Oh, that Gwyneth Paltrow has gone and done it now. Mama to little miss Apple has made me agree with her on a major parenting decision that affects all us moms of little girls. Ear piercing. When to do it ... and why.
You may have heard Gwyneth let slip just recently that a few years back, Apple was begging to have her ears pierced? With a Spanish nanny in the house, the youngster saw a lot of girls from Spain who'd had ears pierced at birth. So at age 5, Gwyneth gave in. She let Apple get one hole per ear. And now Gwynnie's paying big time for that confession.
The general consensus on the interwebs is that Paltrow is letting her little girl run her life, that 5 is just too young to make a decision about altering your body like that, blah, blah, blah-bitty-blah. Come on now, really? Can we temper the Gwynnie hate just a bit here and be realistic?
There are a multitude of parents on this planet who have their kids in the pediatrician's office shortly after birth, ready to have their ears permanently scarred. No judgment here. That's their choice. But if 5 is too young, that would have to apply to those folks, not just Gwyneth!
The fact is, I much prefer Gwynnie's method -- waiting until a child actually asks for the piercing, showing a preference for holes in the ears. My daughter just turned 6, and she's yet to have her ears pierced simply because she hasn't shown an interest. Sure, she's young to be making major decisions. I'll grant you that.
So to that I offer you the same reason I hold no judgment for the folks who pierce their babies at birth: We're talking about a little hole in the ear. It can be left to close up if she loses interest. She can decide against putting earrings in them. It's not a tattoo that requires painful laser removal. It's not even terribly noticeable.
But to a kid who wants her ears pierced, who asks for it, it's more than noticeable. It's a point of pride. It's exciting. It gives them a rare chance to make a decision beyond "I'll take the red cup from the drawer instead of the blue one" or "I'll wear my princess socks, not my mermaids."
And, OK, I'll be brutally honest. Ask a kid to do something, and guess when you're going to get the best response? When they're getting something they really want in return, right? A kid who asks to have her ears pierced is probably going to be the kid who is most cooperative when it comes to the whole "turning, alcohol swabbing" routine that follows up the actual procedure. Babies aren't a real big help there, are they?
Do you think Gwyneth has the right answer for when a kid is ready to get her ears pierced? Is it when they ask or is there a magic number?
Image via WEBN-TV/Flickr