growing up · raising strong girls · slice of life

Pierced Ears… Finally!

Yesterday morning, I discovered Isabelle had placed our Mother & Daughter Journal on my night table. I went through the pages she tabbed with sticky notes and discovered she was finally entertaining the idea of getting her ears pierced. (NOTE: As I mentioned last month, the contents of our journal are private. However, since earrings are a public thing, I don’t consider this to be a breach of mother-daughter confidentiality.)

I approached Isabelle about what she wrote while we were coloring in the mid-morning. She seemed interested until I uttered the words my mom told me when I was six years-old, “Even if the first one hurts, you still have to get the second one done.”

And just like that, Isabelle changed her mind.

Throughout the day, we talked about it — with Marc — a few times. She vacillated as many times as we discussed it. Eventually, I told Isabelle, “It’s your body. It’s not my place, or anyone’s place, to force you to do something you aren’t ready to do. However, if you’re going to do it, it needs to be by next weekend since you have to care for the holes for six weeks after you get them pierced and I need the care to be done before you get in a pool on Memorial Day Weekend.”

She said she understood.

She said she wasn’t doing it.

Until she changed her mind again.

And then back again.

Isabelle had a day off from school today so I asked her, “Would you like to go to the mall to take a look at the earrings. Maybe they can show you the gun they use to piece the holes in people’s ears?” I was shocked when she replied affirmatively to my question.

We went to the mall.

She found a pair of earrings she liked (pink crystal flowers with 14K gold posts).

She inspected the equipment.

Finally, once she understood the process, I asked her, “Do you think you want to get your ears pierced today or come back another time?”

In the faintest murmur, I heard an affirmative response. However, I wanted to be sure.

“I didn’t hear what you said. Would you like to get them done while we’re here?”

“Yes,” she replied with a strong voice.

I watched Isabelle hop up in the sanitized chair. The man marked her ears. (Me, being overly fastidious, asked him to readjust one of the markings.) Then, he started explaining to Isabelle how he was going to clean her ears to get them ready for the piercing.

“Do you want me to stand close to you or away from you?” I asked.

“In front of me,” Isabelle replied.

Oh my G-d, she’s nervous.

“You can stand in the center, right there in front of her,” the man told me as he removed the alcohol swabs from their envelopes.

I stood in front of Isabelle watching her watch the man as he approached her left ear. He asked, “Do you want me to just do it or to count, 1-2-3?”

“1-2-3,” she stated.

He counted and Isabelle didn’t even flinch.

Tiny 🌸! And, of course, as 😷, because it’s 2021!

But then he informed me that backing didn’t release onto the back of the post, which it was supposed to do. I thought I was going to pass out* as I watched him check to see if the earring went through Isabelle’s ear.

Luckily, the post passed through the ear and he was able to get the backing on without a problem. Before I knew it, Isabelle’s second ear got pierced without any drama.

I took a few photos of Isabelle before we left the mall and sent “surprise” messages to Marc and both sets of grandparents, the latter of whom knew nothing about Isabelle’s desire to get her ears pierced.

* = A TOTAL SIDE STORY: I threw up all over the jewelry store after getting each of my ears pierced. I remember feeling light-headed after the first one got done, but I knew I needed to get both done since I didn’t want to walk around with one pierced ear and one regular earlobe. I vowed, at the tender age of six, never to have anything pierced for the rest of my life. I’ve stuck to that self-promise.

When I was trying on earrings for my wedding at age 30, I almost passed out in two different jewelry stores. The first salesperson told me that maybe I was getting cold feet about the wedding. (Idiot, I thought, before walking out of the jewelry store.) The second salesperson who saw me get nauseous and dizzy mentioned I might be having some kind of vasovagal response. I told her I rarely changed my earrings as an adult since I often felt woozy when I did. Something clicked into place at that moment! That’s when I realized I probably threw up in the jewelry store as a kid for the same reason that I rarely change my earrings. Something strange happens to me any time a piece of metal passes through my ear lobes. After nearly a quarter of a century, I no longer felt like a wimp after throwing up in the jewelry store as a kid.


21 thoughts on “Pierced Ears… Finally!

  1. I am sure she will love all the earrings she is going to wear. Here we pierce within a few months for girls. When my husband was small, even the ears of boys were pierced. Some time along the way for boys it was stopped. But now it is back in fashion 🙂 My daughter and her friends got their nose pierced when in college 🙂 She wears a nose stud. Her daughter is three and maybe she will wait for some more time. They live in .Germany . Every time they had come for a vacation somehow the piercing did not happen.

  2. Oh, a great story! Now I know what to get Isabelle for Chanukah and her birthday. I love to go to jewelry stores and can shop for earrings. I am sure Isabelle is going to enjoy her choices. You have had a rough time of it! I fainted once – at the vet’s office after assisting him with stitching my dog’s leg. She somehow had torn her muscle – outside and inside stitches were needed. After I fell on the hard floor, I needed to drive myself to Abington Hospital for stitches in my chin – a total of nine!

  3. This brought back lots of memories of my own ear piercing at age 12. My mom wore clip ons until after my sister and I pierced our ears, then she decided she was ready to do it too! She was 45!

  4. A great story! An important rite of passage! My mother also let me decide when to pierce my ear. I did it by myself at home when I was 15 years old !! With ice and a sterilized needle !! That too deserves a story.

  5. I got my daughter’s ears pierced when she was two. I thought it would be less painful, but your story makes it sound painless even at six! That, or maybe Isabelle is just a very brave girl!

  6. Hooray for Isabelle! It’s hard to get the courage to do things like this sometimes. I hope she loves them. Claire had hers pierced but felt afraid of having us change the earrings. It didn’t bother me at all. After about a year of wearing them her uncle decided she needed to change them so he tricked her into letting him look and he pulled one out. She let him know right away that he had made the wrong decisions. 😉 But then she was a pirate for almost two years because she was afraid to get that ear re-pierced.

  7. What an amazing story you shared with Isabelle’s reconsiderations and your own not so very pleasant memories intertwined. I think, from my own experiences, the HARDEST thing for parents to do is to let children do something that brought their parents’ unpleasant memories! PS My own holes closed up because putting earrings in is VERY stressful for me and so I skip it….THEN, for my 50th birthday I did it again…and I now where the studs with screw backs so that I can 1) avoid stress and 2) remember to wear earrings!

  8. Wow. All of these stories are great! I love reading how you talk with Isabelle. Many of the writer parents I know post dialogues with their kids, and I am amazed at the conversations, ways of talking that would never have happened between me and either of my parents. I’m so curious to understand what happens to you when you change earrings. I had a vasovagel episode shortly after starting my new job, and it was pretty awful. I can’t imagine having something like that happen every time I changed my earrings! And finally, hurray for Isabelle and her newly pierced ears! 🙂

    1. If I make one quick change at home and make sure to look in the mirror when putting the new earring through the hole, then I’m fine. If I misfire the post, that’s when trouble starts. It’s strange!

  9. This is a fascinating slice, Stacey! No wonder you wanted to make sure Isabelle was really ready. I am struck once again by how brave she is – and how she gets this from her mom.

    1. She’s way braver than I am with things like this. She’s the kid who can watch her own blood draws. I, on the other hand, have to lay down with my eyes closed. And then I get up slowly and drink apple juice before departing the lab. Ha!

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