First of all, four year olds aren’t in charge of making life decisions.
Logically, I know this to be true. I’m the parent. No means no. Because I said so. I walked up hill both ways in the snow to do whatever asinine thing you are trying to weasel out of to play XBox. I’ll give you something to cry about, like an inner ear infection or leprosy. Don’t make me pull this car over, also I don’t even know where the hazards button is, so help me God, everyone is grounded forever.
It’s a really slippery parenthood slope from logical to crazy shouty nonsense, but somewhere in the midst of all that, is a plateau I call responsibly irrational.
Responsibly irrational happens to be my sweet spot; I make rash decisions in relatively safe environments.
Hey kids, it’s 11pm, let’s go see a movie in our pajamas and then sleep until noon… because tomorrow you don’t have school on account of a teacher in-service day?
Let’s go get George Michael lyrics tattooed on our forearms…. in a clean, sterile studio with stellar Yelp reviews.
Wouldn’t it be fun to take a train to Chicago tonight and get some deep dish pizza and watch movies in a hotel room… and then in the morning go to the Field Museum to learn about Earth?
Childhood ear piercing falls into that touchy realm of shit moms can judge other moms about. Like breastfeeding or circumcision. Personally, I have never been down with baby ear piercing, but it was more about the burden of care than politics. At the time, it was just easier for my baby to have no extra holes in her head.
I’m not anti-needle. I’m anti-blood and anti- jabbing my kids with sharp shit in non-Pulp Fiction situations. But, Gigi has wanted her ears pierced for a crazy long time even though she’s witnessed me wearing earrings never (I actually wore them until Jude emerged from my vagina and proceeded to pull all non-flesh attached objects from my body in an act of supreme sadism). However, most the girls in her class have them, and her bestie cousin just took the plunge, so the pressure was on.
Gigi helped with laundry and the dishwasher and grocery shopping for a few months, and after picking her up from school on an afternoon I was feeling particularly responsibly irrational, we beelined to the mall to take the plunge, just me and her. I didn’t bother bringing Andy because that much deep sighing, eye rolling and groans of concern make him sleepy.
The whole drive there, I was completely honest with her. Seriously Gi, it’s going to hurt, and you will probably cry. They have a spring loaded gun that will poke a hole in your ear and shoot the earring in. It’s painful and stings as it happens and for a minute or so after, plus you’ll have to keep them in for a couple months and clean them a lot every day.
I wasn’t trying to scare her, I just didn’t want her to get in that chair, have holes shot into her and then look at me all, the fuck!?
Also, yes, if she changed her mind and instead wanted to go to get Starbucks and lounge around a bookstore, that would be fine with me. A girl needs options.
Gigi and I walked into the empty store on Monday afternoon and then suddenly all my bad decisions happened.
We were approached by Alicia, the gorgeous store manager. She smiled warmly and let us know that yes, while she does pierce ears, she was the only one working that day, and then looked at us pensively. At the time I was like, great, she looks strong, has steady hands and doesn’t talk down to my kid, she’ll pierce each ear real fast, boom, we’re out the door.
The rational me should have been like, hmmm, while she looks super capable, I’m not sure piercing one ear at a time is the best idea OMG ABORT ABORT.
Gigi’s eyes lit up as she studied her earring options, and she decided on an extra sparkly pair of white gold diamond flowers. Alicia readied her gun, and explained the whole process as we sat there; Gigi pretty damn excited- me fucking terrified.
She sat perfectly still as the gun was raised to the small dot on her right earlobe. I closed my eyes and squeezed Gigi’s hand.
Alicia worked quick to ready the second gun, and I opened my eyes to find Gigi staring at me, her mouth open, her eyes filling with tears. Now, if she was 21 and puking up red and white wine in a dorm room I would have been like, yeah, I told you so. But you can’t I told you so little kids, because you’re the tool in this scenario.
Oh baby, are you okay?
*in between hiccupy sobs* No, no I just want one, I only need one.
Yes, I just want this one.
Oh um, are you sure, because you really wanted two when you came in here?
I stood there gently rubbing her leg, biting my lip, wondering how to play this.
Do I say okay fine, one earring? I don’t really care either way, and it’s a great conversation starter. She’s part pirate. She got it in prison. She’s half way to Bruce Jenner. But the thing is, if we left that store, I’d never get her back into it, and I can’t be the cause of one weird hole’s worth of regret.
Do I make her to get the second piercing? Holding down a screaming preschooler in a jewelry store, forcing her to to be poked with a needle seems not good. Oh, don’t mind me and this crying child, everyone, she’s screaming because she likes it, yay parenting!
I decided to go another route. First I promised her all the giraffe earrings in the store (which is apparently an actual thing now, sorry owl and fox, there’s a new hipster mascot in town), then I put her on my lap, grabbed two suckers out of the jar, and talked it out. If she only wanted one earring, fine, I’d have Alicia re-pierce one hole in my ear and we’d rock the earring together; a united front of quirky adorableness. If she wanted to go ahead and get the other one, that would be fine also, it’d only hurt for a second, and we could walk out of there triumphant and sparkly.
Ten minutes later.
New holes for a new year.