weeks ago. I think I was more scared and had a harder time with it than she did. The only reason she cried was because I was holding her head so she couldn't move it. After I let go, she stopped and it was as if nothing had happened. She had stopped crying before we even got to the till to pay.

The reason I decided to do it this young was because if I did it when she was a toddler, say 2-5, they play with it more; pain is over exaggerated at this age, and theres more risk for infection. Being a baby, she didn't play with it, she didn't even realize they're there. And yes. It's cute.

I don't understand people who are so against it and say a child has to wait until they're 9 or older to get it done and "choose for themselves". I'm not knocking anyone who has that opinion, just saying that really, it becomes more of a debate of "what's the point in ear piercing?" as opposed to "old enough to choose".

Once again, AMEN!

It is a foul practice. A baby, toddler, pre-schooler cannot have informed consent.

I think it is tantamount to abuse & looks horrible. There is nothing more white trash than a baby with gold earrings & one of those frilly headbands. Ewww.

Hallejuah! I got my ears pierced in 6th grade after I asked for it. Hey, that's a crazy idea... let's wait until the child is old enough to decide for herself if she wants it done!

For me, ear piercing for babies is right up there with those damn head garter belts. Should I really care if people think my little girl is a boy? I can't remember where I read this, but 'twas a really funny entry about this baby-to-bride garter that is making someone rich. You can put it on your little darling's head, and then 20+ years later, her husband's drunk best friend can pull it off her leg at her wedding to toss around. Wha?

BTW- Cultural reasons are BS. It is cultural to perform genital mutilation, but that doesn't make it right or acceptable.

Ha! I was just having this conversation with my MIL. I'm making my daughter wait until she's at least 5, but probably 7, which is the arbitrary age my own mother decided was appropriate for adorning my ears with thick silver studs.

I agree too for several reasons.
(1) Allergies. My mother is old school and pierced my ears when I was 12 with a straight pen and straw... (southern thing, I think)! Anyway, to this day if I wear earring for more than 2-3 minutes my earring balloon and get infected....

(2) Pain. It hurts. It hurts regardless of how old you are. Unless a little 4 day old looks at you and says, "mommy, that really did not hurt," then how can you know?

(3) NO CHILD SHOULD SHOULD OWN DIAMONDS UNTIL THEY ARE TRULY OLD ENOUGH TO APPRECIATE THEM. To a baby they are just shinny things that may taste good. What is the point?

I so agree. My best friend just got her 4-month old daughter's ear's pierced and I kept saying, "Why are you doing this???" And she said because it doesn't hurt as much if you do it early. What??? I still don't get it. But she's not my daughter, so I just looked away.

I agree. I got mine done when I was five..as my birthday present. It was a big deal. Ears pierced at the mall and then out to lunch. My daughter will be four in a few weeks. She has asked about it. I told her I would consider it for her fifth birthday.

I don't like the idea of piercing babys' ears, but I do see how it is a cultural thing too. Whatever. It's five years or older in our house. :)

I got my ears pierced at 12, because I wanted it. After the initial healing period, they got infected a lot, regardless of the fact that I was OCD about cleaning them and my earrings. Turns out I am allergic to nickel. I stopped wearing earrings for a while, then got them redone at 15 - it hurt worse the second time (hooray, scar tissue!), but I'm glad I did. I got my nose pierced, last year. I'm contemplating other piercings, as well.

All that being said, I was consenting for each of my piercings. I even paid for all of them with my own money (allowance, at first, obviously).

I suppose to each their own, but I feel like the only people that should be allowed to make decisions about permanent changes to a body are those who inhabit it. (Yes, you can choose not to wear earrings... and your holes might close, but the scar tissue will always remain.)

I am so with you. Ick.

On more than one occasion, including with my SIL, I've very wrongly assumed that the Moms were kidding about having it done and have said something stupid to embarrass us all.

I'll just never understand.

I'm with you on this one. It may be cute, but it doesn't seem practical. Plus, as was said before, babies are cute enough as they are. No need to put a bunch of jewerly on them.

I used to work in a jewelry store at the mall that did ear piercings. We always insisted babies be at least a few months old, so that they would probably have their early shots done. But I always hated doing babies.

The worst was the teen mom who tried to get us to do a SECOND piercing on her under 6 month old infant. We refused, as the ears were too small, and explained that the earrings would be lopsided as the girl grew if they were done so early.

And then there was the mom who wanted her infant son's ear pierced so that people would quit asking if it was a boy or a girl. I think one of my coworkers ended up doing that one, despite everyone else saying that yes, it would solve the questions - everyone would see the earring and assume "girl"!

As for me, my daughter can get her ears pierced when she asks for it and I feel she is responsible enough.

I will also say that I am also allergic to the metal in earrings. Most often it is due to the nickel, so either higher karat gold, such as 18k, or coat the posts with clear nail polish. Either works for me so that I don't have trouble with my earring when I want to wear them.

I had a friend (once) who was shocked one day to find that her 1 yr old daughter had somehow managed to unclasp her earring and swallow it. Her diamond earring. I'm not sure I laughed more at the fact that a 1 year old had diamond earrings while I did not or that she was surprised that a child was that smart.

And i've tried the leash thing. It's a god send if you're in walmart on a saturday with 4 three year olds. Oh and they're out of shopping carts.

Interesting point of view. The piercing debate sounds a lot like the circumcision debate (they won't remember it, it's better/easier to do when they're babies, it's superficial and unnecessary, etc.) In the end it's a personal decision to snip, pierce, or otherwise alter our children's appearance.

Having said that, my daughter's ears were pierced at 6 months, just as mine were. For me it was all about family tradition.

I think babies are cute enough without any jewelry. And once in a baby store, I saw baby perfume -- come on!

I agree. I was 5 when I got my ears pierced. It wasn't really my idea. Or my parents'. My aunt took me on the morning of my 5th birthday. I wasn't too hot on the plan once I got a look at what they were going to use to pierce my ears. But, now I'm glad that I did because now on special occasions, it gives me one more accessory that I have to pay for to close up the deal on my outfit. =\

Yesterday, just yesterday, a neighbor was cooing over my 3 mo. girl, saying "we" should get her ears pierced. And then SHE looked at ME like __I__ was the crazy one when I was obviously aghast.

I'm with ya, Kristen.

Oh. Mom-101. I thought those were for my nipples.

Ahh, I read it as "how did K.R. recover from such a bad movie and still end up with a career." Rereading, I still read it that way! *laugh* Oh well.

Anyhow, I'm off to get my 9 month old son a "Prince Albert" right now.

I agree that it's cultural. Italians do it too. I had mine pierced when I was four. A woman did it in a fancy jewelry store (by HAND--this was back in the day). My sister got hers done then as well but most of my girl cousins had theirs done really little, by the Baptism, probably. I never thought much of it before.

But if you don't pierce them, what will you do with all the dangly hoop baby earrings you get at your shower?

A puzzle.

In college, I worked at the jewelry department at Wal-Mart. I used to pierce ears. You know how I learned? A 10-minute video. I never had to pierce a tiny baby's ears, but I did once pierce a 3-year-old boy's. He insisted on having an earring in his right ear. His dad stood right there and let it happen. I know the standards of which side to pierce on boys isn't what it used to be... but I was just disgusted. So trashy.

Delurking to say, I totally agree with the no ear piercing for baby girls (or boys for that matter). Safety and hygeine and unecessity aside, I'm going to go pure snob and say, I think it just looks totally white trash. Maybe it's just in my area, I know for some it's a "cultural" thing but to me it just looks tacky.

There, I said it, thank you (practically) anonymous internets!

I said after Bill and Ted's, Bill. He clearly jumped the shark after that.

The Matrix? That's only because he didn't have to talk much and just wandered around dodging bullets in a long black coat.

I love me a battle over Keanu though. This is a post in and of itself.

I'm in total agreement with you. I don't think it's right to make a decision that permanently changes a child's body without their consent.

I completely DISAGREE! Bill and Ted's was hilarious, and Keanu was awesome in The Matrix!

What? Ear piercing? Oh...well...I don't really get it either, but as long as you don't pierce my kid's ears, do what you want. That's what I always say. Literally - I wander around saying that exact sentence. People don't talk to me much.

I said sort of.

:)

I think it's very common here (Los Angeles), but it's a cultural thing. I wouldn't do it, it just seems like a waste of time and energy. My future kids will have to wait until they're 10, just like I did. Then they can deal with the infection, just like I did. ;)

The leash, really? You understand the leash? I don't, but to each his own. On the burgers, well I don't like burgers from anywhere, but I swear they must lace their fries with crack, because they are way too good.

In the hospital?

Wow.


It's cultural.

Us latinos do it when babies are newborns. They get it done in the hopsital, and it never gets infected.

I always thought it was strange how in US kids have to wait to do it until they're teenagers. Because, it's only earrings! Nothing special, really.

Different strokes for different folks I guess.

I had both of my girls' ears pierced when they were 3 months old. Neither of my girls got infected and neither of them ever bothered their earrings. My 1 year old still never touches them. They only cried becuz we had to hold their head still to have it done and AS SOON as it was done they stopped crying immediately. And i don't think it hurts them...if it did they would be pulling on their ears afterwards. Then again, i don't think any of my piercings hurt either...sure there's the intial poke but then it doesn't hurt afterwards.

I've had my ears pierced since i was 4...i don't wear earrings all the time (since i have children that like to bother MY earrings) and when i do i have no issues. My 8 year old at this point could stop wearing them and still have the holes later for special occasions when she wanted to wear earrings. But she likes wearing earrings and notices something's missing if she forgets to put them back in after soccer.

But then again I'm 1/2 mexican & dh is Indian (from India) so it's normal for us to see little girls with piercings and jewelry.

And my 2 boys? Umm....NO! It's not the same for boys IMO. My dh had his pierced in high school and hasn't worn earrings since he graduated from college and has repeatedly said it's one of the dumbest things he ever did....which seems to be the consensus among most guys that we know (we were actually having an earring discussion a couple weeks ago)

I know several women who took their daughters to have their ears pierced at 2 MONTHS OLD. I was absolutely shocked. What's worse is they defend their decision ten fold.

"It's so much easier because they don't remember the pain."

Ummm...Okay. But it stil HURTS!

I told my daughter if she wanted her ears pierced, she could get them done when she was nine, which was when I got MINE done. AND she will have to be responsible and take care of her ears AND earrings.

A friend of mine had her mother watch her daughter for a few hours for a gyn appointment...the woman had the GALL to take the baby to the piercing place at a mall and get her ears pierced! EVEN after my friend had specifically said she didn't want the ears pierced. This caused a major battle. You are SHOOTING metal through a BABY'S ear...you can't justify it any other way. As an adult (or older child) you can PREPARE for the pain...but this is just not right!

I don't have my ears pierced and I'm 25. And I don't plan to get them pierced. I don't wear much jewlery other than my wedding and engagements rings, I know I will get infections, and I'm not sure it's good to put a hole in my body that God didn't put there (but that's a whole other discussion).

I think getting your ears pierced is a personal decision. That being said, I don't believe in piercing a baby's ears. I think that when they grow old enough to decide whether or not they want them, and whether or not it's right for them, then they should make the decision.

But that's just my opinion.

I don't understand it, either.

But McDonald's hamburgers? They're mighty tasty.

I totally agree! My mom wanted to pierce my daughter's ears and I said Hell NO!! It looks trashy to me. I want my daughter to have piercings and tattoos and sex and all that, but not until she can decide for herself.

My daughter just had them done at the age of 7. She had been asking for a while and I finally agreed she could have her ears done if her grades were high enough. We went to a licensed tattoo/piercing place NOT to the hepatitis shack at the mall (shudder)..

I got my ears pierced when I was four...as soon as I was old enough to want 'em done. I'll do the same with my daughter. I just don't see the harm in it. I went to school with a bunch of girls who weren't allowed to have earings until they were 10, or 12, or 16 or whatever. I always thought they must have strange, puritanical parents. But here are all of you seemingly normal people and you have the same opinion. So strange...

My mother totally ruined the experience of getting our ears pierced for my sister and I. We couldn't get them pierced until the day we started our first periods. Neither of us were thrilled with the idea of puberty, so having a permanent reminder of that day was a little embarassing, especially when our friends asked why our mom finally let us get piercings.

My sister says her daughter can get her ears pierced at 8, in time for her first communion.

My husband is soooooo against the earrings on babies. Its so hysterical to see him get all worked up about it that I bring it up at least once a week.....for more entertainment value.

But I agree.......no earrings on babies. Cultural reasons are one thing but "just cause" is not a reason.

I was 10 when I got my ears peirced and it was a result of a bribe......stop sucking my fingers in time to get braces and mom would let me get my ears pierced.

My mom made me wait until I was 12. Once I got them, I was off and running. I like piercings, (even though the only ones I have are in my ears.) I have 3 girls. I pierced all of them at 5 months old. None of them ever messed with the earrings or got infected. Now at 17, 14 and 9 1/2...two of them wear their earrings all the time, the other one only wears them once in a while. I don't think piercing their ears at a young age affected them adversely or caused them to be traumatized in any way. I guess it’s like anything else; it all boils down to your personal preference. I was a VERY young mother so maybe that had something to do with it.On the other hand, I can’t say that if I had another daughter now at almost 36, I wouldn’t do the same thing all over again.

"In fact, many moms are taking their kids to the pediatrician to get them done."

Whaaaaaaaat? I thought you were somewhere in the US, but now I guess you must be living in Egypt or Pakistan. I always thought a pediatrician's job was to cure a baby, or at least prevent a child from getting sick.

In Europe most jewelers won't do piercings of any kind before a child turns 4, so it can say "no" if necessary (and as if that makes a difference...).

Apart from being potentially dangerous, I think a toddler with earrings looks ridiculous and tacky, not cute.

My parents owned a jewelry store until I was 12, and at 32 years old my ears still aren't pierced. My dad just couldn't make himself do it when I begged for them :-) And now, like you, I couldn't care less about my ear-ring-less-ears.

Kristin - I totally agree.

Exactly! I didn't get my daughter's ears pierced until she was 8 and could take care of them herself. Like I needed something else to take care of when she was a baby - I didn't have the time to put earrings in my own ears, why the hell would I want to find time to put them in hers? So I waited until she could clean them and change them on her own.

Agreed. My mom suffered years of me asking, but made me wait until I was 16.

My daughter is 39 months and she still doesn't have earrings. She says she wants them and she can get them when I know she completely grasps the concept. One of my neices had hers done as a baby. (That side of my family thought I was crazy) My other neice got hers while she was three. She began to cry when she sat down to do it but when her mother explained that she didn't have to get them done she continued crying and insisted that they pierce her ears. I definitely feel that that 3 year old was ready, but mine is not yet. If someone wants to I guess that is their decision but there is enough to worry about with your children than to add earring infections, which I have had alot of.

Have you ever tried surgical steel? Works great in my ears, and I had an infection in one of them (back in the day) that makes me want to gag, just thinking about it now.

I agree. A girl should be old enough to decide for herself.

I can understand people who do it for cultural reasons. One of my coworkers is Egyptian, and said it is done commonly there to newborn girls, and the gold and sometimes diamond earrings have a special significance to the girl. (something about the earrings being her own property, and a sign her father will provide for her)

But to do it "just because"? I can't get behind that. Why bring that added risk of infection and injury to a baby for a fashion statement? Wait until your daughter is old enough to make the decision on her own.

I wasn't allowed to get my ears pierced until I was 13, when I was old enough to understand the need to care for them and do it all myself.

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