I took my five year old to the tattoo place. (For the record, I did not take her to the tanning bed.) And before I go much farther, I should back up to the beginning. After 3 whole months of getting “greens” every day on her behavior chart, we told her she should get her ears pierced. (It’s something she’s asked about a million times for at least a year.) I did a little searching online and talking to people who do piercings and people who have piercings and decided that instead of getting it done with a piercing gun at a jewelry store, I’d rather go somewhere that could do it with a cored needle. (There’s a ton of information out there, but here’s one the more concise pieces I was able to find about piercing gun vs. needle piercing.)
Before we went, I wanted to make sure I knew what I was walking into. I asked around and talked to several friends who have had tattoos and piercings and decided to go with the place that was most often recommended. I called ahead to see what, if anything, I needed to bring with me. The phone conversation went something like this:
Me: Yes, I was calling to see if you did ear piercing for little girls.
Guy: How little?
Guy: Oh, yeah sure.
Me: Ok, so what do I need to know about getting it done?
Guy: Well, we have piercing specialists and some of them are real good with kids.
Me: Okay. So do I need an appointment or how does this work. I’m not really very tattoo-store-literate.
Guy, laughing: Here ya go. You’ll need to bring the kid. And some kind of ID. Does she have a social security card or something?
Me: Well, I have a birth certificate and a social security card and a passport.
Guy: OH! A passport would be good. Passports have pictures on um, right?
Guy: Ok, you’ll need to bring that. And your ID. Does she have the same last name as you?
Guy: Oh, okay. That doesn’t happen a lot around here.
Me: So I bring my ID and her ID and then what? I ask for a specific person that can do kid piercings?
Guy: Well, are you coming today? Because if you come before 4, Lil Rat will be the one and if you come after 4, you’ll want Punk Ray. He’s a real tough lookin’ dude, but he’s smooth.
Me: *gulp* Well, we won’t be there until at least 6. So I ask for Ray.
Guy: Yeah, Punk Ray. He’s real good. I been piercing for about 10 years but I have a 15 month old and I let him do hers because he’s so good at it.
Me, thinking but not saying: WHAT IN THE HELL AM I DOING? I AM GOING TO TAKE MY CHILD TO A TATTOO PLACE ASK FOR PUNK RAY TO PIERCE HER!!!!!!!
Me, talking while thinking ^ that ^ : Okay so I ask for Punk Ray and then what?
Guy: Well, he’ll take y’all back and get everything set up. I can come help keep her calm if I need to.
Me, thinking: Based on this conversation, I think you really mean keep ME calm, but whatever.
Me: And he’ll just do it really quickly? Do I need to bring the earrings or do you have them there?
Guy: We have some here. A loop is really what we prefer but you can do a guraksbirg if you want.
(OK, OK…he didn’t say guraksbirg, but I honestly didn’t hear/understand the word he actually said.)
Me: Alrighty, so we pick them out there. So how much is this going to run me?
Guy: Well it depends on blah-blah-blah-blah-blah.
(He said too much too fast. I couldn’t catch up.)
Me: Ok, well…I’m not sure about all that but just tell me what the maximum amount will be.
Guy: Absolute maximum would be fifty, but probably less.
Me: Great! See you later.
Guy: Alrighty. Don’t forget! You want Punk Ray.
And so we got there and Punk Ray had just started some detail work. (Which sounded more like something you’d hear at a car place, not a tattoo place…but what do I know?) So the other piercer, Josh, got everything set up and ready for us. And by set up and ready that does not include putting drapes over the inappropriate photos in the piercing room. (Granted, they were funny and she didn’t get it but DANG!) (And also? It’s a tattoo parlor so I can’t really complain about the possible artwork, right?)
But I will say that I was very impressed with how clean it was and how professional Josh was (even with dreads and tats) and how smoothly he did his job. She never even winced. Not even once. There wasn’t a single tear, not one grimace. So…yes, I took my small child into a tattoo parlor and it was a wonderful experience and I’ll do it again if the baby one day decides she wants her ears pierced. I do not, however, plan on returning for a tattoo. ”Mama, when I’m 18 can we come back and get tattoos?” ”Don’t hold your breath.”
She’s crazy-excited and I am, too.