Rite of Passage

My baby got her ears pierced this morning. We had discussed it a few times over the past year or so. I didn't have it done when she was a baby because I figured, well, it's her body and she should be the one to decide if she wants holes in her head or not. I'm not planning to leave other decisions to her at this age, mind you. I think we'll mostly limit it to "what do you want to wear to school tomorrow?" and "do you want pancakes or waffles?" In any case, she decided she was ready for earrings so I took her to Claire's this morning (motto: ear piercing is free when you buy our outrageously expensive starter kit!). The main thing we had talked about in advance was that once one ear was pierced, she had to have the other one done. I had heard horror stories about kids freaking out after the first shot from the piercing gun and then refusing to endure another. She assured me that she was ready for the whole shebang. She picked out the Hello Kitty set.

She started out feeling pretty brave but once the store manager started assembling the gun and pulling out all of the supplies (while I was signing a waiver promising not to sue if my kid's ears fell off after we left the premises), her anxiety increased.  She clutched a teddy bear that they keep on hand to soothe nervous piercees. I held her hand while the Claire's lady marked A's ears and then lined up the needle. In the blink of an eye, the right ear was pierced. The left ear was done a second later. The kid seemed torn about whether or not to cry. She sat there stunned for a moment, and then decided to proceed with the tears. I hugged her and wiped her tears and attempted to quiet the voice in my head advising me that I am a terrible mother to have allowed this.

Moments later, the tears were gone and I'd somehow agreed to buy her some lip gloss conveniently located at her eye level, right next to the cash register. She couldn't wait to go home and show her dad. "I bet he won't even recognize you!" I told her.

She has informed me that she is practically grown-up now because she has pierced ears, can tie her shoes, and, most importantly, can snap her fingers. "I still can't whistle, though," she said with a frown. So near and yet so far.