My 9yo daughter announced last week that she wanted to get her ears pierced. This from the girl whose daily torture is getting her hair combed, yanking and pulling at her tender scalp. I was like, "Sweetie, you do know that 'pierced' means 'hole through', don't you?" But once she had decided it, she had decided it. Since "most" of her friends (haven't quite determined what "most" actually means in numbers, yet) have pierced ears, she just knew she would survive it too.
So I did a little research among my girlfriends, surveying them about how the process had gone with their daughters. Advice from the been-there-done-that crowd:
- Make sure the "piercer" has been officially trained (look for someone who's been doing it for four years as opposed to four days!)
- Have two people with two guns do it at the same time - if done one at a time, the second ear makes Little Miss a bit anxious about the "sting".
- All girls had their piercings done at Claire's - doesn't mean that Claire's is the best or safest, simply the statistics in this situation
- One mom thought that Libby Lu at the mall might also do ear piercings, but couldn't report results
- When the directions say to "clean well", they mean it. And make sure to follow through with the full six weeks of after-care, otherwise nasty infection can and will ensue.
- Use hypo-allergenic earrings
I was curious about where to go, since I had mine done at a General Practioner's office in the first grade. I asked my mom why she went there, and she said mass ear piercings had really just gotten popular then, and there didn't seem to be any safety code regulations (or at least any that were followed consistently).
Since all the girls had gone to Claire's and lived, my daughter and I went there tonight. I wondered as we pulled in if I should have called ahead to make sure two people were available for the double-gun thing, but my daughter was so excited, I let that sway me.
Nothing bad happened - there was just one person available for the piercing. The girl did a great job and was very patient answering all of my daughter's questions about what it would feel like and all that. Listening to her questions, I knew my daughter wasn't anticipating the reality - the piercer-girl kept referring to it as a "sting" or a "pinch". Dude, poking a needle through skin is a bit more than a pinch, especially for my tender-skinned, low-pain-threshold daughter, but there was no turning back at that point.
3...2....1...Kuh-click! First ear pierced. Open-mouthed gape of shock from my daughter, quickly followed by a face crumple, and tears. Not quite was she was expecting. And still one more ear to go, knowing the reality of the "pinch". I felt so bad for her, and kicked myself for not being the Parent, standing firm and waiting until we found a place with two piercing people available. Always listen to the advice of been-there-done-that girlfriends.
After several minutes of more tears and deep breaths, my daughter said she just wanted to get the other one done. I was proud of her for her bravery in the face of a known pain. That's a big thing for her. Also testimony to how badly she wanted her ears pierced.
3...2...Kuh-click! (I think the piercer-girl clicked early to catch my daughter off guard.) My daughter still cried, but it was done. After some hugs and back-rubbing, we had to go look around the store, tearfully perusing the vast array of accessory options before us (six weeks before us, but still...). We saw some "High School Musical" earrings, and that made things quite a bit better. They were very dangly, and way beyond our newly-pierced weight tolerance, but just knowing they were out there was pretty exciting.
We've been home a few hours now, and my daughter has already called both grandmas and cleaned her ears twice. Her ears still sting, she says, but she's very proud. And suddenly so very grown-up. Prom's probably right around the corner. The perfect setting to show off some fancy "High School Musical" earrings.