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September 21st, 2010  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized

nico inked

Nico showing off his (temporary) ink

I caught a bit of this forum started by Jim Lin (of Busy Dad Blog). His question: What is the right policy on swearing and kids?

It’s a good question, and one worth what I would call future-thinking (as in, deeper thought when I am freed of the subpurgatory that is jury duty). What I can say is that swearing and kids seems to fit in with all those other adult vices that we may or may not try to shield or hide from our kids. Like drinking Daddy Juice.

Or, in our house, tattoos.

We are not heavily tattooed parents–just three tattoos between the two of us. But we do have them, they are in plain sight, and they raise some interesting conversations.

Last night Dalia went a little mental with her markers, giving herself a Maori-style face tattoo and inking up Nico’s arm (including, curiously enough, a pretty good replica of the Tivo dude). That led, of course, to other questions she had, about how we got our tattoos, whether they wash off, why they don’t wash off: everything short of asking me, “what kind of asshole tattoos someone else’s name on themselves?”

More surprising, perhaps, was the fact that Dalia–still only 4 years old–seemed quite certain that she would be getting a tattoo as well. A flower. On her arm. Pink and black.

Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. Even though she’s not watching those tattoo-parlor reality shows, she still gets those little vending-machine surprises in the plastic capsules every once in a while. Half of them seem to be biker-style rose-and-thorn temporary tattoos. And it’s not just us that have tattoos: Her uncles (not on my side, ahem), have a collection of lovely prison tats, the kind that really look like they were made with ballpoint pen. The themes are different, you might say, than what I would wish for my daughter.

The good news: There should be time to try to convince her about location, image, etc. I’d be happiest if she waited to get them until she was 28, like I did. But I suppose kids are getting edgier (are they actually?) and tattoos are getting easier to remove, so Dalia may only be 14 years removed from the glorious day when she can have 56 stars tatted on her face and then blame the tattoo artist.

A father can dream, can’t he?

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