Thursday, June 11, 2009

And then I felt bad

Sometimes I tease Scott about being a sheltered homeschooler.

Yeah, I know. I was homeschooled myself. For eight years, anyway. Still, you'd be surprised what you can pick up between kindergarten and third grade. Whatever the reason, there have been several times in the last couple of years when I've casually mentioned something that shocked and appalled Scott because he had never heard of it before.

Today's violation of Scott's innocence: Earrings on babies. I copy-pasted into our Skype conversation a funny, sarcastic comment I read on a blog, which said that unless you have a seriously ugly baby this woman didn't see why you needed earrings to make the baby "cuter."

The conversation proceeded thus:

[8:16:59 PM] Vagus Adversor: Some people pierce their babies' ears?!
[8:17:06 PM] Vagus Adversor: That's cruel and unusual.

[8:17:06 PM] Megan: Yes.
[8:17:11 PM] Megan: You don't get out much, do you?

[8:17:19 PM] Vagus Adversor: Ok, it's cruel then.


Em said...

Did you know that in Mexico they usually pierce a baby girl's ears before they let the baby out of the hospital when they are born? I'm not entirely sure about the whole history behind the phenomenon of infant piercing, but I know it is actually an old cultural thing for many different ethnicities. My Polish ancestors all pierced the baby girl's ears when they were little -- hence my mom had hers done when she was a baby. That being said, I don't know if I agree with it or not. My mom waited for me to decide if I wanted pierced ears or not, and it took me a good 13 years before I ever even desired jewelry to be stabbed through my ears.

It's not really a part of my American cutlure, so I probably won't do it to my kids, but at the same time I don't criticize those who do it. I mean, many Jewish and Christian baby boys are circumcised -- that could be seen as cruel too.

The Sojourner said...

Okay, I just went back and dug up the link to the post I referenced (meant to do that earlier, but forgot):

I think I basically agree with the author's points. If you're doing it for religious/cultural reasons, okay. If you're doing it because you think it's "cute," there are ways to doll up babies that don't involve poking holes in them.

Furthermore, my family has no tradition whatsoever of baby ear-piercing. Mom had hers done when she was about 16, I think. A and I both had it done when we were 10. I dutifully disinfected mine for close to 6 months before I decided that my ears simply didn't like foreign objects and let them close up. (That's another reason why I wouldn't do it to my kids...if they're anything like their mama they'll be highly sensitive to those sorts of things and likely to get an infection or some such nastiness.)

The Sojourner said...

P. S. Upon reading the conversation, I realize that there might be some confusion. The "Yes" I typed was in response to Scott's "Some people pierce their babies' ears?!" Not necessarily to the "cruel and unusual" part. I don't think I'd call it cruel, but even a little bit of pain shouldn't be caused without some compelling reason.

Shakespeare's Cobbler said...

Religion is one thing cultural reasons I'm on the fence about -- they would presumably have started because at some point most of the culture in general thought it made them cute. Simply put though, generally decoration is not worth hurting babies (especially not in a manner that entails a certain level of risk to their health). They're people, and vulnerable little people at that; their cuteness is to remind us to protect them, not something to chase after in disregard of their good.