Disappointment at the Half-Pint House

Did you hear the one about the two kids and the homeschool mom who walked into a bar? How about the two kids and a homeschool mom who walked into a tattoo parlor? Actually, make that two tattoo parlors. And, well, technically, the two kids only walked into one – the first one had a sign taped to the door saying, “Absolutely no one under the age of 15 allowed.”

No, I didn’t go ahead with the tattoo on my ankle I’ve been threatening to get for five years. The story is unfortunately one I foreshadowed in an earlier post: Maddie’s ear piercing isn’t working out quite the way we hoped it would. After consulting with most of the moms at Classical Conversations today and then taking the advice of the one with multiple piercing experiences herself, I decided to take Maddie in to a “professional” today to get her earlobes checked.

The first place was the one with the sign on the door and made me wonder what in the world I was thinking. We had Millie with us as Katie was in choir; Chloe stayed with Craig for the last thirty minutes of his after-school gig at the bookstore. I told the girls to stay right outside the door (you know, so they had a great view of everything inside the shop but weren’t technically inside). I then went inside and patiently waited my turn, dressed like a typical soccer mom despite having no children who currently play soccer, until someone finally came to help me.

As you might imagine, I’m not your typical tattoo shop inhabitant, so I’m sure the gal was wondering who the heck she was dealing with. I took her seriously for the job she does and proceeded to pour my story out. She sympathized and said they would make an exception for me to bring her into the store, except that Jason, the piercing guy, had already gone home for the day. She said I could bring her back tomorrow.

Having sufficiently freaked Maddie out already, I figured we might as well get this over with tonight, so we drove up the Loop on our way home where I figured there had to be at least one tattoo and piercings place. We saw two. I found parking in front of one, checked the door for no-children signs (there were none) and went in. This place was a little more hip than the first one we went to, but it was here I had to hand over my good-mothering card to a guy with holes in his ears bigger than my eyes. I spilled my story for the second time and he called me out for the piercing phony I am.

Quarter-size-holes-in-his-ears-guy: Did you take her to a mall?
Me (hanging my head): Um…yes.
Quarter-size-holes-in-his-ears-guy (with a hint of chastisement in his voice): Did they use a gun?
Me (shrinking slowly to the psychedelic spinning floor): yes.
Quarter-size-holes-in-his-ears-guy: You do know they hand those guns to any 16-year-old girl with absolutely no training at all, don’t you?
Me (reaching into my purse and digging out my good-mothering card to hand over): I do now.

Lecture over, he relented and took a good look at her ears. He then delivered the bad news: they had to come out in order to heal. And then we need to have them done again – NOT at the mall.

I said something stupid like, “Can I really bring her here to a place like this?” I realized the insult I’d just accidentally hurled at him and backed up. “I mean, you know, this place is kind of for adults, right? I just meant do you ever do children?” He was gracious and easily deflected the non-intentional dig (I’m guessing when you have holes in your ears the size he does you sort of have to learn to deflect things like that). He said they would be happy to do the piercing correctly for her, but that we have to get a state-issued ID for her first.

Disappointed, the three of us walked out of the tattoo and piercings shop, loaded up into our super-chic minivan looking oh-so-with-it on the edge of the Loop, and headed home. After relaying our story to Craig, we proceeded to take the earrings out amid much sadness and disappointment.

I took the earrings out and saw how big the holes were in front of her ears (not quite to the size of Quarter man, but well on their way). The holes in back were normal size still. Two hours later we could see that the inside was healing back up already and the front holes looked normal.

When she’s ready, I’ll take her back, but I’m not sure when she’ll be ready to do it again: she heard the word “needle” and saw the size of that guy’s own piercings and it may have marked her for life. We’ll see what happens.

In the meantime, I have now officially been to not one, but two tattoo parlors here in St. Louis. I may have arrived.