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earrings on babies?

Multiple people have asked me when I'm going to get Josie's ears pierced. Huh?

I got my ears pierced when I was 11 or so... it was sort of a right of passage. I was not ALLOWED to have them pierced before that, and when I turned 11 Mom took me to the mall and we had a nice womanhood bonding day. Or maybe it was 13? Hell I don't know, but it was some age where I was excited about it and made a conscious decision to want it.

Then around my later years in college I had no time for earrings ever, didn't care for jewelry anyway, so my ears really aren't pierced anymore. So that'll tell you how much I care about it. Marc has earrings, but I don't.

I never would have thought to get an infants ears pierced but everyone keeps bringing it up. One of the neighborhood gals at bunco told me, "You should do it now, because if you wait until she's 2 or 3 she'll just mess with them all the time!" Wait until she's 2 or 3? Again, my train of thinking on this was completely different.

I thought baby ear piercing was a hispanic community thing? Maybe it's a Wichita, Kansas thing?

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litlebanana
Sep. 26th, 2010 03:23 pm (UTC)
My aunt (in Long Island) pierced both my cousins' ears when they were infants. I don't get infant ear piercing at all. Why on earth would I want to bother with earrings on my kid? It's not like she's trying to look pretty to meet men.
circe811
Sep. 26th, 2010 03:25 pm (UTC)
I don't think it's just a Hispanic thing, but I do think it may be kind of local to this area. Elery had his daughter's ears pierced when she was a baby. I was the same as you. I was not allowed to get mine pierced before I was about 12 and even then my father was deadset against it and my mother took me anyways.

I'm not sure what I think about it. It just seems so pointless when they're so young and it certainly isn't for the kiddo since they're not at a point where they can like it or dislike it yet. It's not like it hurts so much that it's best to get it done when they don't remember.
easter
Sep. 26th, 2010 03:27 pm (UTC)
I was ten, and I had them pierced because I asked. Hungarian culture though usually is in favor of infant ear-piercing, which is what my aunt did with my cousins. I'm neither for nor against it.
stephbarnard
Sep. 26th, 2010 03:29 pm (UTC)
Mine were pierced the first time when I was about 4... but I must have asked for them; I don't think my mom would have randomly decided to do that. I was still too young for it, though -- one of them got all infected and painful and we ended up having to let them grow in. I got them re-pierced when I was a little older (8 or 9, I think, then a second set of holes around age 11).

That's weird that people have been asking you about it. I didn't realize it was so popular around here.
feanelwa
Sep. 26th, 2010 03:49 pm (UTC)
Because otherwise she'll never Get A Man (TM), or something? Weeeeird.

Here if a baby has earrings it's either a religious or cultural tradition from somewhere, or the child of some unfortunate teenage parents who thought they would be getting something a bit like a dressup doll but warmer.
aparecida
Sep. 26th, 2010 04:09 pm (UTC)
All my (95% African-American) female infant patients have their ears pierced. It seems to be cultural. I wasn't aware of white people doing it hereabouts.

Whenever you get it done, if she wants of course, consider going to a piercer -- less tissue trauma in my opinion than forcing a fairly blunt stud through with a spring loaded gun.
zaplightsmusic
Sep. 26th, 2010 04:17 pm (UTC)
less tissue trauma in my opinion than forcing a fairly blunt stud through with a spring loaded gun.
this! just the idea of getting anything pierced with a gun again and having to hear that noise of the gun forcing the stud in. ugh!

i'd be scared for my baby to have any jewellery just in case there was some sort of swallowing incident, plus, it just seems right to let her choose herself. no disrespect to people for whom it's a cultural or religious thing, but if it's not, then i don't see a reason to do it.
mrs_dragon
Sep. 26th, 2010 04:11 pm (UTC)
I grew up in LA and the vast majority of my elementary school classmates had pierced ears. I had been told I couldn't until I was some magic age (13? I think?). It didn't really matter, I thought it would be too painful and my mom doesn't have pierced ears so it's not like she was pushing. I ended up getting ears pierced at the end of my freshman year in college. I had been wanting to get multiple piercings for a while and finally decided to get one set, just to see how much it hurt. I waited about 6 months for those to heal and got the next 5 in one go.
(Anonymous)
Sep. 26th, 2010 04:15 pm (UTC)
My parents didn't allow me to get my ears pierced when I was a kid (it was "common"), and I had it done when I was 18 (and another one in the left ear only when I was 22).

My eldest daughter was 13 when she and I got my other half to grudgingly allow it, and then she took the lead and paid for both of her sisters to have their ears pierced, one on her 14th birthday and the other on her 15th (a few weeks ago).

If it had been only me, I'd probably have their ears done as soon as they asked for it, 5-6 or so.
metawidget
Sep. 26th, 2010 04:20 pm (UTC)
We have a boy, so we're safe from infant piercing pressure, but I do find it strange and sort of superfluous to pierce an infant's ears. I mean, there are enough new, distressing and potentially infectious things in an infant's life, and they're unlikely to get much enjoyment out of ear studs at a year old.

I sort of view it as being in the same category but less drastic than circumcision — I wouldn't rail against it too hard for other people for whom it's a tradition, but I won't make the decision for any kid of mine to get any new holes or any bits sliced off for non-medical reasons.

Edited at 2010-09-26 04:21 pm (UTC)
tabloidscully
Sep. 26th, 2010 04:21 pm (UTC)
I think it's become less of a cultural issue, and one more related to gender. Earrings are a quick way to communicate which babies are girls, because the trend of boys getting pierced ears hasn't quite gone down to that age.

I had my ears pierced as a baby, though I couldn't tell you when. Having since pierced several places on my body, I can only marvel that they stayed in. I took excellent care of my nose, navel and the other piercings I had, and they still somehow always managed to get infected to the point that I let them close. Maybe my body is just inherently anti-piercing, or something? The only piercings I've had as an adult that lasted are the second ones I had punched in my ears about three years ago.

As for whether I'll piece my daughter's ears, I go back and forth. I know it's the huge cultural norm and rite of passage that can make her a target if I don't do it, and yet on the other hand I feel like there's a usurpation of her bodily autonomy if I just decide to pierce them so maybe she won't get teased down the road or so she'll be more easily gender-identified by strangers.
irinarempt.pip.verisignlabs.com
Sep. 26th, 2010 04:32 pm (UTC)
Er, that was me, didn't intend to be anonymous.h
brian1789
Sep. 26th, 2010 04:40 pm (UTC)
I think it's a regional as well as socio-demographic issue. Out here in (mostly technology-savvy and relatively affluent) Silicon Valley, infant piercing is uncommon and considered a sort of weird thing, outside of recent-immigrant Hispanic families. I have three (unpierced, teenaged) boys, but of my friends with daughters, I think the youngest got her ears pierced at 11. And some girls aren't getting pierced at all, possibly as a way to differentiate themselves.
indyamy
Sep. 26th, 2010 05:00 pm (UTC)
Most of the people I've seen do it because it's easier to tell that the baby is a girl. They put that elastic headband on and pierce the ears. I'm all for an appropriately sized headband, but I think the ear piercing can wait. I was in 5th grade when I had it done.
blakechorusgirl
Sep. 26th, 2010 05:17 pm (UTC)
I was allowed to have my ears pierced when I was 10, in the fourth grade. I was one of the only girls that didn't have pierced ears, but I also didn't care much about what I wore or looked like until then. In hindsight, I'm glad my parents didn't pierce mine as an infant. It's a choice that should be up to the person who owns the ears.
dreago
Sep. 26th, 2010 06:29 pm (UTC)
I'm hispanic and I had my ears pierced as a baby. My mother reports that there was no infection and I was too small to be able to pull or mess with the earrings. For some reason, my mother waited until my sister was older, into her toddlerhood. That was a big mistake. She pulled them out and the holes closed up. I think my sister was 19 or 20 when she had to go get them re-pierced- she had been too scared to go earlier. So I don't know if it is a hispanic thing although latin culture is extremely aesthetically oriented so I imagine dolling your baby up is part of that. I've seen boy babies with jewelry on too (not earrings usually, an id bracelet or necklace with a gold saint's medallion). As a 7 year old child, I had a jewelry collection which included real gemstones like emeralds and pearls. I remember there was a sense that I shouldn't lose them and that they went with my fancy clothes, but I don't remember feeling like, "oh, I'm putting on my pearls now, I'm so grown up." OTOH, we were also the type of family that bought a new fancy dress for us every Easter and Christmas without fail until my parents split up and then we were much too poor for that.

Looking around the neighborhood where I currently live, which is very Mexican, I see that people will use any excuse to dress up there kids. You should see Head Start graduation. Boys are wearing suits, baby cologne and are taken to the barber. Girls have updo's and fancy dresses with petticoats. It was the talk of the town when the priest from germany lectured the parish about not dressing up the girls like mini brides for their first communion. He banned up-dos, white dresses and petticoats. Girls were to come to church wearing pastels and simple dresses without ruffles or flounce. My clients who told me about this reacted as if he had asked the children to come to church naked. It was quite funny. I *think* the formality has something to do with our Spanish heritage. I hear that in Spain, presentation and image is everything.

Now, I have talked to a few of my white friends who said that in their families earrings= puberty/rite of womanhood, up there with shaving your legs. Which makes no sense to me. And some friends said they couldn't wear dangly earrings until a certain age. I don't know what earrings have to do with sexuality or growing up. I'm hoping someone here will have a theory on it. I love this kind of cultural comparative stuff- especially around girly things.
crazyzofo
Sep. 26th, 2010 06:53 pm (UTC)
I'm curious about the rite of passage/puberty thing too, i never understood. you're a girl all your life, its not like puberty has to be the time that you finally get to express it.

i'm greek and portuguese, and my mother got my ears pierced when i was a few weeks old because thats what little portuguese girls do. i always had little baby necklaces and bracelets.

growing up i'm pretty sure it was just me and the hispanic girls who had our ears pierced, all my white friends had to wait until they were 10 or 13 or whatever. i never really understood why, though. its not like youre picking out baby's first tattoo.

i always really liked having earrings, growing up. i very vividly remember having these pink popsicle earrings that my dad would always pretend to eat. i had christmas trees and easter eggs and lots of cute ones. i feel naked without earrings on.
(no subject) - astrogeek01 - Sep. 26th, 2010 07:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - zaplightsmusic - Sep. 27th, 2010 04:06 am (UTC) - Expand
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