I'm always amused when I hear people say that piercing an infant baby girl's ears is wrong. I guess it has to do with cultural differences because in many parts of the world, including Latin America -- where I come from -- it's totally normal for baby girls to leave the hospital with their ears pierced. People will always criticize what they don't know and don't understand. And so, it's actually good for us to have these types of discussions, especially considering the huge (and constantly growing) number of Latinos in this country.
What really bothers me is that someone would actually consider this tradition "borderline child abuse" as stated by the person who sent a letter to the Dear Mary Ann column at the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Borderline child abuse? Really? Now that is totally crazy!
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For Latina moms, piercing their baby girls' ears has nothing to do with vanity. It's simply a cultural tradition. So much so that I freaked out when I learned my first child was a girl because I had no idea where I would take her to get her ears pierced. It took me four months to finally come to the realization that I'd have to take her to a regular kiddie salon to get it done and that she'd finally be able to wear the tiny gold studs my grandmother had brought for her all the way from Peru.
The procedure lasted all of five seconds (they pierced both ears at the same time) and although Vanessa's crying broke my heart, she was perfectly fine 30 seconds later. And I can't tell you how incredibly cute she looked and how relieved I felt that I'd finally gotten around to getting her ears pierced, like a good Latina baby.
We recently went to Mexico and I let Vanessa choose a pair of gold earrings. She was super excited and chose the cutest tiny pearl earring with a little gold leaf. She's never said she doesn't like wearing earrings, but if she ever did, I would have no problem whatsoever if she never uses them again.
I, on the other hand, will always feel like a naked Latina if I leave my home without earrings. I guess it's a cultural thing ...
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Image via Jodi Goldstein