J’s been wanting her ears pierced since M got them done last fall. Now, I’m not one of those mothers who feels strongly that their daughter’s virgin ears have to reach a specific age (Does anyone know that Eddie from Ohio song, One Thousand Sarahs? Sarah’s got pierced ears and “all the mothers said her mother was a slut and we couldn’t pierce our ears ’til we turned 12 no matter what”). Slutty or not, I’m okay with early ear piercing. But I’m not about to squander extraordinarily valuable parenting capital. So when M started asking, she had to “prove herself” by showing that she could brush & floss & shower and remember other various hygiene tasks each day. It was a snap for her, and she was ready within a couple of weeks. I lowered the bar for J (since she started asking two years younger), and all she had to do was stay in her own bed. Still, it’s been a struggle.
Remember the Feel My Thirst post about J climbing into bed with me? Yep, it was waaaay back in February. The princess sofa solution helped, but we’ve had a long-standing challenge that if J could spend a series of consecutive nights staying in her own bed, she could get earrings. For the first month or two after this offer was put on the table, she didn’t even try it. But she’s been working in earnest for several weeks now, even falling off the wagon once when she had only two more nights left on her special “J’s Earring Chart”. Oh, that was a sad morning. But at last, she’s finally made it!
Today we went to the Piercing Pagoda at Colonie Center to get her ears pierced. Yeah, I know: I’m anti-mall. But the girls only have one set of ears each, so I want someone who’s got an abundance of experience. J happily chose little gold flowers with coral-colored centers, and then. . . actually, she didn’t breeze through it like M did. I’d told her that it would hurt, but M had argued that it was more surprising than painful, and I guess J had believed her sister more than me. So, when it actually did hurt, she was a little stunned. She cried. It didn’t help that we happened to have an audience–a family wanted to watch, which didn’t seem like a big deal at the time. Umm, yeah, that was stupid. It clearly hurt, and J took a walk to try to compose herself, and one of the little girls followed her, wanting the scoop on the entire experience. On the other hand, if the other mom’s goal was to postpone the ear piercing process a little longer, well . . . mission accomplished!
Part of my own willingness to pierce young is because my ears were pierced in kindergarten. This was a result of a Traumatic Event. I was with my big sisters at our local community center watching The Shaggy D.A. when I went to the bathroom. Two nasty teenage girls refused to allow me in because they were convinced that I was a boy. Or, because they were nasty and decided to pretend that they were convinced that I was a boy. But, really, I did look boyish:
It’s quite possible that most people who saw me were confused. So when I went straight home, in tears, bladder bursting, my mom decided then and there to take me to get my ears pierced the next day. Because in the quaint 70s, boys just never had pierced ears. Later, even with the earrings, I was still mistaken for a boy, but with less frequency and vehemence. After playing the title role in our 6th-grade musical, Tom Sawyer, an elderly couple asked me my gender. Perhaps their eyes weren’t good enough to read the program? Couldn’t they just have asked me my name and made a wild guess based on “Katie”? Seriously, at what point do adults forget adolescence enough to think that such a question is a good idea? You know, they make button-down shirts difficult, but I’ve been grateful for my breasts from the start just because they cleared up confusion the way earrings never could.
Anyway, after the piercing, it took J a good ten minutes to fully recover. M & I started to walk into Claire’s, and J refused to enter, on the grounds that all of the earrings reminded her of the Recent Horrifying Piercing Incident. By the time we walked out of the mall, though, she was gravitating to each & every mirror to catch glimpses of her sophisticated self.