The Goose decided last week to have her ears pierced. For the third time. And then the fourth. Um, yeah. I’ve become way too familiar with the inside of Claire’s jewelry store at the mall.
When the Goose was six, she wanted to have her ears pierced. We read about how to care for earrings and I told her about the pain of having them pierced, but she was committed. When the big day came, we went to the mall, and she sat up in the chair like a big girl. Okay, actually, my mother took her to the mall, because I was too much of a wimp to see my child go through voluntary pain. However, my mother soon discovered that she could not sign for the Goose to have her ears pierced because she was not the legal guardian. So, I ended up going to see my child in pain anyway.
When the Goose had her ears pierced, she didn’t exactly cry. Three small tears ran down her sweet little cheeks. Talk about breaking a mother’s heart. If she had wailed and screamed, I probably wouldn’t have felt nearly as sorry for her!
For the first week, things went well with the earrings. We cleaned them three times a day, and we were doing great! Then, on Christmas Day, it happened. The right earring fell out. The Goose and I had run home from my parents’ house to get a gift we’d forgotten. Jeanie, my pseudo-child, was with us. I remember it well. I was sitting on the toilet (sorry for the details, but hey, if you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go!). The Goose came running in, screaming. I didn’t know what was happening, but I was a little indisposed at the moment. Luckily, the situation did not require me to spring into action. The Goose said her earring had just fallen out, and sure enough, it had. We cleaned the earring (after I flushed and washed!), and I started trying to put the earring back in her ear. For about 30 minutes, we worked at that earring. The Goose cried. I cried. Jeanie just looked at us like we were crazy. Finally, after 30 minutes of torture, I told the Goose the earring wasn’t going back in. I asked her what she wanted to do, and she said just to take the other one out. So, that’s what we did.
I didn’t hear about earrings again until the winter of 2011 when the Goose was 10. She said she wanted her ears pierced again, but I wasn’t going for it. The memory of torturing her in the bathroom was still lingering in my mind. Finally, she convinced me. She said she would save money to pay for it herself. I agreed, and she saved.
The day we went to Claire’s for the second piercing, the Goose was nervous. She remembered the pain from the first time and wasn’t sure she wanted to do it again. We had made a special trip to the mall, and the time had come. She kept saying she didn’t want to do it. We would get ready to leave, and she would say she did want to do it. We would walk toward Claire’s, and she would say she didn’t want to do it. Finally, I stopped in the middle of the mall, said no to the man who was trying for the seventh time to put lotion on my hands, looked the Goose in the eyes and said, “Do it or don’t. I have things to do.” (By the way, if your mall doesn’t have those high-pressure salespeople who try to put lotion on your hands, count yourself lucky. They drive me crazy. I just want to shop. I don’t want to be approached by strangers in the mall. Typically, I pretend to talk on my phone as I pass the kiosks so the salespeople won’t talk to me. I’ve found if I look like I’m in an angry conversation on the phone, it works even better.)
The Goose finally decided to go for it, and we went to Claire’s. She sat down, got it done and left. This time, she was so paranoid about losing an earring that she had me check the backs and tighten them. I learned the hard way that if you push on the backs of piercing earrings, they will pierce your fingers just as effectively as they will ears. I tightened the backs for her, and we thought we were home-free.
Fast forward three months. The Goose would not take the earrings out. She wouldn’t let me touch the earrings. She wouldn’t even let me say, “Earring.” (Okay, that last part is an exaggeration, but you get the point.) Finally, I took a peek behind her ears to see how things were looking, and the backs of her earrings looked gross. It was like the skin had grown over the earrings. She still would not let me near her ears.
The Goose’s very first season of softball started, and she loved practicing. The day of the first game came, and the coach said everyone had to take off all jewelry, including earrings. The Goose flipped, because she still wouldn’t let anyone touch her ears. She cried and pleaded. I lied and said she had just had them pierced and couldn’t take them off. (Call me, “The Enabler.”) The coach said it didn’t matter, and they had to come out. She said the holes wouldn’t close up by the end of the game. I begged to differ, but she didn’t listen. The Goose ended up missing her very first two softball games, a double header, because she wouldn’t take her earrings out.
When we got home, she told me she wanted me to take her earrings out. I moved toward her, and she ducked. She said, “No! I want you to sneak in when I’m sleeping and take them out.” Um, yeah. Sure. From past experience of trying to use wart medicine on her finger while she was sleeping, I knew this was not going to end well. However, I figured it was worth a try. For a week solid, I would go in her room every night and try to loosen the earrings. This was not easy as the violently sleeping child would flail her arms and legs. Needless to say, I never got a good grip on the earrings. The Goose gained the nickname, “Flailarella,” for her flipping and flailing she did in her sleep. I was so stressed out about her earrings that I was dreaming about them at night. I was trying to think of any way possible to get them out of her ears, because her next ball game was just days away and I did not want her to miss it.
It took me a while, but I figured out a plan. Come back tomorrow, and I’ll tell you what I did…. -Al