Sunday, September 21, 2008

"She's got earring's" and other cultural shocks

As soon as the pediatrician gave the go ahead, Amelia got her ears pierced. She already had five pairs of earrings waiting to beautify her earlobes.  This is a common practice in my culture. In Puerto Rico, depending on your gender,  you either get circumcised or your ears pierced when you are born. But I never thought I would get so many comments on Amelia's earrings.

"Oh, she has earrings!"  "A baby with earrings. How cute".  They really mean how strange because it seems in the Anglo Saxon U.S.A., this is a very strange thing.  Mothers of older girls really hate it because their daughter usually ask why Amelia has her ears pierced and they don't. I'm sure they've already explained to them that Amelia's Mom is from another country where they don't mind causing pain to babies' earlobes. 

The cultural differences are even more emphasized because I married into a nice, midwestern Jewish family.  I was born and raised in Puerto Rico so my references to baby rearing and accessorizing go back to my island. 

For example, Amelia has been wearing a bow on her hair (or wisp of hair) since I could clip it on her. Now she likes to eat them hence no more bows.  Thank God she has earrings or she would look like a boy. She wears dresses with bows and ribbons on them, sent from PR and usually made in Colombia or Peru. The bow on her hair have to match the dress. 

My husband's family was fine with the earrings and loves the dresses. I have a in law cousin who loves bows.  The one thing that freaks them is the white linen outfits. Puerto Rico has a warm climate, so babies often wear white linen outfits that make them look like members of the Spanish monarchy. (We were a Spanish colony before being a US colony).

Every time my husband's family sees Amelia in a picture with a white linen outfit, they ask if we have christened her. Yep. That big elephant in the room we don't discuss with either side.  Amelia hasn't be christened or named at Temple. But it seems one side of the family is under the impression that when we fly over the Atlantic, all bets are off, and the Catholics win. 

Now that the kid is bigger she doesn't fit in the linen gowns, so the question is off the table, for now. Or so I think because I hear my husband still giving the same answer since Amelia was born and I've been in charge of her fashion sense. "It's a Puerto Rican thing".  That's why I love the man.  He always has the right answers. Ay Mama! 


5 comments:

MrsVJW said...

As a gal who had a pixie haircut and a very boy-ish figure until I hit puberty... your daughter may not appreciate what you have done since she won't be called a boy half the time until she's 12.

Ana Belaval said...

You looked like a girl to me. Beautiful hair too. If she doesn't appreciate what I did, she can tell her therapist, just like I do. I'm sure as soon as she can talk, she will let me know she hates dresses too and I'll understand. Thanks for reading the blog.

Mari said...

It definitly is a "puerto rican thing" I pierced my daughters ears at 3 months for fear that if I waited any longer she wouldn't sit still and that would result in a nose piercing instead. To this day she loves earrings. I try to buy the screw backs when I can find them, but at this point I have gone through so many pairs that I now go to Claires and buy the sets they normally use for ear piercings and just file the back with a nail file. They stay on while shes playing and I am not constantly running to the store to get a new pair.

Ana Belaval said...

Love that tip Mari. Will follow that as soon as Amelia realizes she can take them off.

mari said...

Glad I could help. For future reference once the potty training starts. You might want to jot one of these down on your to get list as well Fisher-Price Potty On-the-Go. It made my life a lot easier when traveling and going daily outings.