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A Rite of Passage: Ear Piercing

“Mommy… pleeeeezzze! Can I get my ears pierced? ALL my friends have them. Pah-leeeeeze??????”

I’ve been listening to that for about two years from my eldest daughter, Emma, and I’ve somehow put her off much longer than I thought possible. Ear-piercing is a special thing in my mind, so I wanted my daughter to wait until she’s older… like 12 or 13.

But by 6-1/2, Emma clearly had her heart set on it and it was obvious that this was not a passing whim. So I told her I wouldn’t promise when she could get them pierced, but it would be when she can show me that she’s responsible. If she’s big enough to get them pierced, she’s big enough to take are of them.

For the next three months, every chore like feeding the dog or putting away her clothes was followed by “See, Mommy? I’m responsible!”

Okay, it was time. When her seventh birthday arrived in January, we decided to surprise her with a trip to the piercing studio.

Yes, we went to a piercing studio. Black Hole Body Piercing in Reno, to be exact.

I spent a couple of weeks researching ear-piercing locations and asking friends about their experiences. The question was posed to our Reno Moms Blog Facebook community, and I relished reading all the insight there.

I’m not against taking kids to a place like Claire’s or Piercing Pagoda – I had all three of my ear-piercings done at Claire’s when I was a teen- but this is my baby, not me. Tales of infection and piercings-gone-wrong scared me.

Black Hole has a whole page on its website dedicated to children’s ear-piercings, and after I called for more info, I was convinced. Piercing studios are so closely monitored, and they adhere to the highest standards of cleanliness. Think about it: piercing is their profession and livelihood. They’re not high school kids working for $8/hour.

There were two obstacles to sealing the deal, though: The cost, and WHAT WILL OUR PARENTS THINK? Yes, even at 35, I still worry about my parents’ opinions, especially their opinions about my parenting.

The cost was hard to swallow. It ranges from about $90-$120 depending on the earrings you choose. We ultimately spent about $130, including tip (tip your piercer, people!). That was more than we wanted to spend, but we decided the safety was worth the money.

And finally, our parents. Sigh… two sets of conservative grandparents, and we’re taking their granddaughter to a piercing studio. Our answer to that was pretty simple: It’s 2014, we don’t live in a cave, our children have seen piercings and tattoos (um, on mommy and daddy!), and really, who cares????

I still don’t know how well that went over, but I kinda don’t care now because the piercing experience was everything we’d hoped for.

Jessica was our piercing professional, and she explained everything that IMG_9074would happen, she talked to Emma like an adult – because really, Emma was her client, not us parents anxiously watching from the corner – and she was so careful about sterility and safety. She also strategically placed a box of tissues near me, because moms are usually the first to cry, not the little girl getting holes poked in her ears.

Emma smiled through the first ear. The needle slipped in (no guns!) while IMG_9080she breathed a big breath out, and the earring fit right into place. The second ear drew some tears, but Jessica encouraged Emma to breathe through it, get some hugs from Mama, and sure enough, we were soon all-smiles again. (Hint: you can get both ears done at the same time, which is definitely preferable to the way we did it. But we had lunch plans and knowingly scheduled our appointment when there was only one piercer.)

Emma feels so grown up in her sparkly pink earrings. I’m happy that it was truly an experience for her – a rite of passage to becoming a big girl. And a part of me thinks that maybe she learned a lesson: that a girly girl in a pink sweater and pink earrings can fit right in with nose rings and tattoos. That we are all bad-ass in our own ways.

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About Bethany Drysdale

Bethany Drysdale
Bethany Drysdale is mom to two little princesses, and is on a mission to stock her wine rack with great-tasting wines that won't break the bank. Swim lessons and new sneakers trump the wine budget in her house, but she won't sacrifice great taste and neither should you! Read more from Bethany at Mama's Wine Rack. Bethany is a former journalist and current public relations professional who decided in 2010 to pair her love for writing with her love for wine, and Mama's Wine Rack was born. She lives in Dayton, Nev., with her daughters Emma and Abbi, husband Sean, and dog Rusty. There is a cat or two calling her doorstep home, and possibly a goldfish in her future. Follow Bethany's quest to fill her wine rack at http://MamasWineRack.com.