What may have been a million years ago, I was the assistant manager at a Claire’s store. You know? That place where girls ages 5 to 15 flock to get their jelly bracelets, scrunchies and rhinestone jewelry for the Winter Dance? Why yes, it was like one of the Circles of Hell.

One of my many responsibilities – besides nabbing a six year old for shoplifting a $1.99 ring by “dropping” it in her shoe – was piercing ears. I hated it. It was about that time that such stores were permitted to pierce the cartilage, that hard part of your upper ear. Did you know that cartilage crunches? Yeah, you would know that if you got your ear pierced in that way, but the person doing the piercing can hear it too.

Worse than that was the piercing of a newborn girls’ ears. I’m sure if you took a poll, parents are probably 50/50 on whether they would or have, but I’m in the 50 that wouldn’t. I don’t know if my opinion was influenced by my less than one year stint at Claire’s, but I’m certain it didn’t help. Mothers would bring in their wee itty bitty one week old sleeping baby (I noticed that the policy is now at least 4 months of age) and sign the paperwork and then with the help of one of the other staff members, we would each hold a piercing gun in our hand, lining up to the dot of ink we marked earlier to make sure the holes were level and equal, and then 3, 2, 1 – TRIGGER! and pray to god neither of us went early as to startle the baby suddenly which would result in an uneven pierce. The screaming that would emit from the newly pierced baby was heart-rending, even in my still-single and child-free state.

I love nibbling on my daughter’s ears (and my son’s when he forgets to block me during our wishing of goodnight to each other), and not having to worry about the click of a stud on my teeth or the back of an earing getting sucked in accidently. I can certainly see the appeal of adding a little “pretty” to your little girl, but…*sigh*….

I guess I’m looking forward to when my daughter reaches an age where she starts to notice earrings and then as a big surprise for her birthday or Christmas, we take her in and create that memory together, like my mom did with me when I had my ears pierced by the family doctor when I turned 16.

How old were you when (if) you got your ears pierced? Have you or would you pierce your baby’s, whether boy or girl since I’ve now seen baby boys’ ears pierced as well.