I Survived My Kid's First Piercing (Barely.)
An encore republication by reader request
About six months ago, my daughter, who was then still five, inquired as to when she would be allowed to get her ears pierced. Without so much as a flinch, I told her that she could do it whenever she was ready. After all, I got my ears pierced when I was really young – three or four, I think1 – and I know she’s going to get them pierced eventually. I mean, I have way too many great pairs of earrings to pass down to her for her to not get them pierced. So, twenty-five minutes later, we were standing in Claire’s Boutique in the Westside Pavilion Mall. We picked out the starter earrings – little pink flowers with a yellow center – and I signed a legal document (in triplicate), initialing away my rights to sue for infection, disease, severe pain, scarring, and lopsidedness that may result from the piercing. I sat her down in the chair, the piercing lady put on her rubber gloves, and then I made the mistake of referring to the piercing gun as a "gun." As in, see honey, that white plastic thingy is the gun that holds the earrings, and they just squeeze it really fast, and the next thing you know – wait, why are you screaming? Oh, no, don’t cry, it’s just – oh, don’t get off the chair. Okay. Okay. Yes, we can go home.2 And so we left, un-pierced, and we forgot all about it. Until yesterday.
Yesterday, Harper announced, out of nowhere, that she was now, unquestionably, ready to pierce her ears. Well, probably not out of nowhere. From the intel I’ve managed to gather, there’s a girl on her camp bus who is seven who has her ears pierced, and that girl and a C.I.T. have been encouraging (pressuring?) Harper to pierce her ears all summer. And since tomorrow is Harper’s last day of camp, she had to get her ears pierced TODAY in order to show these forces of corruption that she does, in fact, have the balls to go through with it (my choice of words, not Harper’s). And also, I’ve been letting her watch Jon & Kate Plus 8 on TLC3, and on a recent episode, one of the seven year-old twins gets her ears pierced, and even though she cries, she only cries for a second and then says it wasn’t so bad. Plus, she gets a lollipop.
Which brings me back to yesterday, or, more specifically, last night. I was leaning over to give Harper a kiss goodnight, when suddenly, she grabbed my earlobe and dug her thumbnail into it with the force of an electric drill. Nonplussed by my shriek of pain, she asked if that is what it feels like to get your ears pierced. Because in some kind of vehicular ear-piercing simulation, the seven year-old on the bus did that to Harper even harder than Harper did it to me, and it didn’t even hurt that bad (um, actually, it hurt pretty bad), so therefore she’s ready, and she wants to go tomorrow.