Piercing My Son’s Ears
We have seen countless videos on the internet of baby girls getting their ears pierced. We swoon and we say “awe, she’s so adorable!” “What a big girl she is!” *Insert heart eye emoji.* We watch the parents comfort their daughters afterward and think of what it will be like when we pierce our own daughter’s ears. It is the norm. However, I do not have a daughter. I have a son. Yes, I pierced my son’s ears and I do not feel bad about it. I also do not care what anyone else thinks either. The decision to pierce my son’s ears was not easily made. But, I learned a valuable lesson. Keep reading to find out what I learned from piercing my son’s ears.
How It Began
Shortly after Jaxon was born last November, Marquis mentioned that when Jaxon turned one, he would pierce Jax’s ears. As a new mother, I instantly objected. “NO! He’s a boy. You can’t pierce his ears. We need to allow him to make that choice on his own. Little boys just do not have their ears pierced.” Apart from circumcision which was for obvious health reasons, I did not want to be that parent who made every decision for their child without their consent. But, what do you do when your child is not old enough to consent? How old will they be when they ARE old enough to consent?
Marquis’ counter-argument was, “little girls get their ears pierced, why can’t little boys?” “Both of my ears are pierced. So are my brothers, your brother, and countless other men in our families.”
Would I hesitate to pierce my infant daughter’s ears if I had one? No, I probably would not. I got my ears pierced as a baby. But, I’m a girl and he’s a boy. That’s a good argument, right? Wrong.
Another fear I had for piercing my son’s ears were, what would OTHER people say? Living in the Deep South, gender conformity is just what it is. Girls wear dresses, men wear pants. Does that mean I wanted to be like everyone else? No. I just did not want Jaxon to get older, and be upset with his parents for piercing his ears nor did I want him to be judged for it.
But what if other children pick on him?
What if he does not think having your ears pierced is cool?
Do we take them out if he does not like them?
Marquis pushed back by saying, “I want him to look like me.”
For the Culture
I needed a legit reason to agree to modify my infant son’s body. It’s not a part of our culture. Or is it? We’re African American. Most African American men that I know have their ears pierced. How old were they, though? My brother was a teenager. Marquis was too. He swears that his brothers were all babies when they got their ears pierced. But, do other people pierce their son’s ears? Not anyone that I personally know. But then again, I live in Mississippi. I do not know what people in other parts of the country do. The fact still remained, that I needed a valid excuse to justify piercing my son’s ears.
In the end, it really just seemed to me that piercing Jaxon’s ears was simply for him to look even more like his daddy. I also believe that piercing a baby’s ear, boy or girl, is for either vanity purposes or religious/cultural reasons. As far as I know, the men and women in my family who have their ears pierced did so simply for vanity. I understand that it may not be a perfect reason to do so, but, Marquis wants his son to look like him.
Just one week shy of Jaxon’s first birthday, Marquis text me and said, “when we get home, we’re taking Jaxon to get his ears pierced.” No. Absolutely not. We’re not about to make that decision for him. We need to wait until he’s older. Plus, it’s going to hurt him! Marquis, however, insisted. This year-long debate was stirring up yet again.
We ended the conversation with me telling him to just wait to talk about it when we both got home. Marquis’ entire attitude throughout the past year has been, “I’m his parent too. I can do what I want.” Whereas, I feel like we should compromise. If we can’t compromise, then we cannot do whatever it is we are disagreeing about. But, that means I win, correct?
So, I decided to offer a compromise. Marquis wanted both of Jaxon’s ears pierced. I wanted neither. So, the compromise was to get his left ear pierced. Marquis STILL disagreed.
Throughout the day while I was at work, I mulled over all of the points Marquis raised.
I decided that I had enough of the back and forth. What the heck. If he grows up to not like them, then he can just take them out. Whatever. Let’s go.
If our Pediatrician’s office offered ear piercing, I would have taken Jaxon there. However, our only option was Walmart. We took him to the nearest Walmart around 8 PM. The lady at the counter was cordial when we first arrived. She asked if we were going to pierce “her” ears tonight. She did not see Jaxon’s face and only his hair, and automatically assumed he was a girl. We adamantly corrected her, and then her entire attitude changed.
Her face clearly showed displeasure for piercing my son’s ears. She said to us, “Why won’t you wait until he is older so he can make that decision on his own?” My argument for not doing it was validated at that very moment. Also, at that very moment, I decided that I did not care what anyone thought. I was so extremely upset, that I did not want this woman, with this attitude, to ruin this experience for us. She made one too many excuses as to why Jaxon could not get his ears pierced.
Was this the attitude we would face from everyone we encountered? If so, then boo hoo, sad story. I don’t care what you think.
We left and went to another Walmart. The lady there was pleasant, sweet, and made Jaxon happy. He cried only at the initial piercing of his ear and was in good spirits afterward.
What is the takeaway from this?
What I learned from this experience is that it is not about what others think, or what they say. It’s what we decide to teach Jaxon that’s important. He will grow up surrounded by men that look like him, with earrings. He will learn to not care about what other people think when it comes to appearances. As long as he is happy, what others think will not matter. It’s okay for little girls AND little boys to have earrings. If they grow older and do not like them, they can be taken out. Hopefully, by then, little boys with pierced ears will too be the norm.
At this point, I also do not care what people think of my parenting decisions. Jaxon is loved by so many people, and he is well taken care of. He radiates joy because that is the type of love he is exposed to.
Parenting is no easy task. There are a million books available that can help guide your parenting experiences, but in the end, every parent and child is different. Every decision a parent make will not always be the same as another. So, do you and don’t let anyone stop you from doing it!