Earlier this week, Ella came to me and told me she wanted to get her ears pierced. I hadn't introduced this idea to them because I'd be just as happy if they never had pierced ears. In fact, I wish I never would have pierced my ears. I am such a squeamish person, in fact, that one time after changing my ear rings, I passed out cold on the floor. I woke up to the ER nurse who lived next door to my parents shaking me awake. Once my eyes were opened and I was sitting up, she laughed and said, "she's just fine" and headed home.
Like hell I was.
Over the last year or so, when the girls would ask to get their ears pierced I would deter them with realistically explaining the process, "You will have to get a big needle pushed all the way through your ear. It's really sharp. It will hurt. Would you still like to go?"
But lately, their friends have been getting their ears pierced and telling the girls it isn't so bad. Not only that, but we happened to be shopping in Claires a couple weeks ago and every person that walked in was getting a piercing. The twins stood and watched and no one cried. Must not be so bad. They looked at me and said they'd like to go ahead and do it. "Let's not make a rushed decision," I had told them, and then bought them stick-on earrings and we left.
But last Thursday, my luck run out. And as a mental health practitioner, I knew my luck ran out when I ran through the assessment of risk with Ella who had awoken me very early to tell me that today was the day she got her ears pierced.
Whenever I had a suicidal client, I'd do a risk assessment. Did they have a plan? A mode? Access to the mode? I wanted to know how deeply they had planned the whole thing out. The more well thought out, the higher the risk.
So I started assessing Ella's risk for getting a piercing...
"When are you doing it?"
"Where are you planning to go to get it done?"
To the mall. At Claires.
"Do you know what earrings you want?"
Yes. I'm getting the blue flower ones like Lucy got.
"Are you sure?"
Yes. C'mon. Get up.
Not only was Ella high risk with a well thought out plan, she had made a pact with her twin sister, Sophia.
I began wondering whether I would pass out at Claires and if so, how long would I be out for? Would the girls stay with me? Would it be a big scene? Was there anything I could do to avoid passing out? Maybe I should go with someone else -- nah, let's not have witnesses to that potentially embarrassing wuss moment that I can thank my dad for.
So we headed to Claire's, I signed all the paper work and Ella hopped in the chair without a second thought despite me pleading with her to re-consider. The woman offered to let Ella hold a bear or mommy's hand. Ella refused it all.
The piercing began and ended within a minute. Ella looked at me with wide eyes and said,
"Take them out. Now."
Before I could say a word, the soft-spoken Claire's employee channelled a voice from the deep and told her, "The earrings are in. Here. Have a sucker. Hop down. Next!"
Ella turned red....then white....then she pinked back up and was fine and smiling.
Sophia looked more fearful, but she was still determined. She sat in the chair and wanted to hold my hand. Damn. That meant I had to watch. Not only did I have to watch her bravely sit there without even a peep while her ears were pierced, I then had the woman thrust cotton balls on me telling me I had to disinfect their newly pierced ears.
I'm getting woozy.
Once again channeling the voice from the deep, the Claires employee told me to clean her ears..."now!" There's nothing like someone having very high expectations and demands for me -- a compulsive people pleaser -- to whip me into shape and get my blood flowing again.
I didn't pass out. The girls were grinning from pierced-ear to pierced-ear. We headed to Dave's work to take him out to lunch and show him Ella's blue daisy earrings and Sophia's "diamonds." She tried to pick the 1 ct "diamonds" but I told her she needed to stick with something smaller. Later, she contentedly told me,
"I love diamonds. They are my favorite. I don't like little ones. They are puny and hard to see. I like the big ones."