My daughter has wanted to get her ears pierced for a while now. Initially, I said let's wait until your 6th birthday. That came and went and she forgot about it for a couple of weeks... then she remembered and started asking all over again. That's when I said we would do it before Christmas as a Christmas gift. She mentioned it to her grandmother on a sleepover visit which resulted in said grandmother's request to be present for this milestone in femininity.
So on a recent weekend, the grandparents made a day trip to see us for the express purpose of getting Elisabeth's ears pierced and to attend a choral performance with both Elisabeth and Jonah. Being the mom that I am, I asked around a bit about good places for getting little girls ears pierced. That lead to me reading and hearing about some nightmare experiences - more than one story involved Claire's. I discovered a few blogging moms and online articles that recommended a tattoo parlor as did a family member familiar with those establishments. All the advice and articles on gun versus needle piercing was actually very convincing so I called around for quotes and to get a feel for some local parlors. Unfortunately, Elisabeth was also set for a tooth extraction two days later. I was concerned if anything went wrong with the needle approach, we would all the sudden have an unwilling patient come the day of the scheduled dental procedure. I probably over analyzed the whole thing, but, hey, it's what I do.
In the end, we went to the Piercing Pagoda in the Oviedo Mall. I chose it only after reading rave reviews online and getting a good reference from a friend for that particular location. In fact, I drove a little further to go to that particular store because of the recommendations and reviews. I was so glad that I did. We were all very pleased with the experience and the result. The fact that this location was an actual retail store and not just a booth in the mall was a plus. The staff was very professional and clean. They took their time getting the dots even. I really appreciated that they fought off the urgency to just get it done in order to get it right. Two staff persons were on hand to pierce both ears simultaneously, which is ideal for a young child. Elisabeth was very brave and very happy with the outcome.
Convenience was a big factor in making a choice on where to go. I wanted to buy a quality pair of earrings for my daughter as a Christmas gift and I had grandparents with us. I'm not sure that many tattoo parlors have kid-friendly earrings for purchase and my parents, in particular, would not have felt comfortable in a tattoo parlor. Does that mean I think everyone should go to Piercing Pagoda? No. You should go where you feel comfortable. In fact, I would still consider a reputable tattoo parlor for future piercings. And if you go to a place in the mall, ask around, read reviews, get references. It made all the difference in our case.
Watch these videos of kids getting their ears pierced at a tattoo parlor.
Regarding pricing, piercings are free with earring purchase at Piercing Pagoda and most other mall locations and jewelry stores. That being said, I don't think I saw any "piercing" earrings under $30 dollars in the store. If your finances are more limited, you may want to take a pair of good quality stud earrings with comfortable backs from mom's jewelry box to a trusted tattoo parlor and pay the $15 for the needle piercing. Or, you can use the technic my mom used back in the day - have your girlfriend hold ice on your ear until it's numb and put a sewing needle through it. Voila! Though an older child and braver mom than me would be required. That's why options are always good!