Parenthood: "She’s So White!"

While I was party planning this afternoon, I started watching last night’s episode of ‘Parenthood’. Barely five minutes in, I fell over laughing when Crosby held up his newly-born daughter and exclaimed with shock, “She’s so white!” And 10 minutes in, I nearly died again when Grandpa Braverman said, “She’s even lighter than she was in the hospital!” and then expressed his confusion at the term light-skinned. Ah… All of this is so familiar to parents of biracial children.

Pop Culture Dad and I had the same reaction when Little Diva was born. I mean, we knew she would likely be born much more pale than she would eventually end up. Many black children (particularly with lighter-skinned parents) and most biracial kids are. My doula with Little Diva has biracial grandchildren, and she tried to prep us for the possibility before we went into the delivery room. This wasn’t an earth shattering revelation. I was a pale child, and I’ve been around plenty of black and biracial newborns. I don’t know any black person who would be particularly shocked by the revelation that some black and biracial babies will be darn-near white at birth.
What Pop Culture Dad and I were not prepared for, however, was that our then-blue eyed (now green), pale child, would pretty much stay pale—very pale—for years. My multi-ethnic mother comes from a long line of “high yella” women. My dad’s mother was also very beige. But I’m brown. And my mother-in-law is a pretty deep tan. My husband isn’t even that pale himself. Somehow, though, for the first three-and-a-half years of her life, our baby girl was lighter than her father.
This was a real problem for me when Little Diva was a baby. Despite the fact that she looks just like my toddler pictures, when it was just the two of us, people often asked me if she was my child or just assumed I was the nanny. I was so glad when she learned to talk and started calling me “Mommy” in public, so the people who were staring and trying to figure things out would look away. I also bought her several shirts that said things like “She’s my mommy, not the nanny!” or which hadn’t picture of a vanilla/chocolate ice cream cone baring the slogan “Swirled!” Even now that Little Diva has (finally) got a little bit of a tan, her skin color is often a topic of conversation among people. Annoying…
 
All of this “nanny” and “OMG, she looks white” [she does not] stuff is perhaps why immediately after giving birth to Super Girl, I exclaimed, “Oh, thank goodness! She has some color!” No one wants to be called the nanny.
 
I’ll be interested to see as the season plays out, if Jasmine will experience any of the “Uh… Is that… um… your baby,… or, uh… are you the, um….?” nonsense that so many black mothers of biracial (or just light-skinned) babies deal with. If there are any black writers (or white writers with biracial families) on staff, I imagine it’s coming.
 

 

What’s in a Name? A Lot, Actually

On las week’s episode of Castle, Beckett and Castle had to find and question a witness named Bram Stoker. Yes, as in “Bram Stoker’s Dracula.” Once they found Mr. Stoker, this was the exchange:

Becket: Excuse me? Bram Stoker?
Bram: Yeah.
Beckett: Det. Kate Beckett, NYPD
Castle: And might I say how youthful you look.
Bram: [sarcastically] Witty! Never heard that before.
Castle: I’ve never heard anyone named Bram Stoker before. Except… Bram Stoker.
Bram: Apparently, he’s a distant relative, and both my parents were English scholars. They thought it’d be cute. It wasn’t. So what’s this about?

As someone with… er… an unusual first name (and middle name, for that matter), I totally get this “not cute” sentiment. I’m sure back in 1977, my normal-named parents thought that giving me such an odd name would make me stand out in a crowd. While they were right, that standing out wasn’t always a good thing.

Although my name makes perfect phonetic sense, it is almost always mispronounced. In fact, it is so commonly mispronounced that I am always shocked when someone says it correctly the first time. For one thing, people are always adding letters to and/or subtracting letters from my name in order to make it conform to a more common or known name or at least something that makes some sense. Although I always find this a little lazy (especially when people are pronouncing letters that are clearly not present and not even close to the actual letters in my name), I totally get why the human brain does that.

Reading is partly phonetics and partly memorization. There’s a reason why preschoolers are taught “sight words.” These are the words that you will just know upon sight, without your brain actually parsing out the individual components. However, we also have to learn phonetics, otherwise you would never know how to actually read a word that you have never encountered. So when you see a name that you’ve never seen before, one part of your brain focuses on phonetics while another (or the same part. I dunno. I’m a lawyer, not a scientist) tries to conjure up memories of a similar name you may have seen and pronounced before. So when you see an unusual name like mine, which has components of real names [since my parents creatively and tragically put their names together to derive mine], whether or not you stand a chance of pronouncing it correctly depends on if memorization or phonetics reigned dominant.

In addition to the pronunciation issue, one thing my parents clearly didn’t think of when naming me was the Playground Test—ya know, that test that tells you how easy it would be for hateful, taunting children (which is pretty much all of them at a certain age) to come up with jeers for your child based solely on what rhymes or is easily associated with his or her name. For example, naming your non-German kid Adolf. My name easily lends itself to rhyming-based teasing. In fact, it is so easy to come up with a tease, that on a recent job interview, one of the interviewers asked me if I got teased a lot in elementary and middle school… and then she quickly guessed what three of the common taunts were.

Another issue my parents didn’t think of when naming me? The resumé test. As many black professionals born in the 70s and 80s will tell you, many of our parents, completely high and giddy on the fruits of the black power movement did not really think about the fact that some day, two decades in the future, their children would have to compete in a world where we are submitting resumés along with caucasian and others whose parents weren’t so creative (or kr8tv) in naming them. So, yes, while it isn’t fair, there was definitely a huge period of time (and in some industries is is still the case) where a Laqueeshya, Tenequia, or Dramé would not stand the chance of having his or her resumé viewed alongside a Susan, Debbie, or John. The funny thing is, most of the parents who gave their children these awful names (my own included) have perfectly, generically normal names. These days, things have evened out. White and non-white people alike are just as likely to give their children crazy, unusual names (Pilot Inspektor, anyone?) or otherwise perfectly normal names with kr8tv spellings (How does one pronounce “Asthyleigh,” exactly?). But does that make it any better?

Quite honestly, unless you’re wealthy and/or famous… or if you simply don’t plan on having a white-collar type career, names actually do matter. I know people who love unusual names or kr8v spellings will disagree with me, but as someone who has lived it and knows many others who have, most of us unusually named children didn’t find our parents’ kr8vitee remotely cute. We have always had to overcome that initial shock when someone sees or hears our name for the first time [“Well… um… that’s… um… interesting! Is it a family name?”]. Instead of our first impression being created by the energy or personality we bring into the room, we are instead first judged on a crazy decision our parents made decades before. Sure, many (heck, probably even most) kids—even those with the most normal names—may dislike or hate their names, but there’s a big difference between hating your name and being forced to overcome your name.

I’m not saying don’t name your kids what you want. That’s only something you and your significant other (if any) can decide. I’m saying just give it some thought beyond what you think is “cute” or “fun” at a given moment in time. Because that name you give (on average) less than nine months of contemplation is going to stay with another human being for the rest of his or her life. And if, in the end, you decide your desire for quirky and funny outweighs any angst your child may have over that name in the future, at least give them the option my parents deprived me: a normal middle name or nickname (even if tacked on as an afterthought after another unusual middle name) s/he can use in the alternative!

App Review: Baby’s Touch

Developer: Ironpaper
Platform: iPhone 3GS & higher, iPod Touch – 3rd generation and higher, iPad. iOS 5 required
Price: $0.99
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 out of 5)

“This is so pointless… so mindless… so PERFECT!”

^^ That is what Pop Culture Dad said the first time he saw Pop Culture Toddler2 playing with Baby’s Touch. His sentiment accurately reflects my feelings about it. So if the game is “perfect,” why only four stars? Well, just because it is so pointless and mindless, that I have to reserve the one star for the main thing I usually look for in kids’ apps—education.

Don’t get me wrong, though. I love this app. PCT2 loves this app. Heck, even my four year old has entertained herself playing with it. Okay, okay, I’ll confess. Even I have played it when the kids aren’t around. It’s just cute and fun.

For those who don’t know me, I’m an app whore (pardon my French). I have a gazillion apps on my iPhone and iPad, and if any developer asks me if I want to play around with their app, my answer is always yes [well, almost. Don’t send me any porn or religion apps, okay?]. A lot of these don’t work out. Some of these come with a warning, “Do you really want me to review this? Because… uh… it’s not gonna be good.” (Notice there aren’t a huge amount of reviews for apps I’ve been given? Yeah… There’s a reason, unfortunately). So my expectations always start out low, especially when a developer warns me that it is just a simple game with no complexities at all. My, how he sold himself short!

The day after I downloaded the Baby Touch app, PCT2 became the first member of my family to fall victim to the nasty stomach virus going around the girls’ daycare/preschool. She got sick on my way to bring them in, and, in a classic example of Murphy’s Law, on a day where I had too many things going on at work to stay home. So I had to come up with ways to distract her in my office[1] until Pop Culture Dad could leave his office to pick her up while I furiously did research on Westlaw.

While PCT2 was busying herself tearing up my office, I thought “Hm…. Maybe this would be the perfect time to try out that new app?” It was. Witness:

As you can see, there is practically nothing to this game. She touches the screen, bubbles, rainbows, clouds or stars pop out with sounds and dings, she touches them, they disappear, and the process starts all over again. So simple. So mindless. And for a toddler? So. Freaking. PERFECT.

At least twice a day, PCT2 points to my iPad and says,”Bubble?”. It is one of only two games she prefers to keep on rotation.

As I stated earlier, if there was any educational value to this game, I would consider it absolutely perfect from a mom’s perspective. In any event, if you want something that is just awesome and entertaining for your baby or toddler, this is it.
____
[1] Door closed, because I’m not a jerk.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

PSA for the Day: Your Sick Kids

This morning I was getting Pop Culture Preschooler settled in at the breakfast table at school, and one of her little friends announced to the table, “I’m eating a lot, because I throwed up.” I said something like, “Oh you got the stomach bug last week, too?”. One of the teachers worriedly rushed over and asked the little girl when she was sick (I’m guessing because she hasn’t missed a day of school?). The girl announced, “This morning. And my tummy still hurts.”

Parents, this shit is not cute. It is not like, with the stomach virus creeping around the country and half the kids and teachers at the school out with the virus at one point or another over the last two weeks, you didn’t know when you saw your kid vomit that it was probably something contagious and not just your bad cooking. My kids and hubby were all sick for an entire week because of the bug going around. I have friends all around the U.S. and Canada who have had their families infected with it. This virus is not fun, and, trust me, no one wants it.

This crap wouldn’t spread so fast if when your kid throws up in the morning, you KEPT HIM/HER AT HOME. Do not bring them to school in the hope that if they don’t throw up again, no one will know. If the school calls you and tells you your kid threw up PICK HIM/HER UP. Immediately. Do not let them finish out the rest of the day. I don’t care what time it is. Every hour your sick kid is at school is another opportunity to infect other kids.

It isn’t fair to spread a nasty virus to 30 other kids in the class, and subsequently their siblings and parents, just because you don’t want to use up a couple of sick days. Yes, we all hate to miss work. But this is one case where misery should not love company. Don’t be an asshole.

/rant

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Porsha Picks Her Baby (RHOA)

After the AMAs last night, I started catching up on the Real Housewives of Atlanta. Wow. The new chicks…. just… wow.

Kenya is clearly cray cray, and there isn’t much to be said about her that hasn’t been said already. But Porsha? Oh wow… This girl is a perky little something.

The whole time she was telling Kenya about her desire for children, I kept thinking to myself, Is she 12 years old?. Even beyond the peppy enthusiasm and rambling, I mean, really. You rarely hear grown women talk that way. She wants kids (okay). Sooner rather than later (fine). Preferably twins so she doesn’t have to be pregnant multiple times (okie doke. Good luck with that). Her hubby wants a boy and she wants a girl (that’s normal). So she’s going to have the boy first and then a girl (wait, what now?). And when Kenya points out that usually one does not have control over these things, she responds that she’s just going to use the Chinese gender predictor to plan her boy and girl. (alllllrighty then…).

I get saying things like, “Ideally, I would like a boy and a girl.” But saying what sex she was going to have, and even going so far as to treat the Chinese gender prediction test as though it is honestly a reliable and proven gender prediction technique is just… I can’t… Do grown people do this???

If you are not familiar with it, the Chinese Gender Prediction test is a real thing. Based on the mom’s lunar age and lunar month in which the baby is conceived, the test tells you what gender it should be. That’s right, Porsha Stewart is putting stock in the fact that every woman her lunar age who conceives the same month as her will have the same-gendered babies. Sounds legit .

This gender predictor claims to be 90% accurate. In reality, it is—like all methods of predicting gender in a single-birth or identical twin scenario—50% accurate.

According to the Chinese Gender Predictor, I should have one girl and one boy. In fact, Pop Culture Toddler 2 was conceived smack in the middle of a three-month period that should result in a boy. Guess she missed the memo?

Seriously, what is the logic here? Some ancient Chinese secret from the cosmos? It doesn’t even make any sense statistically.

And what about fraternal twins [like the ones Porsha so desperately wants… I am assuming there must be some family history or she is planning on the aid of fertility drugs, since she is clearly not of such advanced maternal age that she has a heightened risk of fraternal twins] and other multiples? Where do they factor? By this theory, they should always be the same gender.

Look, I have no problem with gender prediction methods and old wives’ takes when they are used for fun only, and not treated as a serious endeavor. I can even understand people trying things like the Shettles Method or anything that has at least some basis in science (whether or not it is actually accurate). But some random chart that you found online that says every 31-year old woman who conceives in “lunar” February in any given year will have a girl?? C’mon now!

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If I Can Pin It, I CAN Do It: Pop Culture Toddler 2’s First Birthday Party

Photo by M Photography Look at that smile!

As of Saturday, September 29th, Pop Culture Baby 2 (AKA Brennan) is a baby no more. My little princess is now one.

I started party planning mode months in advance. At first, I was set on doing a Lil’ Angels theme after finding some of the decorations on clearance at Party City. I polled my gal pals about it. Most thought it was cute, but one thought skulls were a little morbid for a baby’s birthday party. Although I disagree, I could see how some of my family members would have also had that viewpoint. Besides, after looking at and Pinning some of the Lil’ Angel decorations to my Pinterest board for kids’ birthday ideas, another idea was forming in my head.

PCT2 is such a little rock star. Early on, my friends gave her the nickname Super Baby. She was so ahead of everything, and so happy while doing it. She is honestly as close to perfect as a kid can come (minus her lack of sense of self-preservation). A rock star birthday seemed just too perfect for her. And, well, since we are practically the house that Sanrio built, a Hello Kitty rock star theme seemed perfect. I got to websurfing and Pinning.

I found a lot of great ideas online, but wasn’t sure how I was going to pull them off. That led me to starting the decorations two months before PCT2’s birthday, so I would have ample time to start over if I messed up.

The first thing I did were the invitations. I found some pink and black argyle images/digital scrapbook paper on Etsy. As I blogged about previously, I designed the invitations with an app on my iPad. I bought some 5×7 invitation paper to print them out (with gorgeous hot pink envelopes to match). When I had trouble getting the print settings perfect (going from iPad to PC), I got some help from one of my mommy board pals, Sweets4ever at Craftster.

The invitations were my starting point for the rest of the decorations. I found some a Hello Kitty buttons on Etsy also. While they never printed properly as 1″ buttons, they did provide me with great backdrops for my other decorations. One of my favorite Hello Kitty rock star designs (the same one on the invite) served as the base for the lollipop decorations, some of the hanging decorations, the wall posters and the favor boxes.

Photo by M Photography


Hanging and Wall Decorations

The second long-term design project were the aforementioned hanging decorations. Initially I thought about buying those Lil’ Angel hangers in the clearance bin and pasting Hello Kitty over the skulls. I figured out, however, I could do it on my own. I got circular and scalloped punches in varying sizes. At night when everyone was asleep (I work, after all), I would sit up in bed punching out the Hello Kitty’s and various plain black circles with either PCT2’s name or a “1” on them and plain circles or scallops on either the argyle pattern, black, or silver sparkles. Once a had a quart-size Ziplock bag completely full of punched-out paper, I started matching various shapes, sizes and designs until I was happy. I then bough decorating ribbon in black, pink and silver, and spent my nights gluing and taping my designs. The result were hanging ribbon decorations with three circles on each. I saved the remaining paper cut outs for other decorations.

I also bought several balloons to hang. We are in the process of selling our house, so the last thing I wanted to do is have tape and push puns everywhere. However, thanks to the helium shortage, my vision of floating balloon everywhere had to be curtailed. I did manage to procure two tanks, one of which was used almost exclusively on three gigantic mylar balloons shaped like the number one.

Photo by M Photography

I also made signs for the walls, door and window using the Avery Removable Wall and Window Signs. Some of the reviews regarding the actual removability of the stickers were not favorable, and with freshly-painted walls, I was not willing to take a huge chance. If I had to do things over, I would skip these.

Photo by M Photography


Candy Bar

I was desperate to do a candy bar. I always love seeing them at parties, and there were some very cool-looking ideas on Pinterest. However, I didn’t want to spend three-figures making one. I bought some satin pink polka dot fabric on eBay to use as a table cloth and jars from the dollar store. I found pink and black candies on Amazon.com and from various candy wholesalers online. I also found some raspberry M&Ms in varying shades of dark pink and licorice bites from my local Super Target. I decorated the glass jars with ribbons I bought from Michael’s and the punched-out designs I had made previously. For the lollipops, I got some flower decorating foam boards and wrapped them in black tissue paper, putting ribbons around one layer and pink and black argyle duct tape around the other. The personalized stickers on the lollipops were created on Microsoft Word with Avery 1″ round labels. I took my favorite Hello Kitty button design and used Word to personalize the circle around her.

We will reuse the jars and the fabric. I can’t sew to save my life, but my mother is very good at it and plans to make the girls dresses with the fabric.

Photo by M Photography
Photo by M Photography

Mmm.. candy ribbons!

Photo by M Photography



Photo by M Photography

Favor Boxes
I found cheap hot pink and black boxes on Amazon and used the same Hello Kitty design, but on the 2″ Avery stickers to decorate the favor boxes. The favor boxes were all empty for the kids to fill up with cookies (see below) and candy from the candy bar.

Cookies

I bought some Hello Kitty cookie cutters from Sanrio.com and a guitar cookie cutter from Amazon. I already had the star [honestly, I can’t believe we didn’t have a Hello Kitty cookie cutter before now!]. I baked several dozen cookies and frosted them all.

For the packaging, I got Avery Printable Bag Toppers, which also came with the plastic bags. They perfectly fit all of my oversized cookies, except for a couple of the guitars, which had spread when baked. Most of those broke in half as I was trying to get them into the bags, anyway, so it all worked out. I also had some trouble with the black cookie frosting refusing to harden, but over all, the cookies weren’t bad. My mom assumed I had bought them somewhere, so I take that as a compliment.

Some Kitties clearly fared better than others!


Water Bottles

Thank you, Pinterest! I made the water bottles by removing the existing labels from water bottles and putting pink and black argyle duct tape where the labels used to be. They matched the party beautifully, and unlike paper labels you make yourself, these could go in a cooler without being destroyed.

Photo by M Photography



Cake and Smash Cake

I take no credit for the actual birthday cake. After getting custom cake quotes that were way out of budget for a one-year old birthday party, I contacted a coworker of mine, who was the person who made Pop Culture Preschooler’s first birthday cake [a cute princess castle; after the first birthday, we stick to sheet cakes from the grocery store]. I sent her the invitation design and asked what she thought she could do with it. She told me she would try a few things, but had never used fondant before. I set my expectations low. When she arrived with the cake on PCT2’s birthday, I nearly fell over. The cake arrived in four beautiful parts, ready to be assembled. The last two parts of the cake were the Hello Kitty (head and body)—the part of the cake we were both worried wouldn’t work. I had already bought s plush Hello Kitty to use as a cake topper just in case. No need. This Kitty was (is) FABULOUS. She’s also edible (made of Rice Krispie treats on the inside). However, we won’t touch her. She is too beautiful to eat. [okay, okay… We did crack open her body at work. Delish!]

Photo by M Photography

All photos by M Photography

My smash cake did not go as well, though. No matter. Its purpose was to be demolished! I am proud of myself for figuring out how to (kind of) use fondant, though. And PCT2 sure didn’t seem to mind!

Photo by M Photography
Photo by M Photography
Photo by M Photography

Birthday Board

This is one of my proudest Pinterest-inspired creations. I spent weeks playing around with fonts on my computer and drawing things out on my iPad and by hand until I was satisfied with how the board would look. Initially I wanted to do a chalkboard with chalk markers, but I couldn’t find a board with a frame I liked. So I settled instead on a black canvas with paint markers.

Some of my numbers proved wrong at the well-baby checkup the next day (she’s actually 30.25″ long and 19 lbs 12 oz), but it still looks good.

Photo by M Photography
Photo by M Photography

Pictures

Special thanks to my friend Mirna at M Photography for taking pictures. Mirna does all of our family pictures, and she totally rocks! If anyone is in the Houston area, I highly recommend you give her a call!

Pop Culture Preschooler ready to rock out.
Photo by M Photography

Note: any picture that doesn’t say “Photo by M Photography” under it was taken with my iPad (that’s why the quality isn’t as good).

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

A Trip Down Memory Lane: 2009 Blog Posts About Infant Ear Piercing

In honor of the fact that I recently called and made the appointment with our pediatrician’s office to have Pop Culture Baby(2)’s ears pierced with her first-year well-baby checkup, I am re-sharing (with minor edits) my blog posts about our experience the first time around. These originally appeared on WTE back in my former life as a Featured Blogger on that site. Enjoy the trip down memory lane!


February 27, 2009
Infant Ear Piercing – A Cultural Issue?

I had never considered infant ear piercing a hot topic until I joined the What to Expect boards. I always considered infant ear piercing second nature. I had my ears pierced when I was only a few months old. Every girl in my family had her ears pierced as an infant. All of my friends with girls clearly have no problem with infant ear piercing, because all of their daughters had their ears pierced as babies.
But when I was pregnant, I joined these boards and witnessed moms-to-be (and at least one dad) arguing with each other over the issue of infant ear piercing. I began to wonder, Am I missing something? I mean, why was everyone so passionate about such a non-issue?

Slowly, I began to notice a pattern. The people who were so dead-set against infant ear piercing were largely (though certainly not exclusively) Caucasian, Christian and American (hereinafter, “CCA,” solely for the purpose of abbreviation, and not for any other reason). Ear piercing by many of these women was couched in terms of a “bonding experience” or something you do when your daughter “asks for it.” Maybe it’s a cultural thing, but I’ve never seen ear piercing as something to bond over. I’ve gone with my older sister when she got her ears pierced (a re-piercing), my mom when she got hers done (a second hole), and even my dad when he got his done (suspected mid-life crisis), but never did it seem like something you bond over. I just didn’t get what the big deal was. And as far as asking, I grew up with the mentality that kids don’t get things just because they asked for it, nor do they get to opt out of things simply because they don’t [dinnertime would have been really different growing up if I could have just opted out of things]. I’m not questioning people who think that way – far from it – I’m just saying there’s a different cultural perspective on it.

Most of the parents I know who don’t think infant ear piercing is a big deal are not CCA – we’re each missing at least one part of the acronym. Yes, I have friends who are CCA who don’t consider it a big deal, but they seem to be small in number. Pop Culture Dad is CCA (kind of), and he was at first against getting Pop Culture Baby(1)’s ears pierced just because he had “never heard of it.” After taking a survey of my family and our friends and co-workers who, like me, are not CCA, he began to understand that a lot of people don’t think infant ear piercing is a big deal. He, too, concluded it must be a cultural thing; and since our daughter is a reflection of her mixed backgrounds, he is now on board with piercing her ears.

When we get Pop Culture Baby(1)’s ears pierced, my husband is going to go with us. It won’t be a bonding experience, but we both want to be there with her to hold her little hands. We would have gotten it done already, but Pop Culture Baby(1) has this bad habit of pulling her ears. My hubby and I have agreed that when she stops doing that, we will pierce her ears.

To each his/her own. If you don’t like the idea of infant ear piercing, don’t do it. But don’t tell me or anyone else something’s wrong with our families because we do. Like many traditions, this seems to be an issue that varies among families and perhaps even cultures. So embrace your own traditions, and don’t stress about what goes on with other’s.

Pop Culture Mom After-Notes:
When this piece was originally written, it became one of my most talked about and controversial postings. Apparently, just mentioning something about which people have such widely varying (and strong!) opinions gives them a desire to talk (passionately) about those varying opinions. Honestly, only half the mothers who expressed opinions on this piece addressed my initial inquiry about whether or not the opinions were the result of cultural differences. From a survey of those comments, it seems I missed one part of the equation: for those moms in the CCA category who have no problem with earrings on infants, they were largely from the South (as I am). Of course, I will always acknowledge that the are exceptions to every rule, and my pondering was not meant to create some sort of stereotype.

As far as rehashing the issue, I am honestly not interested at this time. Thankfully, the hundreds of heated comments on this piece got buried when WTE moved to a new blog platform (they’re still there, but you would have to do some crazy detective work to weed through and find them, and, trust me, it is not worth your time). I don’t personally care why people pierce or don’t pierce. We did it, we’re doing it again; and quite frankly I don’t care if some person off the street (or even some “friend” or relative) wants to judge me for it.

If you do, for whatever reason, want to discuss infant ear piercing, cultural aspects or otherwise, feel free to do so in the comments here. But heed some warnings: I am a member of The Mom Pledge. Put in simple terms: I do not feed the trolls. I will not tolerate name-calling, bashing, or inflammatory statements. If you want to call me or a fellow commenter names or question anyone’s parenting skills/sanity/etc., take it to another site. If you want to compare earrings to female genital mutilation (seriously) or even circumcision (both permanent and irreversible decisions), take the hyperbole somewhere else, as that kind of gross and inflammatory exaggeration always leads to unproductive arguments. If you want to discuss your views intelligently and passionately (preferably with facts, whether cited or reasonably anecdotal), you are more than welcome here, whatever your views.


June 11, 2009
Infant Ear Piercing is Done

I know that infant ear piercing can be a controversial subject, as evidenced by the debate in my earlier blog wondering if people’s feelings about infant ear piercing are based on cultural perceptions. Whether it’s a cultural issue or not, one thing I do know is that we have done it.

At the end of last month, we had Pop Culture Baby(1)’s ears pierced. The piercing was done at her pediatrician’s office, along with her six-month shots. It was a pretty nice setup, actually. We checked in, and Pop Culture Baby(1) was given these little pads with numbing gel on them. The numbing gel stayed on her ears for an hour (this was actually the worst part of the entire experience). While the numbing gel did its business, Pop Culture Baby(1) got her shots. Our regular pediatrician did her normal checkup and answered my questions. Then, when the normal appointment was over, we walked to the waiting room of another doctor in our pediatrician’s practice. She is the doctor who does all the ear piercings in the practice.

While we waited for the doctor, I read a book to Pop Culture Baby(1). Pop Culture Baby(1) got really into the book, so when the doctor showed up, she suggested that our au pair (who came with me) hold the book up for Pop Culture Baby(1) in order to distract her. As the doctor was getting ready to put the earrings in, my very nervous husband called because he had expected to hear from us already [we spent a LOT of time waiting]. When he heard the doctor’s voice and realized she was about to do the piercing, he nervously hung up, because he was afraid to listen. He was worried for nothing, because Pop Culture Baby(1) did not even cry. She made a muffled “hmmph” sound after each one was done, but that was it.

It’s been a couple of weeks now, and her ears are doing well (they have been from day one). Pop Culture Baby(1) has actually stopped pulling on her ears since she’s had the earrings. Now, she pulls on her neck instead. They look really cute on her, but I can’t wait until the two months are over so I can get her different earrings. The doctor gave her gold earrings, since those are the most hypoallergenic. When she is allowed to have different earrings, I’m getting her platinum, since I hate yellow gold. We also have a pair of infant pearl earrings that I bought right before we got married (long story), which I will let her wear someday, but not just yet.

Whatever people’s feelings about infant ear piercing, I am happy with our decision. I have no regrets that my parents got mine pierced when I was an infant, and I am actually glad that it was done so young when I don’t remember it. Everyone I know who had their ears pierced as an infant feels the same way. I’m not saying that means that’s how everyone should do it. I’m just saying, this is what works for us.

And, p.s., Pop Culture Baby(1) looks soooo cute!


In the waiting room with the numbing gel on.


“Reading” a book while we wait.


Showing off the new lobes.


So nice to put her in all blue and not get asked, “How old is HE?”

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