The Price of Defiance, or Mama Wants a Tattoo

Apparently 13.1 is my lucky number. Is there an Official Attache for the Half-Marathon? Cuz I want that job. If it’s possible to have a running vice, the half-marathon is mine. Sadly, now I’m paying the price for indulging; I’m in a recovery week. Again. A recovery week means trouble. I’ll probably pierce something. Or get that tattoo.

About that tattoo….

I have a conundrum. I need your help.

Since this is a recovery week, it would be a great time to ink my lower back because I won’t chafe the tattoo in running clothes (priorities, people). The problem is that I’m having some trouble with The Man. He says ‘No way.’ In fact, it’s causing serious friction in our relationship, and I don’t know how to convince him.

Henry, damnit, said no.

You didn’t think I meant Brian, did you? Please. Like I’d let my husband stop me.

I showed Henry the picture of what I want, and his response was both unexpected and firm. With a charming Oedipal twist on Bridget Jones and Mark Darcy, he said, “I like you just the way you are, Mama.”

What to say. What to do.

Henry: You can have one of my fake tattoos.

Me: But I want a pretty picture on my back that doesn’t come off.

Henry: Just draw a picture on a piece of paper.

Me: You don’t have to see it if it’s on my back.

Henry: What if I’m watching you when you get dressed?

Me: I love you, my voyeuristic pervert of a boy, but I really want a tattoo.

Henry: You can get it after I die.

Me: Let me tell you a little thing about patriarchy, kid…

And that’s where I lost him. Essentially, my five year old said “Over my dead body.” I hate power games with little boys, but explaining feminist body politics to a kid who often asks where I’m hiding my penis is bound to fail. Same goes for the gender double-standard talk I tried to give him when I made the case that Daddy has a tattoo. The boy wants his mama pure, an idea that requires me to pause so I can snort and cough a little.

I think he needs to have a little sit-down with his dad and grampa about what’s happened when they’ve tried to tell me what to do. Shaking their heads with defeat, they’d no doubt say, “It’s futile, little guy.”

The thing is that I do care what my boy thinks.

At this point, probably the only tattoo he’d approve is Sponge Bob. I honestly don’t know what to do. I’m more of a Patrick fan, and I can’t let my kindergartener dictate what I do with my body. Only my coach gets that privilege, and evidently I don’t even listen to him.

What’s the cost of defying your five year old? Do I go out and just get inked anyway? I’m not asking if you think I should get a tattoo because though I love you all, your opinion on tattoos doesn’t really make a difference. I only want advice on how to finesse this with my kid. It’s a given he’ll end up on a therapist’s couch some day. I just don’t want him to open with, “It all started when my mom got a tattoo…”

17 responses

  1. Hi Kristina

    I love reading your blog. It never ceases to amaze me what comes out of kid’s mouths. By the way if you do get a tattoo….what are you thinking of getting?

  2. a kid who often asks where I’m hiding my penis

    This line alone makes me kinda want to have kids, just for the trippy convos that would result. But subsequently of course, I’d have to deal with massive bills for all those therapy sessions. Hmm, it’s a toss up.

  3. My 2 cents… Tell him you are getting a tattoo and he has two choices: he can help pick the picture or not. The rest is not up for discussion.

  4. I’ve found that when it comes to bending my children’s will to match my own it’s all about how you come at it. If I tell them they have to finish their dinner it’s not going to happen, but if I tell them that I’m going to finish my dinner before they finish theirs then we’re all done in under 3 minutes. What I’m trying to say with this disastrously long-winded comment is that you need a new angle.

    Tell him it’s not a tattoo, it’s racing stripes. Tell him it’s like the logos on a racecar. Or tell him that it’s there so that everyone you’re beating can read it while you race past them.

  5. Tell him that you are a superhero and it’s a requirement. :)

    Good luck with this one. I’ll let you know if I have any brainstorms. Stubborn ones these kids can be with memories longer than an elephant’s.

  6. Let me just say that I completely underestimated toddler’s sexuality, in spite of all the schooling psychobabble. O.M.G!!! Noone warned me!!!

    About the tattoo. You are a better mom than I am. I would not have even mentioned it to him. Maybe you both can get them, you the real one, he the fake one? Also, I bet in a couple of weeks the tattoo will not be of any interest to him.

    Oh, the cunandrums of parenting!

  7. He may change his mind before too long. Kids have been known to do that. Maybe if he finds out one of his friends’ moms has a tattoo he’ll cotton to the idea.

  8. Kids are great! I have 2 (6 yrs apart). My daughter the oldest is 6 yrs, 1mth & 1 day older she remembers very little about her preg mom and her little brother until he was about 2yrs. You might get grief from the little one know, but when he is older he will only remember you with the ink! Life is too short!!!!

  9. Finally, I’m one step ahead of you Kristina…I did the tattoo first, then the baby. Well, baby is still in the making, so I guess the only thing I have to worry about is the little squirt questioning my better judgment when s/he is old enough to know a tattoo is (still?) taboo.

  10. Put his name in it somewhere…my kids proudly announce to their friends that, “This is my mom. You can tell because she has my name on me right here…” and then they lift up the back of my shirt simultaneously showing off my love handles AND my tatoo. While not the best strategy if you have body issues, its a great conversation starter with other moms on the playground! :)

  11. My oldest became okay with it when I pointed out that her initial would be in the tattoo. Then it was ALL okay. The next question was how old she had to be to get a tattoo… Oh boy.
    Really, though. It may be this is one of those times that you just scar your child-and oh, well. Remember, whether we are perfect or horrible as parents, our kids are likely going to end up in the psychologist’s chair anyway, so don’t sweat it too much.

  12. perhaps a tattoo of a donut…
    yeah – patrick is the way to go…
    funny you should mention patrick i think i’m his long lost sister

    party on

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