The girls have been talking about getting their ears pierced for the last little while. So Les and I told them that for their upcoming birthdays (which have now passed), part of their present could be getting their ears pierced.
We took them to the mall last weekend to get this done, and of course Malia went first. We tried to convince Joelle to go first, but she wouldn't hear of it. Les took her out of the salon during Malia's piercing though, just so she wouldn't see things that would scare her off.
Here is Malia's before shot. Don't let this picture fool you -- she was terrified!! In fact, as the ladies were 'lining up', Malia started crying. This was a surprise to me, as I figured she'd sit there in her pleasant naiviety until after the click, and then I thought I might see a few tears. But things didn't go quite as I had expected.
As the tears started coming, I held her hands and the ladies went ahead and did their thing. There were even more tears after the piercing actually happened, but as soon as she saw her pretty new ears in the mirror, the smiling and almost-giggling happened as she realized what had actually happened. She was so proud of herself.
The problem was that when we walked out to tell Joelle it was her turn, Malia's face was still red from her earlier crying. As soon as Joelle saw her, she said "Hey! Malia cried" and then she started tearing up as well.
This is Joelle's before shot. No fooling with this -- can't you just see the terror on this poor girl's face? She immediately said "I don't want to do it" to which we replied no problem. We had told both of the girls that in no way were we going to force them to do this. They had asked if they could do it and we were giving them the opportunity.
The thing is, it wasn't that simple to just walk out. We could tell how desperately she wanted to do it. But the fear was conflicting with that strong desire. We tried walking her through it one step at a time: Sit in the chair. Get the girl to take her marker to mark the spots on her ears. Let the ladies get lined up...We were so close to completing the act and having 2 girls with cute pierced ears. But Joelle just couldn't do it.
The girls who were doing the piercing tried to get our permission to go ahead with it while they were all lined up and while Joelle was already freaking out anyway. They sort of quietly said "Ready?" but Joelle heard them say that and freaked out even more. Les stepped in and said "No, don't do it" and they backed off.
I think after it was all said and done, if they had gone ahead with it Joelle would've been happy with it in the end. But we had promised her when she sat in that chair that we were not going to trick her. We assured her that we would not let them pierce her ears unless she said to go ahead. Joelle is the kind of girl who needs to know that she can trust us. She may have thanked us in the end this time, but the experience would stick with her, and the next time she would be in a situation similar to this she would remember that we tricked her and that would damage her trust in us big time.
So while we walked out of the salon with one happy & excited girl, and one disappointed and still teary girl, I knew we had done the right thing. She thinks maybe when she's 10 she'll be ready -- but I advised her to not even put an age on it. She might be ready when she's 7 and she might not be ready until she's 29 (like her mom!), or she might not ever be ready. And that is perfectly okay.
I just felt bad for her because it was obvious how desperately she wanted to get it done. Fear can take a strong hold on us though. I think if she would've gone first -- or at least not have seen that Malia had cried -- we might have had a shot at her going through with it. But I'm proud of her for trying, and for being open to giving it another chance sometime. If she wants to.