About a year ago, Sassy really started to pay attention to my earrings, asking me lots of questions about what they were, how I was able to wear them, and so on. She's ask me if she could have earrings, and my response was always Talk to your Daddy.
Soon after, Tyler proclaimed that she was not allowed to get her ears pierced until she was 13. At this point, our opinions were deeply divided. I was fine with waiting until she could make the decision herself, but I have never been one for arbitrary age limits on privileges. Maybe that's because I did not grow up in a household where you had to be a certain age to do things, but rather had to display certain characteristics or prove prudent responsibility.
A few months ago, we were at the mall, and Sassy and I walked into Claire's. She was fascinated by all the trinkets and jewelry, and her attention was soon drawn to the little chair in the corner of the store.
"What's that stool for, mama?" she asked.
"That is where you sit to get your ears pierced," I told her.
Her eyes lit up like shooting stars. "Can I get my ears piered, mama?"
I explained to her that Mommy and Daddy had to agree to this, and so it would have to wait for another day.
For whatever reason, this past Sunday, Sassy decided to lay it on thick. From the moment she woke up, she had it in her mind that she had to have piered ears.
All day long, she asked, reasoned, begged, and pleaded her case for earrings. For the first time, I sat down to explain to her that getting your ears pierced hurts. I explained that it feels like getting shots in your ears, for which I thought her opinion would quickly avert.
No such luck.
So, I got my way... right?
Later, I began to doubt myself. Was she too young? Was she really making an educated decision? Is a 3.5 year-old capable of making an educated decision? Was it fair, as a parent, to allow her to choose to do something to herself that would cause her pain? Was she mature enough for the responsibility?
So, doing what any person would do at a crossroads, I turned to Facebook.
After consulting my ever-wise comrades, the responses began to pour in. So many thoughtful responses. I really wrapped myself around every one's comments. I completely appreciated every one's advice about waiting until she is old enough to care for them herself- that seemed very logical. On the other hand, letting her go for it was something that I felt pretty good about, too.
In the morning, we took the girls to get their pictures taken, and I was still undecided as to what we should do. During the car ride, I texted my cousin Kelli, one of my very best friends and a person whose opinion I have always been able to count on. Her advice resounded with me.
She shared that we should most definitely let Sassy get her ears piered. As she put it, Sassy is quite possibly the girliest girl on the planet. She loves dress-up and make-up and all things fancy. Of course she wants her ears piered. And, it will mean a lot to her to get to be grown up for the day and make this decision for herself.
So, that was it. My mind was made up. Sassy would get her ears piered.
We went to the mall. Sassy skipped the entire way inside. We entered the store and she climbed up into that stool on a mission. The anticipation was high:
We went over the procedure, filled out the paperwork, and got ready. I felt it necessary to explain to her, again, that this would hurt and burn a little bit, but then it would be over, and she would have beautiful pierced ears, just like Cinderella. She held onto the Claire's bear:
They marked her ears with that famous little purple pen, and then it was time:
Her whole little body shook. I think she was more frightened by the girls closing in on her than the actual pain. Either way, my heart broke a little. And, I felt a wee bit nauseous. God forbid I ever have to witness either of my children suffer. I don't think I am strong enough for that.
She was a tiny bit upset.
After a hug, a tear-wipe, and a glance in the mirror, she began to feel a little bit better.
I gave her another hug as we looked at her big girl pierced ears together.
"Was it all worth it, sweetie, or do you wish we would have not done it?" I asked her.
"It was worth it, mama," she replied.
So, Sassy has her ears piered. She's done a great job so far about letting me clean and rotate them. She loves to show them off, and refers to a multitude of princesses with whom she has joined the ranks in pierced ear-dom.
I have had a few pangs of nostalgia, as I look at her little ears that are no longer as they were when she was a sweet new one. I feel as though she has made her first real big-time decision, and a part of me wishes that she wasn't mature enough to have done that yet.
But, at the same time, I am so proud of the smart little girl that she is, that she has become.
I will say this, though... if this is the beginning of tough parenting decisions, I'm not sure what I signed on for! That was draining enough!