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misty watercolored memories

misty watercolored memories

July 4, 2007

Tomorrow I am taking my daughter to get her ears pierced. Something I swore I would never allow before she was at least 10 years old, for a number of reasons.

1) I wanted her to be old enough to take care of them herself.

2) I wanted her to be old enough that she wouldn’t get one of her earrings stuck on something and tear it out of her earlobes disfiguring her for life.

3)As a general rule I think it is good to have milestones to look forward to. Especially in an age when our kids are growing up so fast and 8 yr olds have their own cellphones. Anyone else remember being a teenager and begging for a phone in their bedroom? And NOT GETTING IT!

4) I probably had a fourth point but I can’t remember it now.

5) Because I set this arbitrary line in the sand. Because I said so. Because.

So, why am I changing my mind now?

My daughter keeps talking about it. How much she loves earrings. How she can not wait to get her ears pierced. And how her Grandma has to come with her.

Not to be morbid, but her beloved Grandma is 85 years old. Still in good health, knock on wood. But in 6 years, well, she may not be.

So I decided that creating this memory for my daughter is more important than arbitrary rules. In all likelihood her Grandma will not be around to see her get married, or have babies of her own. All she will have to hold on to into her adulthood will be these snapshots of time with her grandmother. Memories don’t happen in a vacuum they need something to trigger them, to bring them out of the cobwebby recesses of our minds.

I want this for her. When she twists her earrings in her ears, to remember. When she is holding her first baby and he grabs her earrings and yanks, to remember. When she brings her own daughter to get her ears pierced, to remember.

Remember how much she loved her grandma and how much her grandma loved her.

And she’ll tell her children, “Oh, you would have loved my grandma. When I was four years old my mother, my grandmother and I went to a tattoo and body piercing shop to get my ears pierced….”

Yes, there will be photos.

Posted by Chris @ 11:20 pm  

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  1. diatribal says:

    Oh now that will be rich. I understand what you mean by wanting to create memories. Good for you for not making her wait!

  2. Karen@FamilyBriefs.com says:

    Can’t wait to see the pictures! I hope it all goes well. I know we’ll have these same decisions to make for our two girls (now almost 3 and almost 1). They do grow up too fast and we certainly don’t want to rush them (even when they want to rush), but you do want to have nice memories along the way. Good for you to see an opportunity for some wonderful memories!

  3. Lori says:

    You won’t regret that decision. We always lived quite a distance from my husband’s parents. They are both gone now and I am so glad for every moment that my son had with them. Even though the other grandchildren lived closer, I think they knew him best because when we visited, he spent every moment with them. He has some great memories.

  4. Christine says:

    My four-year-old got her ears pierced when she was three. Of course, she’s adopted, and African American. In the area we were in at the time, it was a big cultural thing to pierce AA babies ears. So, I figured I had held out a REALLY long time.

    My other daughter deals with the whole Tourettes and OCD crud. One of her big phobias has been needles, so she thought people who allowed themselves to be poked electively were completely insane … until she was eight, and started on a new med that calmed some of the anxiety.

    She has since had “picking” issues, and was always (ALWAYS) aware of her earrings. They have grown over and she has no plans to ever get them pierced again.

    My four-year-old loves wearing her earrings, and has never had so much as a little redness.

    Go figure.

  5. KathyB says:

    I know before I had children I said things like “when I am a parent I will never” I will make my kids wait until “insert random time frame” before I would ever let them do that. I applaud your understanding that this is their lives too. I am always trying to remember that.

  6. mary eileen says:

    My daughter was four when she got her ears pierced. We did not have grandma with us– but it is still one of her happiest memories. We walked around the mall afterwards and she kept squeezing my hand telling me “thank you mommy, I love you mommy” She never had a problem taking care of them–I’m sure your daughter will be fine. And just think an earring collection won’t take up nearly the amount of space that a shoe collection does!

  7. Heather says:

    My grandmother went with me when I got mine pierced, I was 6. The lady who pierced them told me it wouldnt hurt. She did the first one and I jumped off the chair and hid underneath her booth and wouldnt come back out. My mom told me it took over an hour of coaxing me back into that chair. My gramma loved to tell that story at family get togethers. Now she is gone, and I hang on to that memory of us.Sometimes when I put on a new pair of earings, I think of that moment and my grandmother reaching for me under that booth, and my heart smiles. Cant wait to see the pictures! :)

  8. Anna says:

    Chris, you are a compassionate mother. I hope your daughter will realize the depth of your commitment to make her childhood a memorable one.

    She will not come to that realization until her twenties. We are currently struggling with the desire of our teenage daughter to bore a hole in her abdomen. Currently we are the meanest parents in the universe who understand nothing.

  9. Jennifer says:

    Damnit you made me cry again.

  10. goodsandwich says:

    Sometimes these decisions re-make themselves, don’t they?

  11. R says:

    Oh I had the same situation a few months back. After getting my 25 yo DD’s ears peirced at age 5 and the numerous problems she had with them after I SWORE my next daughter would wait until her teens. Yet there we were at Libby Lu with her bestest friend in the whole wide world who was getting ready to move over 1000 miles away and I CAVED! She was 7. It is definatly a very sweet memory, I totally understand.

    One thing…I assume since you are going to a tat parlor you’re getting them done with needles? That is the one thing I do regret is using that plastic gun. My DD’s ears did not heal well and after months of tears and pain she decided to let them close and re-do later. Must be something in our blood! After doing much research I am convinced the needle is much better…nice clean hole, no crcushing of tissues and apparently mush less pain, if any!

    Good luck! Oh…and does she know they make adorable earings that look like SHOES?!

  12. Carrie says:

    So sweet. I can’t wait to see pictures. My DD wants earrings, and I just can’t bring myself to do it. I know they will get one done and due to the moment of pain, she won’t let them do the other one. Good luck!

  13. Karen says:

    Sometimes, as a parent, you have to change the “rules.” I think your rational for changing your mind makes perfect sense. Let her remember with every ear ring twirl that grandma WAS there instead of “mom made me wait and grandma was already gone.” :)

  14. Anne says:

    Happy 4th of July! Kaylie got her ears pierced at 7 almost 8 years old. It took awhile to get her into the routine to clean them every single night but now she just does it without being told

  15. Amy says:

    Sometimes parenting is about compromising, and I think this is a perfect compromise…

  16. Lily Calla's Mama says:

    Hi Chris! I can totally relate to every reason you listed for wanting your daughter to wait to get her ears pierced. I had the exact same list. But shortly before Lily turned eight, she decided that was what she wanted for her birthday. So, after discussing the responsibility that goes along with pierced ears, we went and did it. And she took excellent care of her ears and her earrings so I have no regrets.

    *IMPORTANT* If you can, please try to get your daughter’s ears pierced simultaneously!! That, and you might want to consider giving her a dose of Tylenol/Advil beforehand. A shot of whiskey couldn’t hurt you either. ;)

    Good luck, have fun, and I look forward to seeing pictures! Btw, I don’t comment often on your blog, but I read it EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I’m a single mom of one so I love hearing about your big family. Plus, you just crack me up. You’re a talented writer and your entries always make me smile. Hope you all have a great day! :)


  17. canary says:

    I caved when some poor eyesighted folks started refering to one of my girls as a ‘he’. We had many problems with the healing. When the next daughter wanted her ears done a babysitter,(who has many tats and piercings)told us to toss out the stuff they give you and to use Bactine instead. #2 never had a single problem. Great stuff and I’ll bet you already have some.

  18. Jessica says:

    That’s so sweet! You’re making me teary eyed :) I can’t wait to see the pictures!

  19. Tal says:

    Great post Chris. I think taking her to a tat/piercing parlour is a great idea, as piercings done with needles hurt less and heal so much easier and faster. I would strongly advise against the tylenol though, as it can encourage bleeding.

    Good luck!

  20. tuesday says:

    My four year old daughter wants her ears pierced also. She already picked out the 4 carat diamons earrings she wants!

  21. Katie says:

    As Karen said, rules are made to be broken! I have a lot of fond memories of my grandma (and she didn’t live to see my high school graduation) so I think this is a very wise decision. Can’t wait to see the pictures!

  22. peepnroosmom says:

    How sweet.
    I remember having to wait till I was 8 years old to get mine pierced. She will surely remember this forever and grandma will always be attached to that memory. Good luck!

  23. Christine says:

    I distictly remember going to the mall with my mother, GRANDMOTHER, and sister and getting our ears pierced before going on a big vacation to California. I was 8 and my grandmother decided we should have them done.

    My father had a nervous breakdown when we arrived home with tiny little gold studs in our ears but we were ecstatic!

    PS - I disagree on the needles vs. gun debate. Ask them to do both ears at once - that way your daughter doesn’t end up with one pierced ear.

  24. CathyC says:

    For cultural reasons, my daughter had her ears pierced at 9 months, and I was even younger. But I just love hearing these memory stories from my girlfriends about when they got their ears pierced. So nice!

  25. tanya says:

    I agree about the memories. I took my oldest daughter when she was 5, before she started kindergarden. She got her first ‘real’ harcut at a salon, got her ears pierced and we bought new school clothes and supplies all in one big girl day.

    That same daughter had to have the back of her post earing removed when it got stuck in the hole. I am not really explaining that well but, I would suggest loop earings or get the backs with the clear plastic circle that stops the back from being pulled through the hole.
    And have them do both ears at once. What a great idea that is! Happy memories

  26. The Wooden Porch says:

    I keep telling my 4 yo that she can have them done when she’s 5, like me. She’s been looking forward to it since she was 2.

  27. Elena says:

    Now that’s a worthy reason for changing that arbitrary line! Can’t wait to see the pics!

  28. Monique says:

    I still remember when our gils got theirs pierced.. around the same age ..maybe 6 ..I know in Grade one thay had their little pearls:)

    I too look forward to the photos..all your children are so adorable~
    I sent a link to your notes about getting into a big bed to one of our DD’s..Lucas will be stepping up and out soon…

  29. Heather says:

    I have always had that same arbitrary rule and you are making me reconsider. My four year old daughter will be sending you a thank you card in the event I change my mind! Congrats to your sweet girl! Can’t wait to see pics!

  30. burnurcomputer says:

    I had my ears pierced when I was five. Now I should tell you that when I was four I had a safety pin half through my earlobe because I wanted to have pierced ears! My very wise mother told me that I could have them done when I was 5 (for my birthday). I remember going with her to a place that is now closed- old mall- and picking out the studs. I remember sitting on ths stool and my mom holding my hand. Then Click!!!! It was done. Now a mother myself I have no girls to share this with…….but I can’t wait to go with all my girlfriend to get thier girls ears pierced!!!!!

  31. Daisy says:

    My mom kept telling me that I couldn’t get mine pierced until she got hers done — meaning it wasn’t going to happen. Well, she caved. We went in together, and she went in first so she couldn’t be blamed for “changing her mind.”

  32. a happier girl says:

    Rules are made to be bent.

  33. zookeeper says:

    It took my daughter 4 tries before she was successful. She chickened out big time each time. Of course, this is the child who at 8 I still have to pin down for her immunizations- she has a big fear of pain. I’m happy to say that one year later, her ears are both still pierced and she’s stopped complaining how it hurts to change the earrings.

  34. nabbalicious says:

    That is sweet, and so wise of you to want to do that for her! I can’t wait to see the pics.

  35. Tiffany says:

    How sweet! My 4 year old had been talking about earrings forever, finally last Sunday she said “I want my ears pierced…today.” So off we went. Just the girls…me, my ten year old and Addie. She was very brave and now she tells everyone to look at her “pink ice!” My ten year old didn’t ask to get her ears pierced until her 9th birthday, I thought she would never ask! Have fun and enjoy the moment.

  36. kate says:

    I think that this is going to be a great memory and how wonderful she wants to share it with her mom and her grandma!

  37. Karly says:

    A TATTOO PARLOR? Oh Lord. I just took my daughter to Wal-Mart! LOL!

  38. CaliforniaGrammy says:

    Boy-oh-boy, do I ever know about those “…cobwebby recesses of our minds.” What a precious memory you are allowing to be created a few years early, but who’s counting? And it’ll be something special for Grandma to be part of. Look forward to the pictures—probably some with fear in her eyes and then the big smiley ones to follow!

  39. Susan says:

    My daughter was going to have to wait, too, but at 3 she became obsessed with the whole earrings thing. So, she got them pierced.

    The only bad part? I called ahead to make sure they had two guns so they could pierce them at precisely the same moment. Because I knew once she had one done, she would flip out and not live through another.

    All was good. Two clerks and two piercing guns in place. 1-2-3-GO! One ear pierced. The other? The FREAKING GUN JAMMED.

    Do you know how hard it was to hold her down and get the second ear pierced? Oh, my Lord. It was 4 years ago and I’m not sure the clerks, or the shoppers’ ears, have yet recovered.

  40. Owlhaven says:

    My girls got their ears pierced at 5, 3, 3, and 2.

    The only one I regretted doing so soon was the two year old. She has sensitive ears and pitched utter fits when I cleaned them. The other girls were no trouble, though, and soooo cute. Once she gets the studs out, get the screwback kind of earrings that are good quality– look for something really low profile and smooth-edged so they won’t catch on stuff. After trying several different ones, I found some cute butterflies that worked really well for my two year old– they were for $25 on Amazon….
    Mary, mom to many

  41. t in hd says:

    If ever there was a reason for breaking your own rules, Chris, that was it. I hope you have a great day tomorrow. I look forward to hearing all about it.

  42. Jennifer says:

    My sister had thought she would wait until her dd was ten. But her mother in law kept saying that when Abby got her ears pierced she would get hers pierced as well (for the first time in her 70’s!) So this past spring when the grandmother was visiting they went and got both of their ears pierced. What memories! Good luck!

  43. Salsaqueen says:

    I was 20 when I got mine pierced! Mom’s rule was, “So long as you live under MY roof, no ears pierced.” She “knew” we (2 younger sisters and me) wouldn’t take care of them. I think all 3 of us went to the ear piercing place first thing when we moved out! THEN mom went and got her ears done! Guess who’s got infected? Yup, mom’s! Poetic justice I say.

    Good for you for bending the rules, Chris. What a wonderful memory for your daughter.

  44. Rebecca says:

    Great post! And I want to applaud you for having a professional piercer do it instead of a girl in the mall with a piercing gun.

  45. Lisa says:

    “Oh, you would have loved my grandma. When I was four years old my mother, my grandmother and I went to a tattoo and body piercing shop to get my ears pierced….”

    “….and I got these cute diamond studs and Grandma got a Playboy bunny tattooed on her right shoulder by a guy named Tank. Aaaaah, the memories!” Tee hee!

    Can’t wait to see the pics!

  46. Jodi says:


    We did all of our girls at the age of 2 for different reasons but mostly because at 2 they don’t want to change their earrings daily, or hourly. But when they become teenagers who wants to wait 6 whole weeks to change earrings?

    Have fun!

  47. Kelly says:

    Having just recently lost my 90yo grandma, I wish that I had insured a few more memories for my own children with her. Good for you!!

  48. MamaLady says:

    I too do a lot of things with and for my husband’s parents because they are in their late 80s.
    My son would love to have a more “active” relationship with them, but being that their 80 and all and the fact that they are 4 hours away makes it tough.
    I envy your daughter and her desire to be with her grandmother. I can’t wait to see the pictures.

  49. Melessa says:

    From the outset of this post I was all set to comment, which I rarely do. I was planning to tell you that I, too, once caved with my daughter and let her get them done at age four even though I had to wait until I was ten. I was going to tell you how she eventually got an earring stuck in her ear, that a doctor had to fix it, and that she will not be getting them re-pierced until she can drive herself to the Mall. But then, you said “grandmother” and “memories” and “might not be with us” and it was all I could do not to stop crying. My sweet MIL who made up for all my mother’s deficiencies and whom I adored died quite suddenly when my oldest daughter (the one of which I speak in this reply) was 6 weeks old. Get the ears pierced. And hand me a tissue while you’re at it.

  50. Sock Girl says:

    Oh how very sweet! Good luck with the ear piercing.

  51. Christina says:

    That is so sweet :) All teary now, remembering my 8th birthday - my mom told me I had to wait until I was 10 but surprised me a week before my 8th birthday with pierced earrings.

  52. Jen says:

    My daughter, who will be 5 next month, is so not interested in getting her ears pierced. She has; however, started a list of ideas for her first tattoo. She completely understands she needs to be AT LEAST 18 before she gets one, but that doesn’t stop her from finding things she likes.

    I guess our children want to be so much like us. I don’t have my ears pierced, but I do sport tattoos (all hidden under clothing).

  53. liz says:

    I’m all verklempt.

  54. MrsFierceShoes says:

    PLEASE GO HERE http://www.namaii.com/suck/ AND READ THIS FIRST. IT’S SO GROSS! DON’T GET PIERCED AT THE MALL!!! I found out about this when my husband was getting a tattoo.

  55. Jeanne says:

    My Grandmother taught me how to sew a hem. She happened to be in our kitchen when I asked my mother show me how. They’re both gone now and my mother taught me tons of stuff but that’s one thing my Grandmother gets the credit for. (both execellent seamstress). I’ll remember that forever.

    And I know about BIG families - my mother was one of 13
    my father was one of 6. I am one of 10.

  56. Di says:

    You’re absolutely doing the right thing (not that you need some random stranger on the internet telling you that). It is wonderful that you and your daughter and her Grandma will have that memory. I hope it goes wonderfully for all of you.

  57. jane says:

    This is so lovely!

    And it reminds me of my story: my overly-strict father would not allow me, among many other things, to get my ears pierced. (Ladies, he said, did not pierce their ears.) This was one restriction that I didn’t mind because I didn’t care about pierced ears.

    Until I was 20, that is, and away at school. So when I went home for Thanksgiving I explained to him (with quaking knees and quivering belly–my dad did not allow confrontation) that I had decided to pierce my ears because I liked earrings better than necklaces, bracelets, and rings since earrings didn’t get in my way, and since almost all the earrings being sold were for pierced ears.

    I can still hardly believe what happened next. He agreed that my reasoning made sense, and then, he went with me to the mall to make sure that they lined up the holes correctly! And to top it all off, he bought me a little silk lined travel case for me that held 6 pairs of earrings. I threw the case away years ago when it got old and started fraying, and have always regretted it. I think it was the best gift I ever received.

  58. Gift of Green says:

    Ten, Schmen. Rules, especially your own, are meant to be broken.

  59. Bronnie says:

    I think that’s a gorgeous story!
    Good idea, you have to let some things slip! :)

  60. RM in MA says:

    My mother, who when I was young, said that it was “inappropriate” for girls younger than 16 to get their ears pierced. When I was 35 she asked my permission to take my five year old to have her ears pierced (I was fine with this), go figure… My grandmother took me to buy my first pair of “good” earrings. Grandmothers + their grand-daughters =
    the makings of great stories and lots of love.

  61. kailani says:

    Congratulations! You have been nominated for the 2007 Bloggy Hoss Elections. Stop by and check it out!

    An Island Life

  62. Mama Zen says:

    What a wonderful idea! She’ll have a memory that will last forever.

  63. Heather B. says:

    She’s going to look so freaking cute. Not that she’s not cute already but GAH! I’m picturing it now and it’s adorable. Good luck!

  64. Anna says:

    My grandmother died of cancer when I was three, and one of my only memories of her that doesn’t involve her being sick in bed was going downtown with her and my mom to get my ears pierced! I loved your post, and I’m glad you made that call.

  65. Lena says:

    For the love of GOD, make sure two girls do both ears at the same time. The end.

  66. AuthorMomWithDogs says:

    Definitely. Make the most of building Grandma memories while you still can.

  67. kathy says:

    That sounds so sweet! Pikey wanted his ear pierced forever, but I only made him wait a year. He got his down here in a tatoo parlor by a VERY pregnant mama on his 9th birthday. Ellen (five) has been talking about ear piercing for a while now. I might not make her wait a year. But we’re back at the same place that Pike had his done, so who knows.

    How’s she doing with them now? Pike said his hurt (at 9) ALL DAY LONG. He only cried a little.

  68. Mary W says:

    My granny was with me too. I remember that. My sister and I got them done together. Then my mom and granny took us to lunch.

  69. Brendy says:

    I got my ears pierced with my grandma! I was 8, she was in her 60’s and piercing her ears for the very first time. Happy memories.

  70. Amy says:

    I wasn’t allowed to get my ears pierced until I was 7 and I cried like a baby. I took my daughter when she was four and she’s fine, and by 8 doesn’t even realize they’re there anymore.

    What a great memory for your daughter. The thought brought tears to my eyes.

  71. Melissa says:

    This is an awesome treat. One of my favourite and possibly first memories is going with my Gran to getting my ears pierced some 25 years ago. She held my hand and told me I was so brave and then o’course helped me pick up my very first pair of earrings.