So, out in Des Moines, I was helping my mother-in-law with an errand when Vivian decided it was time to get her ears pierced.

We were out in a major mall in the west end of Des Moines. We’d stashed the kids at the mall’s play area with Erin watching. And when we came back with our purchase, Erin beckoned us over. “Come see the big life decision!”

Apparently, beside the children’s play area — which, frankly, Vivian is very close to outgrowing, if not outgrown already — was a teeny-bopper jewellery place offering, among other things, ear piercings. According to Erin, Vivian left the children’s play area and stood quietly, watching for a while, before she started asking questions, like “does it hurt” and “do they bleed”?

She’d asked about piercings before, and Erin had said that she could get one once she was responsible enough to take care of it — say, around the age of eight. Well, Vivian just up and asked, and since she’d clearly been working up her courage, Erin said ‘yes’.

Had Vivian asked me, I probably would have hemmed and hawed and said “ask your mother”. My normal inclination would be against ear piercings but, here’s the thing: I’m not a girl, and I know I’m not a girl. Just because I’ve never desired any piercings myself doesn’t mean that I should deny my daughter if she so decides and if her mother says yes.

Besides, watching Vivian nerve herself up to take the piercing, I realized how important it was for Vivian that she do this. She was terrified, and being very, very brave, so getting through it would be a major life’s accomplishment for her. Erin said I nearly fainted, and I was admittedly very nervous. But my nerves were mostly due to Vivian’s own nerves on the process. And I’ve got to admit, I was fiercely proud of her when she followed through.

What I was less sure about, on the other hand, was the parents that decided to give their three-month old an ear piercing. The kid was clearly not happy about it — though it was more about being held in place than the piercing itself. I guess the process really doesn’t hurt that much.

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