When someone tells you they tattooed their toddler, do you think of a nice sleeve, an anchor, or some Post Malone-style face tats? Those mental images certainly made us chuckle when we read the title of a Reddit post from a mom who said she gave her child a tattoo, which was actually under a doctor’s recommendation.
To the disappointment of some, this AITA subreddit mom did not, however, give her 16-month-old son a full-color Thomas the Train piece on his back. And still, her family members are in attack mode over the decision she made for her child.
The story is this: The mom has two fraternal twins, Adam and Jack, who look almost identical to each other, and almost no one can tell them apart. But Jack has a medical condition that requires him to get a shot once a week. The challenge of this presented itself when the mom went back to work, leaving the babies in her mother-in-law’s care. She was, at first, fine with giving Jack his shot.
“[It] worked very well until a month ago, when she gave the shot to the wrong kid,” wrote the mother (whose user name has been deleted). “She immediately noticed her mistake called 911, and they were transferred to hospital. By the time I got there Adam had been given the reversal agent, and they were both happily sipping on juice loving the attention. We went home the same night told to push fluids.”
The mother said the medicine wasn’t so bad that Adam’s life was ever in danger, but their grandmother decided she didn’t want to be responsible for them anymore. Now they’re in daycare, where there’s a nurse on staff who can give Jack his shot. But she has the exact same concern as Grandma — what if the boys get mixed up again? Their doctor had a very easy, if unconventional, solution: a medical tattoo.
“[He] explained they tattoo a freckle, no bigger than the end of a pencil eraser, on an area of skin that’s easily seen while the child is under mild sedation similar to dental offices,” the mom wrote. Unlike a regular tat, the mark will fade within two to three years, by which point people will probably be able to tell the kids apart.
So now Jack has a tiny freckle on one of his earlobes, much to the dismay of other family members, even though it’s so small no one can find it without her showing them.
“MIL lost her shit the second I mentioned a medical tattoo, I tried to explain but she just freaked out so I put both kids on the floor and told her to pick up Jack and find the tattoo. She picked up Adam So I handed her Jack and after 20 minutes still couldn’t find it. … Once I explain to others and they fail to find it, they understand, but they still think I went too far in tattooing my child and altering their body.”
So, she asked Reddit, is she the “asshole” for marking her child semi-permanently?
With this thorough explanation, most people agree that she did the right thing, and that people who object just because they generally object to tattoos are unreasonable.
“It’s not like you gave him a full sleeve of pin up girls and muscle cars. Also, it’s to make it harder to accidentally kill him or his brother. You made the right call,” Probablynotamantee said, prompting a long thread about what tattoos their children would want as toddlers.
“Mine would have Baby Shark and the family,” EmotionalPie7 wrote.
This is, of course, the reason people wouldn’t want real tattoos on their children. There is no way a child would make a rational choice about whether or what to get permanently on their bodies, and if they can’t decide, then their parents shouldn’t be making that choice for them.
This leads to another conundrum that occupied much of the responses: If people object to children getting tattoos (however insignificant), then they must also object to babies getting their ears pierced and — here’s the big one — circumcising their newborn sons. Dare we wade into the debate over the medical, religious, and cultural rationale behind circumcision? Not right now, anyway.
Instead, we turn back to the mother-in-law and her tattoo objections.
“The issue is that the MIL sees it as something [original poster] had to do because of her mistake,” venetian_ftaires reasoned. “It’s highlighting what she did and the overall potential seriousness of it, and showing that OP felt the need to go to ‘extreme lengths’ to prevent her from doing something like that again.”
The mom might be comforted by the words of a twin, who suspects that she and her sister got mixed up at birth.
“We’re nearly 40 now and comfortable with our names,” PearleString wrote. “But my mom said she kept track of us as babies because other twin had a freckle on her foot. … She doesn’t. I do. Do what you need to do to keep them both healthy.”
OK, so maybe we should all keep track of this, in case she needs to check later. Reminder: It’s Jack who has the tattoo, not Adam.
These gorgeous photos show moms who love their postpartum bodies.