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The Preschooler Who Nearly Had Just One Ear Pierced

Our guest columnist Stacia shared this tale of a birthday trip to Claire's gone terribly wrong.

My baby girl turned 4 in May. My husband and I always take her birthday off from work and spend the day doing whatever she wants (within reason). This year she wanted to go to Dunkin’ Donuts and go see a movie at the movie theater. Done and done!

Look at that unsuspecting face.Since both of those things don’t take up a whole day we filled the rest running errands and lingering far too long in the toy aisle at Target. We had to stop and get some lunch in Geneva Commons and we drove past Claire’s. Ava has been asking to get holes in her ears like mommy forever and a month now. I don’t have a problem with her getting her ears pierced, I have a problem with her being a psycho about the pain.

Ava doesn’t DO pain or even the thought of pain. An imaginary scratch deserves a band-aid.

Still, because I like to punch myself in the face, I asked Ava if she wanted to get her ears pierced that day. She said SURE! I thought, OK then, let’s do this thang! 

Thankfully, school wasn’t out yet, and we had the place to ourselves but that also meant there was only one person working ... which meant one ear at a time. Oh goodie! But we were there, and Ava wanted her ears pierced.

As I was filling out the don’t-sue-us-it-ain’t-our-fault paperwork, another mom came in with her little girl. She was also 4 and had gotten her ears pierced the day before. One earring fell out when she was wrestling (mental note, don’t let Ava wrestle) and they didn’t put it back in right away. The hole closed up, and she had to be repierced. Right in front of Ava. Preschoolers usually can’t man up when it comes to pain. The little girl cried.

This would be the point where I see the panic flash across Ava’s face. Crap. CRAP!!! LOOK AWAY CHILD! LOOK AWAY! No matter, she heard the girl cry for a nanosecond and that was enough for Ava to be done with this ear piercing business. Ugh.

We decided to walk around the store a bit and try to relax. The ear piercing lady was great and pulled out all the stops. The thing is ... my daughter might only be 4 but she’s really like 18 inside. Ain’t no fooling this girl! Until the lady told her she had a magic gun that doesn’t hurt. Well, well. Ava was all about that!

Oh the lies. Her ears were dotted and the gun was loaded ... Here. We. Go.

If you happened to hear the sound barrier bomb around noonish on May 21st, that was Ava screaming. Mom you are SUCH a liar!!!! Totally. Now let’s do the next ear.

I would say we were in the store for a good hour. Ava was all about leaving with just one piercing and I knew there was no way I was getting her back into that store before she turned 20 to get the second ear pierced. I whispered to the lady that we just had to do it as quickly as possible.

After the trauma and proud of her new pink earrings.I am officially the meanest mom on the planet. I held my 4-year-old daughter, ON HER BIRTHDAY, as tight as I could, as she screamed and cried while the lady pierced the second ear. I SUCK. You don’t have to tell me. I know.

However, after less than 20 seconds of crying ... she now has as set of beautifully pierced, pink earrings. She’s super proud of them. She likes to tell people that she only cried a little bit but now has pretty earrings like mommy. Thank goodness I only have one daughter.

I should stress that had she screamed and cried like that for the first one, I would have NEVER made her get her ears pierced. No way. No how. That would just tell me she needs to be a little older, but she sat on her own for the first one and she did fine ... she just didn’t want to do the second one.

The fear of a preschooler is huge, and I totally get that. I tried everything to help her not be so afraid. She held and clicked the gun. She’s taken my earrings in and out of my ear to see that once they heal they don’t hurt, etc. She just had to experience it to know.

Now that she has, she’s told me she wants her nose pierced. She also wants gold, shiny teeth. I told her that’s called a grill. Ava said, “Yeah, I want a grill.” I told her maybe Santa will bring her one.

Go West Readers: Are you daughter's ears pierced? At what age did she have it done? How did she react? Did the age at which you had your own ears pierced influence when you decided it would be OK for your daughter?

You can get to know our guest contributor Stacia better by following her own blog Dried On Milk. By the way, she hasn't shampooed her hair in two weeks. 

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    The Preschooler Who Nearly Had Just One Ear Pierced - Keeping Families West of Chicago in the Loop - Go West Young Mom

Reader Comments (3)

Love your post! Hannah had her ears pierced when she was 5. She had wanted them done at four but changed her mind when we got there and I was fine with that. After getting the necessary vaccinations for kindergarten and not even so much as flinching, she turned to me and said, “Mommy, I’m ready to have my ears pierced.” And she was. We went to Merle Norman on route 38, where two days a week they have two trained people available to do both at once. She let out a little whimper and was done, and very proud of herself and her new earrings. We’ll see what Evie chooses..

July 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterM.Paschke

I read a fantastic post from ZRecommends about their 5 year old getting her ears pierced a while back. They went to a piercing place....they use needles instead of the 'gun' which has a blunt edge. Its simply another option to consider. They also talk about the emotional part as they too had to take a break from the first ear to the second. Its well worth the read. Here is the link:

July 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterShari R


First, thanks for sharing your parenting adventure through this blog. I was also four years old when I asked my parents about piercing my ears and, surprisingly, they said yes. I don’t remember excessive pain … it stung some. My aunt, who’s an RN, pierced my ears and maybe that’s why I don’t
remember any excessive pain. She did have me put ice beforehand on the lobes to "numb them", but the noise was worse part, not any pain. I don't think you were a mean mommy holding her, she needed to have both ears pierced like the princess she is and not a pirate with one earring:) I was in preschool when I had it done and knew I was one of only two or three girls in my class with pierced ears. Admittedly, I thought those girls with little gold hoops were so pretty with short hair and dangling earrings at the tender age of four. Admittedly, I asked my mom later when she didn't have them pierced as an infant and she said that she was unsure if I would ever want my ears pierced later.

Second, fast forward to the present. Every parent will make their own decision based on past experiences. I have 3 girls, and they all had their ears pierced by 3yrs old, 18 mos and 6 months. Looking back, doing the baby was the easiest to have done and care for keeping them clean. I might have waited, but my 3 yr old wanted to know why her baby sister didn't have earrings like she and her toddler sister aged 18 mos. I couldn't come up with an answer.

Stunned at my girls wanting the baby to have earrings I asked dh. Again, I was shocked when he said that he really wanted the baby to have her ears pierced too. Admittedly, she was "hair challenged" and called a boy so that may have been dh's "tipping point" to have her ears pierced now. He said that he wanted her to look more like "daddy's little girl" and earrings would certainly accomplish that request.

Third, I was still unsure about piercing my baby girl, I asked our ped. She must have had a phone call from dh before I called. When asked about piercing the baby, she said doing them as an infant was fine and it was much safer with new piercing instruments and sterile earrings. She gave me some suggestions for moms having their dd's ears pierced. Still unsure, I put away our ped's tips, but I kept seeing babies in the church nursery and started imagining how the baby would look with earrings. I didn't have to wait long.

Fourth, what changed my mild? Dh with the help of my MIL picked out some darling little gold diamond earrings for babies with screwback posts. I held them up to her ears and she smiled in he mirror. Admittedly, she was soO cute and adorable. I felt as if she as telling me she wanted her ears pierced. My MIL and dh told me they would go with me to have her ears pierced and even hold her if I was nervous or felt guilty about doing it. Afterwards, I didn't feel like "mean mommy" to my baby, but realized she would be such a "pretty baby" instead with little earrings.

I nursed the baby right after it was done…so she only cried for a minute…literally. None of the girls were ever bothered by the earrings while sleeping or playing. My older girls were thrilled that their baby sister had earrings. At six weeks, I promptly changed the starter earring out to her diamonds. My MIL was very happy as well.

Lastly, what did I learn? It is much easier to pierce and care for infant's ears. Why wait till the ask? Well, we think we're allowing them to make the decision, but in reality, all little girls want their ears pierce and doing them younger is better. As I learned from dh and my MIL, babies and little girls celebrates their femininity and femaleness giving them wonderdul instant "gender identification as little girls, princesses and little divas :)

If your unsure whether or not to do your little girl, write me an e-mail and I'll send you our ped's tips to make it a good experience.


August 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAngie Tune

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