Got Earrings?

When I was an infant, my maternal grandmother numbed my ears with ice, held a piece of cork to the back and pushed a threaded needle through my tiny earlobe. The needle went into the cork, and she pulled the rest of the needle through my ear, snipped the thread and tied it into a circle. I didn’t feel a thing, as the story goes, and the little piece of string was replaced with tiny 14k gold hoop earrings. I’ve worn earrings every day since.  So, it wasn’t difficult to decide what I would do when I had my own daughters. They would have earrings.

That decision is controversial in some quarters and has been associated with demons. Even as a young girl, I noticed some parents frowned on the decision. People often asked me who had pierced my ears. I noticed something else, too. The decision to have or not to have earrings fell along color lines. If I saw a baby or child with earrings, she was more likely to have a mother of color. Those attitudes are changing. Today, I see children of all races with earrings in their ears. Still, I didn’t share my decision with any of the other women in my family, and I clearly remember the surprise in my mother-in-law’s voice when she saw those little sparkles in Simone’s ears.

If memory serves, my grandmother simply thought little girls were supposed to have earrings. I know very few, if any, women who haven’t had their ears pierced. Even Oprah Winfrey, who had worn clip-ons most of her life, finally relented and had her ears pierced on national television.

When Simone and Nadia were both around 4-months-old, their pediatrician pierced their ears with one of those gun-like contraptions. There were tears, but nothing more than any shot had produced. I turned those little earrings and kept them clean, and our pediatrician always checked them during well baby visits. I hadn’t given them any thought, until a friend pointed out some comments she had seen online. Some considered it backward even borderline abusive to pierce a child’s ears. As for me, I doubt Simone or Nadia will ever corner me one day and demand to know why I had their ears pierced.

So, what do you say? Have you pierced your daughter’s ears? If so, why? If not, why not?

  • We just had our daughter’s ears pierced for her 3rd birthday and she loves them! I went back and forth about having them pierced when she was an infant but felt that maybe she had gone through too much, being uprooted from her birth country and stuck with 2 clueless parents (lol!) that I chickened out until recently 🙂

  • Maribel

    My little girl had her ears pierced when she was about 1. Since then we had gone over 10+ pairs of earrings she just lost one, and guess what I FOUND IT 1/2 a second before the vacuum swallowed it. I when to the sink and tried to save it, rinsed it with water and I dropped it. So the earrings I bought about 3 weeks ago are done and gone. She said “I guess we just have to go to the store again” I payed $60.00 for those things. But I guess she is right.

  • Maribel

    My little girl had her ears pierced when she was about 1. Since then we had gone over 10+ pairs of earrings she just lost one, and guess what I FOUNG IT 1/2 a second before the vacuum swallowed it. I when to the sink and tried to save it, rinsed it with water and I dropped it. So the earrings I bought about 3 weeks ago are done and gone. She said “I guess we just have to go to the store again” I payed 60.00 for those things. But I guess she is right.

  • My daughter has her ears pierced when she was around 5 months old. I see nothing wrong with it, she cried for a few seconds and now, at 4 years old, she loves picking out different earrings to wear. Such a girly girl!

  • Rania

    I had the same piercing experience when I was a baby but my mom did the piercing, not my grandmother. And I was 9 months I believe. Maybe slightly older but it was before I was 1.

    My husband’s family (white) doesn’t pierce and when I brought up having my little girl’s ears getting pierced he was really against it. I never thought it would be such a hot button and I always thought it was a given she’d be peirced. Like circumcision for my sons, I just didn’t think twice about it. However he wasn’t on board and it took my sister and mom to talk him down from the ledge and relent to let his little girl finally get pierced at 9 mons. LOL.

    She cried for 30 seconds total. Then she was on to other things. Seriously. What a champ! I’ve been pierced on my ears and belly button (2x)and neither hurt more than a shot would just as ear piercings don’t really hurt esp now with the automated gun!!! Mine was with a sterilized sewing needle and clothes pins! They have it much better off now. I don’t think it’s abuse at all.

    – Rania

  • If Baby SLS is a girl, we will pierce. I remember having a ballerina stand thing that my studs went into when I changed them. Loved that! I think this is one of those hot button for no good reason parenting issues, similar to the circumcision debate.

  • We will treat it as a right of passage as they grow. They can decide whether or not to have their ears pierced some time during puberty. If they choose to have them pierced, we will make it into a little celebration. If they aren’t interested, we are fine with that too.

  • I waffled back and forth but we eventually pierced. Our daughter was old enough to ask for earrings (actually pestered us about it) so we had them done at about 2 years old… Little sister went along for the ride at a year old because I knew she would want them if Lex had them. If I did it again, I’d actually do it younger (months old) if possible.

    I definitely don’t see it as child abuse, but was more concerned about gender roles and doing it before kids could actually choose.

  • I keep on going back and forth with myself about this. I didn’t have my ears pierced til I was 6. I also kind of don’t want to deal with a whole day of fallout if Betty is as upset about as she gets w/ shots. But I don’t think it’s abusive at all. Earrings are pretty and to each mom her own. I’ve never seen a black girl turn around and get mad that her ears were pierced when she was younger! I wouldn’t worry about it, if I were you.

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