January 6, 2006

Babies & Tattoos & You

my_first_tattoo.jpegA lot of people get tattoos, and a lot of people have kids. And when someone who gets tattoos has a kid, it's not uncommon for him (or her) to commemorate the occasion with a baby-related tattoo.

I am not one of these people, but I have plenty of inked friends. If you have done it, or if you're thinking about it, what is the best way to approach the decision and the design?

  • "dad" is an obvious choice, so obvious, though, it's on a million baby t-shirts and rompers these days.
  • Basic data--names and dates--seems like an obvious option, too. [But then scalability and placement become a factor. David Beckham has his first kid's name inked across the top of his butt, for example. In the tattoo biz, that's known as a "tramp stamp," which may make the other little Beckhams relieved to not be added yet.]
  • Pictures or photo-based portraits make sense, too, except that they'll be out of date pdq. [although they'd still mark a point in time just fine].
  • Little handprints seem to be popular.
  • Then there's always a kid-related design of some kind, or a picture of, you know, Cookie Monster.

    I ask because I'm actually interested and have been for a while--it's a subject that seemed particularly dad-related and under-covered anywhere else. That said, it was stumbling across this site of bad, lame, and stupid tattoos that finally got me to post about it. Like a kid, a tattoo is a lifetime commitment. The difference is, of course, that if you screw up as a parent, it's the kid that suffers; if you get a bad tattoo, it's all you, baby.

    Some relevant examples: this very large tattoo of Maddox Jolie, which is on a calf that is not Brad Pitt's. An unfortunately unskilled interpretation of a photo of a stunned-looking infant. A decent enough rendition of Pedro Ramon which will be smothered by a chest rug in days. "My 1st Tattoo" is in the 'dork' gallery. And one for the ladies: while I can understand not wanting to do it too soon, it seems to me that getting a "baby on board" tattoo on your 8-mos pregnant belly is just a bit late. How about henna? Oh, and here's that Cookie Monster I was talking about, complete with "Daddy" and "1953-1984". I can imagine a very sad, personal, private, story behind this.

    I guess what I'm really waiting to hear is that someone got a Bugaboo logo tattoo and is now receiving free strollers for life. Like that burrito stand did in San Francisco. Any voices of experience out there?

    Lame/funny/bad tattoos for your enjoyment [porkdisco via themorningnews]

  • 15 Comments

    You know, My firstborn son is on the way, and i'm seriously considering adding to my ink collection to commemorate his birth. My ears are open to responses.

    Sure Name and Birth Year sound great, not a fan of the baby's face tat's. Cookie Monster is something to consider.........

    A friend of mine has his daughter's name across the side of his neck. Inked by Mr. Cartoon, it looks amazing.

    I considered getting it done across the knuckles. Works out with a four-letter name, ELSA. Or abbreviation, like MADX. Or ZHRA.

    I had a barcode done years ago, without the numbers that barcodes typically have. The idea was that I could put an important date in at a later date and it would still be meaningful for me but not as obvious to everybody else.

    My wife has our oldest daughter's name on her back in Chinese lettering, and is looking to get a cherub to commemorate the baby we lost. She's probably going to get our son's name in some form or other - maybe an Egyptian style cartouche.

    I have to say the handprints tattoo that "Curtis and the Twins" has looks like it would have been more approriate in concrete in the backyard, or even plaster on the mantel.

    i think something as basic as the name in a nice font might be your best bet. Just not in 'Comic Sans' please.

    [I have to imagine that when it comes to merciless tattoo critiquing, font snobs are second only to people who actually read kanji. -ed.]

    Courier Perhaps?

    I like the knuckles. Son will be 'ALEX', don't think my office will like it. Unfortunately, it matters.

    I'm a Tattooed American (one of left ankle, one on right shoulder blade), and am thinking about adding the kid's initials to my right shoulder. Simple, discrete, and about as classy as one can get with a tat.

    [it's like a shirt monogram. nice. -ed.]

    I've admired Mike Monteiro's tattoos of drawings by his son, Henry.

    [I've never considered a tattoo could be "sweet" until now. wow. -ed.]

    My wife and I got plain, simple black circles (about the size of a wedding ring) on our anniversary. Mine is on my shoulder, hers is, well, you'll never see it.

    When our daughter was born we each added a simple little black dot, about the size of a pea, next to the black circle. We think it looks pretty cool - like the beginning of a solar system or something - but it's still graphic and abstract. And, it's highly scalable. We can add more dots for additional kids and even tiny dots for grandkids.

    Ooo, I really like that last idea.

    I am currently pregnant with our second child, and eagerly aniticipating the time when I can get another tattoo. I'll have to wait until I'm done nursing, or so I've heard. And I say, better safe than sorry.

    Anyway, I'm excited about my plan for my mommy tattoo: I plan to get a large band around my left arm, using an illustration from The Runaway Bunny. The page I want drawn on my arm forever is the color illustration for the phrase, "If you become a bird and fly away from me, I will be the tree that you come home to." The picture has a bunny-shaped tree (Mommy) and a bunny with wings (child). I will get two little winged bunnies, of course, and leave room to add more, just in case. I love the image, I love the colors, and I love the sentiment of committment to my children.

    I'm totally in love with the idea, now I just have to find an artist who can do it justice.

    Just so you know -- the tat on the pregnant belly is obviously fake. ;)

    I plan to get a tat soon to symbolize my son, and also want to be able to work any future kids into it. I'm thinking of getting a reddish-orange koi fish on my shoulder blade and then adding scales of a different color for each kid. Maybe initials somewhere. I've always liked what koi symbolize and think they're pretty.

    There is a decal I saw in Hawaii with two large sea turtles (honu) and two smaller ones -- I'm thinking of that for my family (2 parents and a set of twins). Also scalable, but not obvious. Sort of like this, but cleaner.

    [that TV movie where the kid carved his and that girl's initials into the sea turtle's shell, and later it became a giant sea turtle that saved him? I loved that movie when I was a kid. -ed.]

    I have a tattoo on my right shoulder of a sun with the center being a yin-yang, this was done as a reminder to me of balance and everything having a reason in life. Now, I would like another tattoo, but something to do with my kids, I have 5...so I was thinking of an ankle bracelet with little heart charms, each containing a set of initials. I thought of this for my wrist, but think that would be too big for my employers to allow :-)

    I thinking of getting something to symbolize my 4 kids... 2 of them being step kids, I already have my 2 kids names on my ankle. Anyway just today a came up with maybe 4 hands either piled on top of eachother or holding hands forming a circle. I havent really decided how exactly but i def want to leave room to add another if my husband &I have another one.

    i am thinking of getting a tattoo of my first grandbabys footprints which wiil be born in a month and a half

    My husband and I are expecting our first child in June 2010. Unfortunatly, I know for a fact that this will be our only child, seeing as it was a miracle I could even concieve. Right before I found out we were expecting, I was planning on getting a heart with a lock design on the inside with a key wrapped around it with my husbands first name on it. But now, whenever it is safe to get my ink done, im going to change the design to have two keys wrapping around the locked heart with both their names on it.

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