I always thought I was doing my girls a huge favor by not piercing their ears as babies. No judgment upon those who do – I just sit on the other side of that parenting hot bed.
“I have no choice – it’s our culture,” My Puerto Rican friend told me, dumping Siracha sauce on her slab of pork, knowing full well her IBS was going to turn her butt into a jack hammer in 43 minutes and not giving one damn.
I get it – there are all kinds of reasons for why parents do the things they do. I just thought my girls would appreciate that I’d left the decision of whether or not to put a hole in their head to them to make. You know, their body their choice and all that jazz. Plus, having three girls in 30 months meant there was no way in hell I could take on an ounce of anything that was not directly related to keeping them alive. There is zero room for accessories when you’re in survival mode.
When my oldest turned eight I decided we were far enough away from survival mode that if she wanted to I pierce her ears I would give her the green light.
“Does it hurt?” She asked.
I was honest. “A little,” I said. “It sort of feels like a flu shot in your ear lobe.”
And that’s when the curtains came down, with the ‘S’ word. I should have known better – just a few weeks prior she informed me she didn’t want to have kids because she thought it would hurt.
“Well they give you a shot so it doesn’t hurt,” I replied, thinking back lovingly upon my epidural.
That was also the day when, I’m proud to say, I learned what it takes to send my daughter into a full-blown panic attack. Not the thought of a very large, living thing with hair and fingernails (homina homina still makes me pucker) ripping through your loins, but a shot. I didn’t even have a chance to get to the part where I tell her how long it is and how they stick it deep into your spine.
On the bright side, looks like we can go ahead and skip the sex talk.
“I’ll do it,” My six-year-old piped in. “I want to do it. I want to get my ears pierced.”
I wasn’t surprised. Two years ago she was diagnosed with ITP and for about six months we had to go in for weekly blood draws. Several nurses would walk in prepared to do whatever it took to get the vials of blood they needed. Not only did they not have to restrain her, but she insisted on getting her nose right up in that ish and carefully watch, a sparkle in her eye as they inserted the large needle into her arm. I’m pretty sure she’s either going to grow up to be a nurse or a heroin addict.
Also, she prides herself on being “fashion”. To her being “fashion” means putting on as many colors, patterns, layers and necklaces as possible, selecting the largest headband and then swaggering out the door to give people seizures.
“Are you sure you can take care of them all by yourself?” I asked. “You have to put medicine on them twice a day and make sure they don’t get infected.”
Yes yes yes to all of that. So in June I took her to the most obnoxious little girl store filled wall to wall with glittery unnecessary I could find and we got it done.
And all was going well… until it wasn’t. The problem came when I realized I couldn’t remember how long we were supposed to apply the medicine. Four weeks? Six? Eight? Details have never been my strong suit. Most Moms would look stuff like this up, but I just decided to sort of guess and picked “C” – six weeks. Which I learned was apparently not enough when she woke up one morning with a swollen, leaking, infected earlobe.
I was able to jimmy the earring out but it had some sort of an abscess so it needed a little rest (and a lot of alcohol – both rubbing and the kind that makes you feel better about being a bad Mom). I knew that by the time it healed it would have grown back together, news that didn’t sit well with Lila who now looked at her earrings with more love than she ever looked at with me.
And by “didn’t sit well” I mean she crumpled up in a heap and bellowed big, old man sobs. But then… I had an idea.
“Hey Lila, come in here,” I called.
“Don’t rip my other earring out!” She said, cautiously entering my room.
I flipped my phone around and showed her what I had Googled:
‘one earring fashion’. She could pioneer the look at her elementary school.
She came home from school that night with a spring in her step, informing me that all the girls in her class want to take out one earring as well.
And so ends the tale of why you should just do all the freaking unpleasantries to kids as babies, when they can’t remember anything and they don’t end up looking hokey walking around with one earring.