Part of this post was first written as a guest post for www.nellbelleandme.blogspot.com
I’m not sure if my complete lack of interest in my appearance as a child was because I knew that with NHS specs, buck teeth and frizzy hair I was fighting a losing battle, or if a toddlerdom of brown flared cords and orange jumpers put me off at a young age. I spent the first 16 years of my life driving my mother mad by hating shopping and clothes, then driving her even crazier in the early nineties when I dressed exclusively in torn opaque tights, teeny skirts and DMs (and sometimes a bowler hat, I’m sure I had a good reason).
My 8yo daughter is very different. She has always had very definite ideas of what she will and will not wear and spends hours angsting about clothes. She’s impossible to second guess, one minute girly in sparkly dresses, the next proudly sporting her Liverpool kit or sophisticated in tights and shorts accessorised with 80s style gloves and a fashion scarf tossed carelessly around her neck. ‘Just put on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt’ I manage not to say through gritted teeth, saving my arguments for the inevitable appropriate footwear conversation.
8yo has always been fascinated by pierced ears and has always wanted to get her ears pierced. Since she could speak. Always. And she nags a lot. My automatic reaction was, like most parents, ‘not until you are 16’ knowing full well it would be bargained down to 13 then possibly the year she starts secondary school.
Because the subject was brought up so very often I began to wonder about my reasons for saying no. Was it a snob thing? On the continent, in Asia, in the States piercing the ears of small girls is very common and doesn’t raise a single eyebrow. In the UK it seems to be a mark of pride to delay it as long as possible. I canvassed opinion. Infection, said some, too young to know what they want, said others but underlying all that was the unsaid ‘nice girls don’t’.
I knew she knew her own mind. Five years of nagging proved that. Horror stories and the scariest Youtube videos I could find were no deterrent. Plus we might have a better chance of combating infection while I still bathed her and controlled the bedtime routine. So why didn’t I want to? Because if it was about snobbery I didn’t want to be part of that.
She must have sensed I was weakening. The nagging intensified and one day I shocked her by agreeing. It didn’t shock her as much as the pain did though. The actual piercing left her white and shaking. Turns out no matter how many You Tube videos of crying girls I’d shown her she never quite believed that having a hole punched in your ear would hurt.
In the end I decided to save my strength for the battles I really care about, conceding this one to her because in the grand scheme of things there is a lot more to parenting, a lot more to worry about than a hole in an earlobe. And now they’re in? They don’t bother me at all, actually. I almost quite like them shining away on her lobes. Almost…