After years of talking about it and years of putting it off Reagan finally did it. I’m so proud of her. She has always said since the day she could talk that she wanted her ears pierced when she was ten. Recently she had started to add years onto that total: “10, 11, 12, 13…I’ll get my ears pierced sometime when I’m older…”
And I haven’t been pushy about it. Ear piercing is a personal choice (once the parents have given their approval) and it wasn’t that big of a deal to try to push her to do something she didn’t want to do.
The thing is, she did want to do it. Reagan loves going into Claire’s. It’s like me looking at purses or shoes…or a kitchen store. Hours could be spent and never counted as lost staring at earrings, hair accouterments, lip gloss and everything else tweenagery. She wanted her ears pierced, she just didn’t have the courage to do it. I hadn’t realized that or let it sink in enough until last Wednesday.
We were all standing around Claire’s trying to convince her that she could get her ears pierced (some more patiently than others…and that wouldn’t be me). We were in the store because she had decided today was the day. And then she wanted to back out. At first I was all about letting her, fuming as I was. “Fine! But you are not coming back in here to look at earrings until you are really ready!” This was said in that low, hushed shouting voice that all mothers perfect around the two-year old stage. A highlight of my mothering career, I know. Then the light went off in Du’s head and he had to impart some wisdom on me:
We have been diligent about teaching our daughter certain things: respect, manners, look both ways, happy plates before dessert, etc. We hadn’t really broached the topic of courage with her though. We had been missing out on teaching her a vital skill that is used throughout life, from ear piercings to telling others about your faith. Today was the day she was going to get an up close and personal look at courage.
I let Du do the talking this time because my attitude and tone would not have instilled courage in the poor girl. His words and the promise of one pair of every earring in the store from Nonna (not quite…but close) sealed the deal. She hopped up onto Nonna’s lap and mustered enough courage to sit through both ears being pierced.
She’s not cured by any stretch of the imagination. If the way she squirms and screeches when I clean and rotate her earrings is any indication we’re going to have to continue to talk about courage for a while, and maybe provide her with some more real life examples to demonstrate. But what this whole dramatic episode taught me was that we as parents have to comprehensive in what we are teaching our kids. Some children are born with courage abounding. Others need a little help learning how to go above and beyond when they truly want something. Whereas other parents have to train their children to be loving or empathetic (things we’ve never had to teach to Reagan) we’re teaching about courage and being daring. I wonder in what other aspects are we falling short?
P.S. Lest any of you think we’re horrible parents for pushing her to do something she wasn’t ready for–chillax. She absolutely loves having her ears pierced and is thankful that we helped her go through with it.