The question started appearing last year... she has some friends at school who have their ears pierced and she started to become aware of what I had dangling off my ears. When we walked by a hairdresser, beauticians or pharmacy we would say, do you want to get your ears pierced today and she would say, uh... no, or I want to do it when Gran is with us (or Dad, depending on who wasn't with us at the time). So we'd just keep walking... no biggie.
Sometimes Chynna would ask if it hurt to have your ears pierced. I had my ears done when I was about 10 or 11, so I can't remember what it was like. I'd take a wild stab (haha) and suggest that it did hurt, but it's not like I have any mental scarring from the ordeal. But what do you tell a (then) four year old? I couldn't lie - so I said, I don't remember, but I guess it would "sting". She would screw up her little face, as she's not particularly tempted by anything that stings - smacks, bees, needles... ears pierced.
There is a lot to be said for getting a baby's ears pierced, when they are only weeks old. Lets face it... it is probably going to make the baby cry, but they won't remember it for long and well, they are saved any of the anxiety that goes along with the event when they are older. I also like the idea that a baby doesn't even know it has ears, thus it probably isn't going to spend any huge amount of time purposefully playing with the new foreign objects sticking out from it's ears - thus avoiding the prolonged process of infection.
Not long after Chynna's 5th birthday, we arrived at school to discover that Chynna's best friend's younger sister had her ears pierced. Special K (as she is known) was around five months at the time. Chynna's first question was, did Special K cry? The answer was no, as they put some numbing cream on her ears first. That was that... she said, mummy I want to get my ears pierced. I said, oh when, like this afternoon after school, thinking she would say no when Daddy can come. But to my surprise she agreed. Which was funny, because her Daddy couldn't have been further away. He was in the north of WA on a work trip for a couple of days.
After school, I didn't mention anything about ears. I figured that I'd let the little sausage approach me if she remembered and really wanted her ears done. I thought if I didn't mention it, then I might just save myself an unnecessary trip to the shops. Except, she bounded out of class and asked when we were going!
Chynna chose a little pair of pink flower earrings exactly like Special K's. Then the very young beautician... yeah what’s with that - young girls puncturing young girls ears? I did look around for a much more experienced elderly woman to attend to Chynna's ears but there was only more young girls... (whoa there nelly, does that mean... I'm getting old?) Then the very young beautician applied the numbing cream and told Chynna, not to touch it - good test for the real deal and to come back in half an hour. We trotted off to Gloria Jeans, for a babyccino and a vanilla soy latte because what else would you do for half an hour?
It's quite surprising how long half an hour can take when your five year old is both eager and anxious about something. We wandered back to the shop. I really wanted to say, you can back out if you want sweetheart, but didn't. I was quite sure Chynna would burst into tears and not go through with it; in fact I would have put money on it. The chances of her being a brave warrior princess were definitely so small in my mind that she didn't need me adding to her anxiety.
While the two beauticians drew dots on Chynna's ears and lined up the piercing guns I wondered what was going through Chynna's mind. Do five years have self-talk? Was her mind blank? Was she telling herself it wouldn't hurt or it would hurt? Nothing on her face gave whatever she was thinking away. The girls counted – one, two, three and then pressed the triggers. They made a loud dull clicking noise and an "ouch" escaped from Chynna's mouth, followed by clenched teeth and wide eyes. Maybe 20 seconds later she took a breath and asked for a mirror. It was quite amusing in hindsight.
She managed not to tell her Dad on the phone that night and the next that she had her ears pierced. It took a bit of coaching, but even if she had let it slip, I’m not sure he wouldn’t have believed her anyway. When he did come home, Chynna forgot she had something important to tell him. She was just pretty darned excited to have her Dad home. He noticed, but played along until she remembered. He was quite surprised and questioned me thoroughly… in case I had held her down or something!!
Six weeks later, with no infections, Chynna was all ready to change her earring for the first time. Now this is something I do remember. It was tricky for my Mum to push the sleeper earrings into my ears and it hurt. Thus I was not looking forward to changing Chynna's earrings. She desperately wanted it done, but was freaking out at the same time. When I did get my fingers on her earrings, I couldn't get them undone anyway. I pulled and pulled and Chynna got more and more upset, so I gave up, suggesting we pay a visit to the young beauticians.
Later that day, the young beautician insisted that all I needed to do was get a good grip and yank the earrings apart. She offered to do it for me, but Chynna was not at all up for that. I thought this may have been the end of the earring changing rigmarole... but it was not. The following morning she asked me to do it again. This time the brave warrior princess curled up on the couch in a tight ball whenever I got within five meters of her. Eventually she got up onto a stool and the first earring came out with a big jerk and some wailing (from both of us). The second earring was trickier and it actually broke off, but at least it was out. Her ears looked good, clearly the thought of pain had mostly kept fiddling fingers away from her ears.
The brave warrior princess was beside herself at the thought of having to put new earrings in. It didn't matter how I explained it, ie the hole is already there... she refused to sit still and when she finally did she howled loudly like I was about to cut off her ear. Eventually we got the new sparkly earrings in and at school she proudly showed them off to whoever would listen.
It's been a couple of weeks now and the brave warrior princess hasn't asked to have her earrings changed again. Even after her bestie turned up at school with a cute dangly pair. Maybe we’ll just start an earring collection for when she can change her own earrings in ten years time instead.