C’mon, why baby tattoos? You wouldn’t have a picture of your tongue tattooed on your arm, would you?
Well, aren’t we talking about something only a couple months shy of looking like someone’s tongue?
This non-parent certainly is.
The faces of most newborns don’t have nearly enough character to justify placement under your Mötorhead tattoo. Can I get a witness? Fresh babies are unshaped, rapidly evolving, and for all intents and purposes, under cooked. You wouldn’t want to look at it in a bowl, would you? Well to this non-parent, even highly stylized baby tattoos are not an improvement.
Besides, when a child is born and breathing for the first time, he or she doesn’t want to be there. He or she could care less about Creeper Ink on Piedmont Ave., or your penchant for over-sentimentalizing and mis-prioritizing your own emotional upheaval.
But let’s get one thing clear out of the gate: if anyone feels insulted in any way by this blog entry, it should be narcissistic parents, not babies. I know babies don’t have the mental capacity to weigh in on whether they might be best represented by tattoo shop portraiture. So I’ll just say it: people who get tattoos of infants and toddlers on their bodies only to watch them mutate into Medusa are doing so because they have mistaken the birth of a child with self-expression. Big mistake in child rearing; big mistake in child worship.
Babies and children are not a form of expression. Now take that Ramones t-shirt off your kid at once!
I certainly understand the affection behind such a woeful decision as trusting a tattoo artist with both your skin and the likeness of your as yet fully formed child, but that’s where my acceptance runs aground. If you think about it, as a friend of mine pointed out, you’re really just capturing the moment when your kid has the least identity as an individual that he or she will ever have, and what does that say?
Maybe tattoos are very personal, blah blah blah. Great. Naturally, any criticism of them will be taken poorly, which is why cousins, fathers, sisters, and friends flat out lie to those seeking praise by showing off a picture of a frog and insisting it’s actually little Jimmy.
Said entitled parents will continue to insist it’s Jimmy, too, long past the point where they themselves believe the similarities they paid good money still apply. They’ll endlessly proclaim their love for these often frightening ink jobs even as the perversity of deformation resulting from poor placement, injury, old age, botched ink-work, and personal blubber takes over.
No, I’ve never seen a toddler tattoo that I wanted to look at twice, let alone help aggrandize.
I’ve also never been afraid to ask about someone’s burn scars, and I have never offended a burn victim by inquiring. I will never ask about a baby tattoo. I already know the delusion behind it, so just shut up. I’m on the kid’s team, not yours.
Again, I get how you can be so overwhelmed with adoration for your newborn as to have a needle jockey puncture its little monster face onto your back or bicep; I just can’t see any excuse for the lack of foresight or the expectation of fawning.
No amount of rationalization or denial will ever eliminate the fact that you’ve deliberately created a platform on which people will repeatedly lie to your face. Even grandparents, blindly supportive and smothering as they can be, will always walk away thinking, “I’m so glad I never inked a loaf of bread on my arm.”
When family members get a load of your Picasso and explain with a loving grin as they pick up your child that they “prefer the real thing,” what they’re really expressing is, “You got ripped off, Champ.”
You didn’t think about stretch-marks did you? No. So, like I said, I’m on the kid’s team, not yours. You’re the one who will eventually have to explain away the fact that your baby’s face is no longer on your arm, but on your elbow.
In the meantime, do us a favor: cover the troll at swap meets and sporting events during the summer. The need to have the rest of us co-sign your weirdo self-indulgence is offensive to non-parents.
Tags: babies, baby tattoos, birth, burn scar, child rearing, child worship, children, denial, excuses, infants, ink, Medusa, Mötorhead, newborns, non-parent, parents, Picasso, portraiture, Ramones, self-indulgence, tattoo, toddlers