When both of our daughters were babies, we wanted their ears be pierced. I’d had my ears pierced as a toddler (and as an adult, find it nearly impossible to leave the house without earrings…I feel like I’m going out desnuda), and I wanted to keep with Latin tradition of piercing them as young as possible. Their madrina was thrilled to go with tradition, get the procedure done at the pediatrician, and get the girls their first pendientes.
After their adoptions were completed and we brought them home to Pennsylvania, we got a lot of remarks about their pierced ears. Actually, more than remarks, we just got a lot of looks. In a number of waiting rooms, I was asked with dirty looks if their ears were really pierced (no, with 3 kids, I have time to just put stickers on my seven month olds’ ears!) Around the neighborhood, a number of tween girls still without pierced ears themselves peered into our stroller and gave our girls jealous, sulky looks before launching more pointed complaining at their own mothers.
I’ve heard some non-Latinas decry baby ear piercing as cruel and vain (and even vulgar!), but to my mind, it is a safe (if done at a reputable place, and kept clean, and screwback earrings are used), beautiful way to pass along one Latina tradition, and of adorning your princesa.
I say this even after we’ve experienced a downside of ear piercing at a young age. A few weeks ago, my girls were down at bedtime when I heard from downstairs my older daughter say, “I have an idea!” At those words, I started running up the stairs. When I got to their room, I heard, “Oh, it baaaad idea.” Apparently, my older daughter asked my younger one to switch out her earrings for her (why?!) and my younger one, not being able to manage screwbacks (and that being the point), just ripped the earring out of her ear. In spite of this fiasco, there was no crying from my older daughter…not for the ripped ear lobe then, not for the four stitches put in in the E.R. later that night, not for the reconstructive ear surgery that had to be done a week later by our E.N.T. when the stitches didn’t work.
What did make her cry? When, because we have to wait a year to get her ear re-pierced, I told her we’d take the other earring out, so both ears would match. Suficiente berrinche that she’ll be rocking the one pendiente until she gets the other back.
Maybe cruel, or vain, or vulgar in the eyes of some…but the pierced-ear princesas prove to be capaz of stunning beauty and strength. At every age.