Pierced Ears and Things (*hopefully not other things)
I remember begging to have my ears pierced. The arbitrary age set by my mother was 12. I was young for my grade, so that put me at 8th grade. Needless to say, I was last among my friends to have it done. Yes, it was special since I waited so long. But was there a real reason to torture me?
I use the word "torture" because I'm pretty sure that's how it felt, especially as I looked around my school year after year feeling naked without my birthstone stud covering my earlobes. I would take an educated guess that most tweens feel similarly tortured by their parents for just about any other restriction we put on them.
"Why twelve? What's the point? What magical thing happens when I'm twelve?!"
- Me, 9 - 11yo ('80s)
There was no point, nor was there magic. Control was the point. My mother had all sorts of random ages chosen for me:
- Sleepovers at 10 years
- Pierced Ears at 12 years
- Make-up at 13 years
- Dating allowed at 16
There were others but I can tell you that belly piercing and tattoos were not even on the table. The funniest thing is, the one thing that actually happened on her timeline was the pierced ears. Everything else I finagled or snuck or lied about to keep up with my peers. Not a shining example to my children. But that's between us.
My girls have watched several of their friends get their ears pierced at various ages from birth to ten years old. Each time they see a friend with newly pierced ears they tell me about it, so it's on their radar. But they're not asking for it yet. And after being a parent for this long, here's my point of view:
I DON'T CARE.
Honestly - I think there was about five minutes once when I said, "You can have your ears pierced when you're ten." That was like an Ode to My Mom. I backpedaled immediately when I realized that, and also realized in that moment that there will be bigger, more important discussions to have. Two pinpoint holes in their ears won't kill any of us. So I've told them both that when they're ready to a). sit still in a chair while a big-ass (I'm paraphrasing) needle is shot into your ear and b). take care of their new wounds even if they're infected, I will take them to Claire's and be done with it.
Because soon there will be: periods and short skirts and makeup and boys and all the other crap. So pierced ears?
PLEASE. Give me the needle right now and I'll do it, old-school.
Pick your battles, parents. Know the small, recognize them for what they are - rites of passage. The bigger, looming milestones in their lives are heading their way and perhaps the sting of a needle in an ear helps prepare them in the tiniest of ways.