Skip to main content



June 29, 2014

Her mother called ahead to make sure there would be at least two people there when we arrived. We stopped by a convenience store and I ran in quickly to purchase her first lollipop in hopes one experience would overshadow the other and once back in the vehicle we drove to the mall with her strapped in her car seat and us belted in the front with nerves filling the space between the three of us.

We walked into the store and made our selection of small gold studs, my wife signed a few papers and I distracted my daughter with potential earrings of her future, shiny ones and dangly ones and ones considered costume and others considered formal and finally we sat in the designated chair for occasions like this. I sat down first and placed her in my lap. We tore into the sticky distraction we brought with us and let her tiny paw hold it while we reminded her we were here to get her ears pierced.

We paid in advance and located the exit because we wanted nothing to hold us back from leaving immediately once it was over. A lady stood on each side of her smelling the cherry scented breath of the fourteen month old they were about to make cry and I looked past them at the gentleman glaring at us from the corner of the store. He stood with two girls, his daughters I assumed, and they took turns passing bracelets and headbands and necklaces back and forth. They laughed. He didn't. He stared at us in disapproval then told the girls it was time to go.

I didn't know if what we were doing was right, but I didn't feel it was necessarily wrong. Girls get their ears pierced every day. Allison had hers done really young and, with her fear of needles, it's probably best that she had it done during a time she wouldn't remember it. I questioned myself enroute to the store and again when the judging glances of a stranger were left in his wake, the judgment of a fellow father who found my parenting skills subpar when compared against his own.

The young ladies rubbed the small earlobes of the little girl in my lap, the little girl that just mastered the art of walking yet still had work to do when it came to maintaining enough balance to run, the little girl with a large smile and an even bigger laugh, and those young ladies put a hole in each of her ears simultaneously. They checked the backs to make sure the earrings were in and once given the okay we headed for the door, the parking lot, our vehicle, then home.

She cried. She buried her head in my shoulder, but only for a second. We threw her lollipop away somewhere between exiting the store and arriving at our parking spot and the tears from that act far outweighed the pain of the actual piercing. We should have allowed her to finish because in hindsight that's the thing she remembered the most, her first sucker being ripped from her grip in a hasty effort to disguise the act of decorating her ears for now and every day going forward.

This topic seems to be a bit controversial among some parents. Some disapprove while others encourage it, saying the advantage of doing it at a young age teaches them how to take care of them since they won't really know life without them. Some compare it to mild forms of child abuse in that one is inflicting unnecessary pain upon their child and some say it could be looked at in the same light of having your son circumcized, approved of or condemned for. Some say she should be given the choice, therefore, it should be delayed until she can make that choice herself. Some say they wish they had pierced their daughter's ears, or even their own, at a younger age.

Given the same choice to make under the same circumstances, we would do it again; we maybe would have chosen to do it earlier. We haven't had any issues with her ears or earrings, and at three years old, she hasn't complained once. Some may agree or disagree, but I don't think it's wrong either way... and such is parenthood, I'm learning.


  1. Was searching for my GF's blog and came across yours and your very thoughtful post about having your daughter's ears pierced. First, you made a great parental decision on her behalf having her ears pierced when she couldn't remember, but having mommy and daddy care for them so they would heal properly.

    My parents had my ears pierced when I was four and I hated it. The earrings were eventually taken out and I was happy again. I ended up asking for them to be pierced again when I was about six or seven and have had them pierced ever since. I still remember saying I wanted it done, but was afraid and cried incessantly afterwards. Fear and anxiety are not good memories for a little girl. Fortunately, you and your wife gave your daughter the "gift of pierced ears" so she could just grow up thinking they are part of her and enjoy wearing short hair and cute earrings to match her outfits.

    My husband didn't my daughter's pierced until she was old enough to tell me she wanted them done. After all, she could have gone her entire life not wanting them pierced. You never know. However, my new hubby wanted them pierced immediately. I had our daughter from my first marriage and hers were pierced when she was a tiny baby. So he wanted to do the same with our little one. We finally compromised (sort of) and said we'd wait until she was four or five and old enough to help decide.

    Buuut...when she 2 years old and her ears are pierced. I'm not sure exactly what age you had Madison's ears pierced since there was not antecedent post until your current one. However, our toddler always made it a point to move a woman's hair away from their ears and admire their earrings, especially mine and her aunts'. So one day I told my husband it was time and we loaded her up, got them pierced a few months ago, and she's been happy ever since. She loves getting new earrings and she loves showing them off. This way worked for us. I'm glad I didn't wait until the pre-teen years, but I'm also glad I didn't do it when she was a young baby.

    As I may suspect you've discovered, there is nothing cuter than a little with girl with cute little pearls to match her mother's pearl stud earrings too. One cannot help to admire babies and little girls with little pierced ears since it celebrates their femaleness and femininity. I'm not sure your daughter could be any cuter. However, my husband including myself like the look of earrings on babies and little girls for no specific reason, but like how light plays off a simple gold ball on a bald baby girl or small gold hoop poking through the hair of a toddler. Maybe you might consider this for her next pair of earrings for a photo shoot and see how ingénue she looks.

    Don't worry about piercing her ears early, she'll thank you later. Good decision, mom and dad.


    1. Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Amy! We had Madison's ears pierced when she was 14 months old and we don't regret it at all. She rarely acknowledges her earrings accept for the occasional admiration when they catch the light while brushing her teeth. She does take notice of the earrings her mother and grandmothers wear and seems pleased that she has some of her own.

      I don't think it's right or wrong to do it early or to wait, but for us it seemed best to have it done sooner rather than later. What's amazing to me is the controversy surrounding the topic! I can't believe people tend to have such strong feelings about it and tend to take a solid stance on one side of the fence.

      I'm glad you stopped by, Amy.


Follow @bradleycowan on Instagram