When Maia was just about to start first grade, and just shy of six years-old, she announced that she wanted to get her ears pierced. I was excited and told her that would be no problem. Well, her dad thought it should be something special so he suggested that we wait the month until her sixth birthday. I agreed with that.
Maia started first grade and mentioned to a mother who was helping in her class that she was going to get her ears pierced on her upcoming birthday. This well-meaning (I think?) woman informed Maia that getting your ears pierced feels like bee stings. From that day forward, Maia changed her mind on the whole ear-piercing issue. She wanted nothing to do with it.
I tried to convince Maia that getting your ears pierced is, in fact, not like getting stung by bees. She didn't believe me. When her cousin Courtney got her ears pierced I had Maia ask her how she thought it was. It didn't matter what Courtney said about a lack of pain; Maia didn't buy it. In fact, Maia got rather mad at me for pushing the issue.
So, when Marlee started her campaign to get pierced ears I embraced it. Michael did wonder what happened to the idea of waiting for something special, but I said, "We tried waiting and now look: we have a child too terrified to get it done!" (Maia has become increasingly afraid of more and more things as she has gotten older.) I think that, along with Teensy's incessant pleading for "pokey earrings" made him give in a little on the whole issue. In the back of my brain, I hoped that if Teensy got her ears pierced and she told Maia it wasn't bad, then Maia would get the courage to do it, too. (Please don't think I think a girl should have her ears pierced by the time she's 8 or there's something wrong--the issue is that Maia was letting another fear cripple her and that is just so hard to watch.) Anyway, my secret hope was that Teensy could be positive peer pressure for Maia.
I learned from the Courtney thing that I had to play it cool. I didn't say, "Hey, Maia, look at Teensy's ears! She got them pierced and she said it didn't hurt!" I said nothing. These two sweet girls share a room; I let pillow talk work its wonders. Not two days after Marlee's big day did Maia come to me and say, "I've been thinking, Mom, and since Teensy got her ears pierced I think I can do it, too." Worked like a charm.
So, this morning after Maia's piano lesson I hired her teacher to come back to my house and sit with the younger three children so Maia and I could go to the mall. Maia was so excited! She chose little sparkle flowers, too, but hers are white with a greenish/blue center. I was a little nervous for her when I realized that there was only one worker in the store. Teensy had had the luxury of two workers being in the store and, hence, had gotten both ears pierced at the same time. Maia would have to do one ear at a time. I talked with her about it and she told me that she'd be fine--she comforted me!
I didn't feel as queasy this time. I don't know if that's because Maia is older and looked bigger sitting in the chair or because I'd been through it before. The lady put perfectly centered marks on Maia's lobes and then pierced them. Each time the "gun" fired, Maia's eyes got huge and a little annoyed-looking, but she didn't make a peep. She was so brave to get her ears pierced after living in fear of it for so long. Now she has a big smile and beautiful earrings.
And they are crooked.
I still can't believe it. The right one is exactly on the mark and the left one is...not. The earring is actually sitting slightly below and outside the mark. It makes me sick. I tried to act happy for her, and just mentioned it casually that she could let that heal and then we could get it re-pierced so it would be perfect like the other one. She looked at me like I was nuts and just said, "Nah, I'm fine with it, Mom."
So, I have to be fine with it, too. It's not perfect, but she loves it and I love that she did something she was afraid of--and did I mention she rode the escalator in the mall, as well? It was a banner day for Maia. I hope she can always remember how small this act really was in relation to the large amount of fear and anxiety she associated with it. Maybe she'll be petting dogs soon!