Kate turns seven next week. She’s asked to get her ears pierced so we’re going to head to the mall the day before her party that way she’ll be able to show off her earrings to her friends.
I got my ears pierced at the ripe old age of eight back when you had to go to a doctor’s office to have it done. I don’t remember my parents ever saying “You can’t get your ears pierced until you are X years old.” I didn’t even ask until I turned eight and by then it was fine. I’ll never forget sitting on the examining table, kicking my legs and waiting impatiently for the nurse. The only problem was this: the clinic only had one piercing gun.
I got one ear pierced and it hurt and the gun made a loud snapping noise. I freaked out and refused to get the other ear pierced for at least 20 minutes. I remember asking to go look in the mirror at my one throbbing lobe. I studied my dark red ear lobe with the gold ball in the middle with a look of terror on my face and told my mom I didn’t want to get the other one done. My mother, who had no problem with letting me get my ears pierced in the first place, did put her foot down on this time. I was not leaving the clinic until the other ear was pierced. She had to pay either way, I had insisted I really, really, really wanted to do it and I had one ear pierced already. I finally left with a gold ball in each ear and 32 years later, I still wear earrings almost every day.
Thankfully, most of the stores that offer ear piercing today have two guns so both ears can be pierced at the same time. That would have saved both me, my mother and the nurse half an hour of whining back in 1982. If Kate chooses to go through with it, I’ll let her. If she changes her mind at the last minute, that’s ok too. But if the store doesn’t offer two ears at once—we’re finding one that does. I can see the exact same thing happening with Kate.
I have a few friends who have gotten their daughter’s ears pierced shortly after birth. I don’t have any strong opinions on the matter either way. Ear piercing at a young age is often a cultural practice and it’s up to each set of parents to decide. I’ve heard a few moms say they don’t feel like it’s their choice to decide when put holes in their daughter’s body and that if she wants to do it, she can decide when she’s older. Yet, at the same time, I’ve never heard an adult who had their ears pierced as an infant feel as though she was harmed or emotionally scarred or even unhappy with her parents’ decision. So many ideas of what is right and wrong, when it comes to parenting, are really a matter of what is right or wrong for individual families and if others do differently, that’s their business.
If you have a daughter, does she have her ears pierced? How old was she? How do you feel about infants having their ears pierced?