Thursday, February 7, 2013

Baby bling

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.


  1. I had an unusual problem with ear piercing: my first daughter willingly let her first ear be pierced, then refused to have the second one pierced because the first one was so painful! And I really couldn't let her walk around with one pierced ear, so I had to run to another store to get a candy bribe.

    My third daughter's holes did get infected and closed up; we had to redo them when she was older.

    And my second daughter had no problem with the piercing, but it turns out her skin is very sensitive unless she wears 14K gold, so she can't wear "fashion" earring. (These girls are all teens now).

    I wanted them to get them pierced because I always wanted pierced ears myself, but my parents made me wait until I was 14. Not for modesty reasons, but because my mother feared infection. I was fine.

    But the bling in the frum world - yeah, weird. And have you seen the shoes???

  2. BTW, I avoided the chicken pox vaccine with my first 3 kids (it was really new then). I got it for my boys and it was a godsend. Two of them got chicken pox anyway, but they had incredibly mild cases - and no recurrence in the 10 years since then. Worked for us.

  3. My 3 year old is drawn to those sequins and frills and tutus. And I thought I would stay away from pink, sticking with all the other colors: red, purple, green, etc. But she is also drawn to cars and superhero costumes and her brothers' Pokemon, so I guess this very girly-girl thing is just part of her choice.
    I am not planning on piercing her ears until she persistently asks for it. My mother waited till I was 11, and they still got infected, and then I developed a gold allergy. I wished that they were pierced sooner, so we'll play it by ear ( hehe).

  4. I'm one of the only grown women around without pierced ears. When I mention that people always think I must be afraid of the pain. Nah. I've had them done 2 or 3 times. When I had them it was always a battle to keep them from closing, I have memories of waiting for the school bus in winter with some snow and an earring alternating between snowing it and trying to jam it in. Then they DID end up closing later on. The earrings hurt your face when you're on the phone so just leaving them in wasn't an option. I might get them again because nowadays I pretty much text and don't use the phone much, but I've been saying that for a while and haven't bothered to get them. I have issues with this idea that women are supposed to be dummies obsessed with our looks and men only have to look presentable. Nowadays, women seem to be the breadwinners of 40 to 100% of the money. Men are even asking women to pay for dates. All of this and we are still expected to be obsessed with our looks and provide men something to enjoy looking at.

    Oh and re the elbow thing. No kidding. I've actually asked Jewish men, "so tell me, do you get turned on by an elbow?" Knees-I can see, but elbows?


I'm not Monty Python. I hate SPAM.