Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Tattoo patriotism for kids July 10, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:00 AM
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GROWING UP, my exposure to tattoos involved Easter. In every package of Paas Easter egg dye came a selection of washable tattoos.

Mom suggested we wait until after Easter Sunday church services to apply the tattoos to our arms. Apparently she thought inked skin unsuitable for our Lutheran church. Sometimes we waited. Sometimes we didn’t. I won’t pretend that my siblings and I were always angelic kids who listened.

Those are my thoughts whenever I see washable tattoos. On the Fourth of July, my niece Tara pulled out two patriotic-themed tattoos she’d saved from some event.

My almost-six-year-old great niece, Ari, was thrilled about getting a tatoo:

STEP ONE: Applying Ari's tattoo with a wet washcloth.

STEP ONE: Apply tattoo with a damp washcloth.

STEP TWO: Removing the washcloth and paper for the great reveal.

STEP TWO: Remove the washcloth and paper for the great reveal.

STEP THREE: Blow on the tattoo to dry it.

STEP THREE: Blow on the tattoo.

DISTRACTION: Even the distraction of the camera did not stop Ari from blowing.

DISTRACTION: Even the distraction of the camera did not stop Ari from following instructions.

STEP FOUR: The great reveal.

STEP FOUR: Show off your tattoo.

But my two-year-old great nephew, Hank, was not quite as thrilled:

STEP ONE: Applying a tattoo to a hesitant Hank.

STEP ONE: Apply a tattoo to a curious Hank.

STEP TWO: Revealing a USA tattoo to a seemingly uninterested Hank.

STEP TWO: Reveal a USA tattoo to a seemingly uninterested Hank.

STEP TWO: Revealing the USA tattoo to Hank.


STEP THREE: Prompt tattoo removal by Hank.

STEP THREE: Promptly scratch off the tattoo.

That’s the thing about tattoos. Some people like them and some don’t. I do. But only if they’re the washable kind.

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


17 Responses to “Tattoo patriotism for kids”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    i got a heart tattoo with Harper at Lakeside. They make them a lot sturdier than they used to, let me tell you! It stayed several days and I had to get an alcohol prep pad from my sister in law to get it off! 🙂 The flag ones are beautiful. Great photo series!

  2. treadlemusic Says:

    Love those!!! Would make really great “real” ‘tats’!!!!! You are so right, though, ya either love them (the real ones) or………not! Of course, I/we definitely do!!!! (no surprise…..hmmm???)

  3. My kids had fun with those kind of tattoos. We had flowers, dinosaurs, cartoon characters….And, later, Abby and I got henna tattoos every summer at one of the local art fairs. Those were so pretty! Now, we’ve each got some carefully considered permanent ones. Yup, it’s not for everyone.

  4. Marilyn Says:

    Washable patriotic-themed tattoos are really sort of cool. Longer lasting henna (think Indian weddings) designs are also intriguing. But for most of the tats I see I think of my uncle post-WW2 who told all us children “Don’t ever do it. Everyone who has a tattoo wishes that he hadn’t got it.” That was back when only men had tats and removal was deemed impossible. Now I’ve been told that tattoo removalists are a growth industry.

  5. BroCraves was into the temporary tattoo while I just stickered anything and everything – ha! These are really nice – thanks for sharing in pictures 🙂 I have a few tats and they are called scars and earned every one of them too – ha! Happy Thursday 🙂

  6. hotlyspiced Says:

    As long as they’re not the permanent kind. I just can’t stand tattoos and with all the inking going on at the moment I think a good future business will be laser tattoo removal. When all these 20-somethings come to their senses, they’ll be lining up outside the laser shops xx

  7. Jackie Says:

    I totally enjoyed the play-by-play of these two sweet kiddo’s getting their tattoo’s! Those tattoo’s are actually quite beautiful, so bright and colorful 🙂

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