Wednesday, November 21, 2012

11-20-12 (aka Why I Took My 5 Year Old to a Tattoo Parlor)

About a year ago, when she was four, Cora asked to get her ears pierced.  I explained to her that she'd have to get a "shot" in each ear.  That was the end of that discussion.   At least it was until last week.  Out of the blue, Cora asked again if she could get her ears pierced. I told her she'd have to get a shot in each ear.  She thought and said "ok".  We went to YouTube and I pulled up a video of a girl about her age getting hers done at the mall.  Lots of tears, a little screaming, and then some smiles eventually.  She watched intently.  And then said "ok".  We talked a lot about what she would have to do - and what she couldn't do - with her new earrings in.  We discussed how it would be a 'forever' thing and that it can't be un-done.  She said "ok". I talked to her dad, and we agreed that it was time.  Quite frankly, I was pretty excited for this fun mommy/daughter moment as well!

In doing a little research (and by research I mean posting to my friends on FB and googling) I discovered something that had never crossed my radar:  a bunch of good reasons to have your child's ears pierced in a piercing parlor rather than at the mall.  Some of them were cautionary: comments by women who used to be that 17 year old with about an hour's training at the mall discussing how little they knew about their craft; to folks talking about the gun misfiring on them, or the fact that a plastic gun can never truly be sterilized.  I finally landed on two very good reasons for me to choose the parlor.  First, tattoo parlors are licensed by the state and must meet specific sanitation requirements (among others) to maintain that license.  Second, and most importantly for mommy, everyone I spoke to said having a professional piercing taper do the work is far, far less painful than having a blunt object forced through the ear, ripping the skin.  Less pain = less sad Cora = happier mommy!  Win.

So I called my local tattoo parlor, explained what I wanted and they were 100% on board.  I asked if we could come in that day (Sunday) to just look around and get Cora used to the place before her Tuesday night appointment.  When I got there, there young man behind the counter went above and beyond answering any questions we had, letting Cora look at any number of of possible studs, and even taking us on a tour of the place culminating in Cora getting to feed the fish in the parlor aquarium.

When The Big Day came Cora was too excited for words.  I picked her up from school and we headed out.  The parlor was a bit more busy and raucous on a Tuesday night than it had been at noon on Sunday so I was very glad we'd gone in ahead of time in a more sedate environment.  Loud music was playing, two folks were already mid-tattoo and three college girls were waiting in the lobby.  As we walked in, another woman was walking out.  She heard me say to Cora "Are you sure you want to do this?"   I noticed that this woman turned around and followed us back inside the parlor.  That was the first of a few times I had to explain: "Ears.  We're getting her ears pierced - that's all."     I always let Cora dress herself.  That day she had done things up right.  She had on a jean jacket, a neon teal, pink and yellow ruffled dress, and rainbow striped leggings. :)  Along with that she had insisted on bringing her giant stuffed Nala lion (from The Lion King).  Imagine THAT sitting in your local tattoo parlor on a Tuesday evening.  I got the biggest kick out of it.

Cora pre-event with the look of "Holy crap I'm excited and terrified all at once"

Mark, the piercer, came out and welcomed Cora.  He was a very tall man with long hair pulled back in a pony tail and a long beard secured by a number of hair elastics.  Cora looked at me and asked - with that purposefully emotionless face that you know will break into tears at any moment - "Mommy, is that the person who is going to pierce my ears?" I said it was.  She replied, with lip beginning to tremble "But I don't want him to."  I had to explain that he was the only one there who could do it and that he would do a very good job.  She put on a brave face and we went on back.  Turns out Mark is the daddy to a little girl and had photos of her up in his piercing room.  I think that helped a bunch.

Without going into another short novel, the procedure went wonderfully!  The first ear was so fast Cora didn't even know it was done.  The second one did see some tears only because she knew what was happening by that point and was a ball of nerves.  She told me after it didn't hurt - she cried from being scared.  All the guys in the parlor who didn't have clients had come to the back and gathered around to watch.  Once the second hole was done and Cora had very quickly dried her tears after getting the mirror to admire her new jewels, they all broke into applause and one nice young dude brought her a sucker.

The deed is done - complete with huge "after event" gumball!

All in all a wonderful experience.  When Milly asks the "big question" in a few years, I know where we'll be going!

No comments:

Post a Comment