For several weeks we have been asking Claire what she wants for her birthday. Her 4th birthday is next month. At first we got "my cinderella party". After a few times of explaining she got to still have her party we just wanted to know what present she might want she finally understood what we were asking. Randomly one day after we had been out running errands she comes to me and says "mommy, I want my ears pierced for my birthday". This surprised me a bit because it isn't something we have discussed much. When she was a baby Eric and I discussed piercing her ears then or waiting until she was older. Eric really wanted to wait until she was older and could make the decision for herself. I was indifferent at the time, but ended up being really glad we decided to wait. My parents waited until I was old enough to ask and they felt I was responsible enough to take care of them, I got them for my 10th birthday. When she asked about getting them for her birthday I initially assumed that tomorrow she would be asking for something else and didn't think much of it. Well, a few days went on and she consistently said "I want my ears pierced for my birthday". I finally said "talk to your Daddy, it's up to him if he thinks you are old enough". Eric and I discussed it and surprisingly he said he was ok with it. You see this is a big time Daddy's little girl and I truly expected him to say no to anyone putting a hole in his daughters body. The biggest thing we both wanted was her to fully understand as best she could at least at almost 4 what all was entailed. She understood some of it as she had witnessed her friend get hers done several months prior. I really thought she might be traumatized from that as her little friend screamed quite a bit through the procedure. Kids are resilient though and after a few weeks went by she quit talking about it being scary.
On to the whys of why we took her where we did. As with anything I am a researcher. I know what you are thinking, "seriously researching ear piercing". Yes I know I am crazy. Initially my research was to find a recommended place locally of where to take her. In my search I came accross this article http://time.com/1410/why-i-took-my-7-year-old-to-a-tattoo-parlor/
I was intrigued and did some additional research into the subject and was sold that we would be finding a reputable professional piercer to pierce my (almost) 4 year old ears. Another article I read http://community.babycentre.co.uk/post/a94175/piercing_gun_vs_piercing_needle
I also found some good YouTube videos showing young girls close in age to Claire getting their ears done using a needle. Claire was super intrigued and watched videos over and over. I really wanted her to understand the whole process the best she could to hopefully eliminate any crying and having to hold her down. I made sure she understood that she had to sit really still and if she cried after the first one I had no problem leaving her looking like a pirate with one earring in. She said she would sit still and not cry. We didn't tell her it wouldn't hurt. We said it was similar to a shot and would feel like a small pinch (she didn't cry last fall when she got her flu shot so I was optimistic). Eric and I both discovered that for a few weeks we had both been going around randomly pinching her ears so she would understand. What great parents we are pinching our daughter' sears.
At first I naively thought all I had to do was find a reputable place and voila we would show up when we were ready. I researched places and read reviews. Claire then dropped the bomb that she HAD to have a girl pierce her ears. Uh oh, more research to see which place had a female piercer and what hours they worked and who was willing to pierce someone that young. I called 2 shops that had a female piercer and both told me 7 was the youngest they would pierce someone. Bummer. Did some more research and found a reputable shop that even advertised something along the lines of "mom approved". Their shop pictures where clean and wouldn't leave either if us scared or seeing images we shouldn't. Bingo they have pierced as young as 3 months. Only problem, male piercer. Talked to Claire again and she initially said she would wait until she was 7 and could have a girl do it. She then started asking for a picture of the guy and he was a little intimidating to look at I will admit. Huge gauge earrings, random facial piercings, lots of tattoos. We had a great talk of people's differences and how we don't judge others just because they look different. Up until today we had fully planned on making the 45 minute drive to this shop. I know swimming isn't recommended with new piercings so I knew we needed to wait until pool season was over or almost over. I also knew I wanted to get it done before she starts school on Tuesday to hopefully have some of the soreness out. Yesterday we spent most of the day at the pool and even packed our lunch to stay and play. Even though we didn't have specific plans of taking her tonight something told me this would be our last big swim of the summer. I knew we had a busy weekend ahead of us and Friday evening would be our only chance before school started. Claire has been hounding us to take her everyday so when I mentioned it to her she perked up. Eric got home and by that time driving 45 minutes wasn't feasible with dinner, bath, and bedtime. On a whim I called one more local (as in 5 minutes down the road) shop to see if they would pierce someone her age. They said yes and even made sure I was aware they did not use a traditional piercing gun. Only problem is the female piercer was off all weekend. Claire had a choice to make. Do it now or wait for the girl. She said for several hours she wanted to wait for the girl. Then suddenly out of no where she announced "I do my ears tonight". I know my daughter well enough that when she decides she is ready for something she is ready and it's time to do it. We drove down to the shop and the guy had just started in a tattoo so it would be about an hour. Claire picked her earrings out (rainbow sparkle of course) and we went and ate her favorite Mexican food complete with ice cream. When we came back we got to meet the piercer. A clean cut young guy with nothing scary just a few arm tattoos (which Claire commented on when we left "Mommy he had drawings on his arms"). His personality was a little lacking, but he was kind and polite. Claire started to minorly freak out when I sat her on the table ( very similar to a doctors office). The guy told me I could sit next to her or even sit her in my lap if I wanted. Instantly Claire calmed down and on we went. My baby girl rocked it! Not even a flinch. The needle was actually really cool and was hollow so the stud actually slid down the needle so it went in the hole without ever having to touch her ear with hands. She is so proud of her earrings and kept running to the mirror to check them out. She told me when it was over "mommy, I sat really still and did a good job". She celebrated with a sucker from the place when we left.
I'll admit I ended up be the nervous one. Not because of the procedure, but because this to me is such a big girl step. My baby is turning 4! I can't even call her a toddler anymore. She is a big girl that I am so proud of. Makes me sad how quickly time has flown by. She is beautiful inside and out and loves to laugh. We have the best time together. She loves to shop and shoe shopping is her favorite. I know this is the first of many "big girl" experiences, but this momma is a little sad that her baby is growing up.