Monday, October 17, 2011

This weekend's earring saga

After repeated requests, last December I let N get her ears pierced.  She had been expressing interest, but I was torn.  So I did what any responsible mom would do:  I did a highly inaccurate Facebook opinion poll of friends whose daughters had their ears pierced.

The initial weeks post-ear piercing were fine.  N let me turn her earrings without a problem and apply the antiseptic.

After a few months had passed I asked her if she wanted me to change her earrings.  She did, but when I tried to take the starter earrings out she would cry and say she was scared.

In June, when she had her tonsils removed, the surgical staff took her earrings out once she was unconscious because even with Versed in her system she wasn't relaxed enough to let me take the studs out.  Pa brought her some inexpensive earrings (that have easier to remove clasps) when he visited and with her still feeling the effects of all the anesthesia, I was able to get them in no problem.

She swam all summer long and so eventually the cheaper earrings started turning.  I asked her if she would let me remove them and put new ones in but she was too scared.

All indications are that she, too, has the anxiety gene.

Saturday morning she came to me upset, asking me to get her hair untangled from behind her ear.  When I looked to see what the issue was, I saw that the reason her hair was stuck to the back of her earring was from caked blood.  I told her we had to get the earring out because I couldn't tell from where the blood came or why it came at all.

It was at this point that D and I had to sit on N, with her flailing and screaming and crying, just to remove her earrings and get the bloody ear cleaned up.  

(I seem to remember that on Saturday morning N was wrestling with her brothers in the pack-N-play, so I think one or both boys kicked her in the ear or landed on her ear or did something to traumatize the ear which led to the blood.)

We left the earrings out all day and night Saturday.  Almost all of Sunday was spent with N attempting to put the earrings in her ears, barely pushing them in due to her fear, and then crying at the prospect of her earring holes closing up.  But she refused to let me attempt to get them in.

This was one of those times when a mother feels completely helpless, partly aggravated, partly guilty, and in need of high and multiple doses of Excedrin.

This morning, N tried again unsuccessfully to get the earrings in herself, which means she sat all weepy and mopey at the kitchen table, choking down her biscuits.

Yesterday I talked to her about how having earrings is supposed to be fun.....taking them in and out, buying new ones, changing earrings to match outfits.  And if she can't do it and gets upset, or if Mommy has to do it and Daddy has to hold her down, then it isn't much fun for anyone.  I told her that maybe Mommy had made a mistake by letting her get her ears pierced if she is so scared....that maybe when she is 13 or 14, we can try this again when she feels less afraid about handling the earrings.

This morning I talked to her about the phrase "no pain, no gain," and that to get nearly anything worthwhile in life a person has to suffer a bit or give up something he or she wants for awhile. I told her about how Daddy and I waited 18 months to get married so he could finish his dissertation and we could save money to buy a house.  I told her about how sick I was when I first got pregnant with her and her brothers and then how I labored with her and had surgical births with the boys.

And then when she agreed to let me try to get the earrings in, I asked her whether what she was feeling was actual pain or just a sensation.  And mostly she was just feeling the sensation of the earrings going through the skin.

The gods were kind to me this morning because with her holding Daddy's hand and me "talking her down" we were able to get both earrings in.

I expect this is just one of a zillion experiences of my children's that I will learn a heck of a lot from too.


Giselle said...

I got my ears pierced when I was 7, and refused to let my mother change my earrings. The skin grew around the back and we had to have a nurse cut them out. Needless to say, when I got them re-pierced at age 11, I was much more diligent about taking care of them ;P

Good for you for persisting in getting them out and for helping her figure it out. Hopefully after taking them in and out a few times, she'll get used to the sensation and won't be so freaked out ;) Earrings should be fun!

Bethany said...

I've been considering getting Elsa's ears pierced soon. Would you recommend?

My sister had a similar fright with her earrings as a 2nd grader. She actually had the hair/earring/blood thing, too. My mom took her to the ped. to get it out, and it turned out she had an infection! She waited until 4th grade to get that ear re-pierced.

I rarely wear earrings now, maybe for a two week stint every other month, but I think somehow it would be great to get her ears done now, not later.

CARRIE said...

In general my feeling is to not do anything "cosmetic" unless a child can give some kind of N pestering me about wanting earrings (even though, obviously, she didn't totally "get it." This is why the boys are not circumcised and why I am generally not a fan of getting baby's ears pierced (the choking hazard is another thing even though I know logically this is kinda remote.)

My 2 cents, although it is certainly worth much less. ;)