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.
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.