When Thing 1 was born, my in-laws (after getting over their collective horror that I refused to name her solely for my mother-in-law, but hey, I have dead relatives too) asked me the first of what would be many questions about her upbringing. "Nu, when are you going to take her for earrings?" When she's old enough to take care of them herself. First of all, my kids will have their fill of holes poked in them with all the vaxes they get (although I postponed the chicken-pox shot as long as I could--the jury's still out on it's effectiveness.). Secondly, while an older child can appreciate earrings, I doubt a baby will. All they'll know is that someone is punching a hole in their little ears and putting in some heavy metal thing and it HURTS! And third, why does someone who doesn't even know what ears are need bling in them? Call me old-fashioned, but we can save it for when they're older.
Unfortunately, the bling doesn't just end with baby earrings. For little girls in this community, everything from hats to outfits to pacifier clips have the potential to be studded with rhinestones. And that's if you avoid the gold and fake ruby bracelets meant to ward off ayin hara. Moreover, it doesn't end with babies. Somehow both animal prints and sequins are considered appropriate attire for children as young as four. Again, I tend to err on the side of conservative when it comes to dressing my children (the Things' fall clothes come courtesy of the good people of French Toast, and their spring clothes are usually floral skirts and jumpers with pastel long-sleeve T's), but to my mind, leopard prints and sequins belong on grown women in Vegas, not on little girls in Boro Park.
And now it's time to savor the irony.
We live in a society that puts so much emphasis on modesty that even a picture of women's shoes--minus the woman--is deemed too immodest for publication. Then, we turn around and dress our young children in attention-getting sequined tank tops (over shells, of course--because an elbow is more attention getting than all those sparkles), rhinestones, and jewelry.
Incidentally, the epilogue to the earring story referenced above--my SIL did talk me into getting Thing 1's ears pierced when she was 2. Then the holes got infected and closed up. She wants to take Thing 2, now age four for a piercing, and I say wait until they're 12. The risk of infection is enough to make me leery of a repeat performance.