As you might remember, Annabel started expressing an interest in getting her ears pierced back over the summer. When the interest turned into her asking regularly to get her ears done, Mike and I sat down and talked about it. We laid out some goals for things she had to improve on and achieve at school, and once she hit those we’d revisit the subject.
Well, the girl buckled down and hit every goal we laid out for her by mid-November. Mike and I discussed it decided that we would let her get her ears pierced, with the stipulations that she a) take care of her ears herself and b) keep up the good work at school. She also had to understand that if anything changed for the negative, we reserved the right to remove her earrings and that would be it.
After looking at the calendar, I realized we are in prime piercing time. She’s between sports (soccer and softball), and with swimming starting right after softball, this was the only time where she’d have a large stretch of time to pierce her ears until this time next year. So when Annabel’s best friend E came over last week to spend the night, I said to the girls, “Hey, why don’t we go get Annie’s ears pierced right now?” The girls started screaming with excitement, and continued screaming and squealing the entire way to the piercing parlor.
When we got inside, Annabel started to get nervous. I’d figured this would happen, which was why I’d made sure to bring along E for moral support. E already had her ears pierced and was totally blasé about the whole thing, “Don’t be nervous Annie, it doesn’t hurt, you BARELY feel it. My flu shot hurt more than my ears.” E is totally chill and I love it. The two of them looked at the jewelry and Annabel settled on a pair of tiny sparkling studs that changed color in the light.
In the piercing room, Annabel sat down on the chair.
Her: “I don’t know if I want to do this.”
Me: “Cool! Let’s go, then!”
Her: “No, I do! I don’t want to leave! I want to get my ears pierced!”
The piercer took some time to place marks on Annabel’s ears while E chatted away about school gossip. I could see that Annabel was definitely doubting things.
So I said, “Annie, this is 100% your decision. If you don’t want to get your ears pierced, you don’t have to.” But she replied with, “No, I want to! I’m just nervous!” The piercer showed her the marks on her ears, then explained how the whole piercing thing would work. She showed Annie how she’d hold her earlobe, told her how long the whole thing would take, and even touched Annie’s ear with the back of her needle so she could get an idea of how it would feel. She told Annie it would feel like a pinch, only for a second, and then it would be over. E then chimed in with, “Seriously, bug bites hurt more than this.”
With everything laid out on the table both metaphorically and literally, Annie said, “Okay. I just need a minute.” And then proceeded to take SIXTY minutes to come to a decision. We had this exchange about 147 times:
Me: “You seriously don’t have to do this. Let’s just go and come back another time.”
Her: “NO! I WANT TO GET MY EARS PIERCED.”
Me: “Okay, then let’s do this!”
Her: “I just need a minute!”
My line between Supportive Parent and Patient Parent became daaaaangerously thin. But if E could sit there patiently while Annie waffled, I had to, too. I finally said, “Annie. Look. I know you want to get your ears pierced and you’re nervous. But we’ve been here an hour and we can’t take up anymore of [piercer’s] time. So you either have to do this now, or we have to go. But I know you, and I know if you walk out of here without your ears pierced you’ll be seriously upset.”
She thought about it for a second and then said, “Okay, let’s do it.” The piercer immediately jumped into action and pierced her right ear. E and I cheered and jumped up and down while Annie sat there, stunned. She said, “Can I get the other ear pierced another time?” Before I could reply, E flatly said, “Nope.” LOL I love her.
While I leaned in to tell Annie I was proud of her bravery, the piercer quickly pierced her other ear. Annie didn’t even realize it until the earring was in! She jumped up and looked in the mirror and immediately started squealing with E, while I thanked the piercer profusely for her patience and also asked where the nearest liquor store was.
In the week since they’ve been pierced, she’s been diligent about caring for them, and she’s been incredibly positive, happy, and helpful in that time. “Mom, I’m so proud I earned getting my ears pierced! Whenever I feel like talking or making a joke in class, I’ll just touch my ears and think, ‘shhh Annie, remember your earrings.'”
If that turns out to be true, I’m sure her teachers will wonder why we didn’t get her ears pierced sooner.