Ear Piercing

I got my nose pierced for my 35th birthday.  We called it my “midlife crisis” and celebrated that I had come of age to legitimately have a midlife crisis!  My poor mom did not find out about this until she saw me a good 7 months later!  (Oops, forgot to blog about it until now!  This is partially because I am crazy busy and also because loading pictures onto this blog has become massively difficult and even more time-consuming than it already was!  Rawr!)  I had been wanting to pierce my nose since my 32nd birthday, but what if it was just a phase?  I opted to get my nose pierced when I turned 35 if I still wanted to do it.  It was NOT a phase, and I now happily sport a super-cute sparkle over my right nostril!  My piercings now total 4 – both ears pierced at age 13, a second hole in my left ear at age 17, and a nose piercing at age 35.  It was crazy to figure out that there were EIGHTEEN years between my last 2 piercings… I had doubled my life-length in between!

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Ever since her tiny days, Rissa has been very interested in that store in the mall that has a giant teddy bear sitting in a chair right near the entrance… next to the ear-piercing station.  One time when she was 2 or 3, we were walking past Claire’s on our way to the mall playground, and a family was about to have the second ear of their newborn daughter’s ears pierced.  Both Zach and Rissa were extremely concerned about what was happening, so I explained that the baby was going to get earrings and was scared because it is like getting a shot in your ear.  Zach announced that he was NEVER getting his ears pierced!  Rissa strongly objected to ear piercing because she was so concerned for that baby!  I showed them my earrings and explained the process, and my tiny daughter actually thanked me for not piercing her ears when she was a baby.  Making choices has always been a theme in our home, and she and Zach were both adamant that they should get to make their own choice about piercings!  Rissa said she didn’t want to do that until she decided she was ready.  And just like that, it was settled – Rissa would get her ears pierced when she was ready!  I was thrilled with this, because I wanted my ears pierced for a good 5 years before my mom finally caved when I was 13, and I had no intention of making my daughter wait so long.

Fast forward through the next few years when Rissa eyed that teddy bear in the chair every time we walked past Claire’s on our way to the playground.  She regularly told me that shots were ouchy and she did not want to get shots in her ears!  And that was fine.

Right around her 5th birthday, Rissa told me that she was thinking about getting her ears pierced.  Matt felt that she was too young… I was committed to allowing her to make the decision.  I reviewed the process with her and she said that she was very interested, but not yet ready “in case it was too ouchy.”  Perfect; we are happy to wait!  When she turned 6, I got my nose pierced and all members of our household were profoundly aware of how painful it is to wipe your face with a towel after you get out of the shower and catch your nose ring and yoink it out of your face… and then have to get it back in!  I think watching my healing process put her consideration on hold.  Around Christmas last year, Rissa said, “Mom, why don’t you ever let me get my ears pierced???”  I was flabbergasted!  We talked about it and I told her that Daddy and I knew she would know when she was ready to do it.  She could tell us it was time, and then we would talk about it.  I reminded her that if she didn’t tell us she was ready, then we were happy to wait until she was.  “Oh,” she said.  And then she didn’t mention it for 6 months.

A few weeks ago, despite all of our efforts to hold off until she was ready, I brought up the topic.  I had purchased some really cute, little-girl-appropriate earrings for her at a sale at Christmas because I assumed we’d be doing this soon.  I hoped to give them to her for her 7th birthday, but that would be pointless if she didn’t already have her ears pierced!  So I asked if she was still thinking about it, and she said she was.  A few days later, she talked to me about it and said that she was ready to get her ears pierced and could we go right now?  I told her that we would talk about it some more and that I was sure that Daddy would want to be there.  She smiled and nodded and said we should definitely wait for him.  And then the topic disappeared again.

Today, we all went to the mall to eat lunch before we ran some errands as a family.  As we wandered toward the food court, Rissa casually asked, “Can I get my ears pierced while we are here?  Because, you know, we are HERE…”  Matt and I agreed to talk about it with her and with one another while we ate lunch.  We chatted extensively – I reminded her about the process and that it would hurt for a little bit and then stop hurting.  We also asked her why she wanted to get her ears pierced and reviewed what counted as a good reason and what counted as a bad reason.  (Wanting to wear jewelry in your ears and being responsible enough to keep track of tiny possessions like earrings without losing them are good reasons; doing it because your friends have done it is a bad reason).  She assured us of what we already knew – that she had been thinking about this for a long time and had finally decided she was ready.

We considered having a waiting period where she demonstrated her ability to keep her belongings in their designated places to prove that she can be trusted with small possessions and not leave them around the house or lose them.  Rissa pulled out her excellent negotiation skills and suggested that since she had to wear the first earrings for 6-8 weeks, she could get her ears pierced today and then spend those weeks proving that she was ready to be responsible with more pairs of earrings.  She also stated that if there was a line at the piercing chair or if they did not have a teddy bear for her to hold, she was NOT doing this today.  “I would say, ‘no way!’ and wait until I was 13 if I didn’t get to hold the teddy bear!”  Well, that sounds ridiculously reasonable… how did she even come up with something so agreeable to us???  Matt and I knew that if she could think this through so carefully for all of this time and then come up with her own plan to show how responsible she was, then she was obviously ready!

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Rissa was a SUPERSTAR of courage!  She hardly flinched and was all smiles.  “It hurts, but it’s not too bad.”  She was so brave!

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Nathaniel has now decided that when he grows up, he is going to get HIS ears pierced so that he can have a lollipop!  Zach continues to remain adamant that he will never pierce his ears.  We assured them that there are plenty of opportunities to get lollipops – after haircuts, sometimes after dance class, at parades… no piercings required!  We also talked about how Pastor Allen has an earring (just one), and that some boys get their ear pierced.

“Cool!  But that’s not my thing,” says Zach.
“Me neither,” says Matt.
“Cool, Dad!  That’s another thing that we are the same about!”  Zach is quite proud to be Matt’s mini-me!
“I’m gonna do that when I get big.  I’m gonna go see Raya… I wike her name… and have her do my ears and give me a wowwipop!” says Nathaniel.

I guess we’ll see how many more piercings are in the Olson Five’s future!