Philadelphia, Pa. Jan. 4, 2021. Hi! I’m Nora, the recently appointed editorial coordinator for JenniferHeebner.com. In addition to helping Jen obtain daily birthstone jewels and organize new press kits and potential article ideas, I’m raising my six-year-old daughter Ria with my husband. In his Indian culture, many girls get their ears pierced at birth, but this American was too nervous to pull the trigger on an infant Ria! Now that she’s in first grade and has been gifted several pairs of earrings (including a pair of adorable puppy dogs in gold), she wants to get her ears pierced, but I’m not sure she or I are ready.
Being six, she is just learning about responsibilities. I am still licking the wounds over our battles for her to make the bed and brush her teeth in the morning! I am, however, finally raising the victory flag on my “Wash-your-hands-as-soon-as-you-walk-in-the-door” mantra. I don’t know if I want to enter what I imagine would be a new war zone of clean your ears and “No, you do not have time to change your earrings” before-school meltdowns. Getting out of the house on time with Ria is a battle in itself. Some mornings I catch myself looking to see if any windows are open for fear of the neighbors hearing our loud play-by-plays and, worse still, if the neighbors knowing who’s winning. But Ria’s classmates are beginning to get their ears pierced, so she continues to ask. To help me determine the best course of action, I talked to a few moms who have already gone down this path.
Meaghan Weighs In
I spoke with Meaghan Flynn Petropoulos, co-founder of jewelry sales and marketing firm For Future Reference and mother of 15-month-old daughter Paloma, who is happy with her decision to have her daughter’s ears pierced at four months old. At this age, Paloma wouldn’t fuss with them.
“Can you imagine a four-year-old constantly touching her newly pierced ears?” Petropoulos says. “The snapping of the gun scared her more than the piercing itself. It was done in 45 seconds, she never really noticed, and she lets me change them.”
Meaghan thought also that having her daughter’s ears pierced early—and by a nurse with a medical certification to do so—would avoid a lot of issues. “The earring was surgical-grade plastic, and we chose the age based on her immunization schedule,” she says. Kids who are pierced in the two- to six-year-old range can develop keloids, but adults, too, can have problems.
“I have 40-year-old clients with no pierced ears or manipulated ears because they got them done too late,” she explains. “I see different relationships women have with their ear holes, some resorting to surgeries or getting Botox fillers later in life because they lose volume in ear lobes with age.”
Plus, Meaghan recalls having her ears pierced at age six and not enjoying it. Why? The pain of the ear gun (“We definitely went to a kiosk in the mall,” she recollects) and the cleaning aspect (gently twisting and wiping them with alcohol) was somewhat traumatizing.
Talking to More Moms
My friend Stephanie, an author, airplane broker, and mom of two boys and one girl, also had her daughter Jessica’s ears pierced at four months old and is happy with the decision. Stephanie’s motivation to get them pierced young was the thrill of having a girl after two boys. “I wanted to do all the girly things,” she says. Stephanie also recalls her husband, Almir, being just as excited. “We were both gung-ho to have a girl, and it was Almir who suggested we look for a place that would pierce them after the pediatrician said he wouldn’t do it.” (Their pediatrician doesn’t pierce ears until age five.) Similar to Meaghan, Stephanie did not have a good experience getting her ears pierced young, at about age six, and recalls them getting infected, so she had to let them close and re-pierce them when she got older.
Meanwhile, Tara, a funeral home proprietor and mother of two girls, had a similar experience to Stephanie, getting her own ears pierced at age six and having to let them close because they were uneven, re-piercing them when she grew older. Yet Tara recently took her daughters, Lucy, age six, and Lydia, age four, to get their ears pierced. The experience was a success. “We made cleaning part of their routine along with brushing their teeth,” she says. “They seem to understand the consequences of them getting infected if they don’t.”
A pair of 14k gold puppy dog earrings gifted to Ria from a family friend.
Ria is eager to wear these!
Making Up My Own Mind
Considering all these experiences has given me some great insight, but I think the jury is still out on my final decision. I asked Ria why she wants to get her ears pierced, and she says it’s because she wants to wear the dog earrings. (I want her to, too, but I’m still not convinced that’s a good enough reason.) So, her wants are a driver, and she adds a little peer pressure: “Everyone is getting their ears pierced,” she insists. Unsurprisingly, Ria’s flair for the dramatic is ever present; everyone consists of two girls in her class. For me that is not a compelling enough argument. What will be? This nervous mom isn’t yet sure.
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