This week daughter number 2 had her ears pierced. It was almost exactly a year since her sister had hers done and now the precedent is set for daughter number 3 - Easter holidays in year 6.
When I was a girl I wasn't allowed to have my ears pierced until I was 16. Then when I hit 16 the goalposts shifted and the magic age became 18. By the time I hit 18 I had gone off the idea. I finally took the plunge when I was 34 and have never looked back.
So when my eldest asked if she could have her ears pierced I said no. "Why not?" Now I was flummoxed. Why not indeed? I never really understood why I should have been prevented from taking this somewhat innocuous step. My mum obviously felt strongly about it. But now that I am a parent in my own right I look at the way that I was brought up, pick out the good bits and try to replicate them in my own parenting. The bits that I disagree with I disregard or reexamine depending on the nature of the bit. I decided that the age that a child should have her ears pierced needed reexamining.
I decided to carry out my own straw poll and asked a number of fellow mums what they thought. They seemed to think that 14 was a good age. When I asked why they had landed on the that particular age it was generally because that was when they had had theirs done. No one had or was prepared to vocalize any better reasons than that.
I still couldn't answer my daughter's question. The only reason I had come up with so far was that in the seventies, 14 was considered the appropriate age. But a lot has changed since the seventies. I suspect 14 was hit upon for fear of girls being seen to grow up too fast. But girls in the 21st century are older in outlook and physically more mature. I can't think of a single child in my year 6 class who had hit puberty but could rattle off a whole list from my daughters' classes. I thought about whether it was a perception thing, knowing that girls further down the social scale have their ears pierced earlier. But my girls are bright and articulate and any perception of them would not be altered by earrings.
So when the eldest asked for the hundredth time why she couldn't do it I failed to come up with one decent reason and so I said yes. Then the guilt started. My mother disapproved. My friends who were sticking with 14 for historical reasons disapproved. It was hard to stick to my guns and more than once I wished that I had just said " No. Because I said so " like everyone else. But we made the appointment, did the deed.
They have both had their ears pierced with very pretty, diamante daisies, not those dreadful gold studs of yesteryear. They look lovely and my eldest now has a wide selection of similarly tasteful or playful earrings, all of which enhance her prettiness. Within a relatively short period of time I grew used to seeing her with sparkles on her ears and even began to enjoy choosing earrings with her. As soon as she moved up to High School everything about her grew up anyway and earrings seemed to be the least of my concerns.
When the Easter holidays approached and daughter number 2 started asking I went through the whole doubt thing all over again but this time it really was a done deal. I could hardly say no to her.
Daughter number three is only in year 1 so I have a long way to go before I have to re examine the whole question again and I have plenty of time to come up with some jolly good reasons as to why my son cannot have his done!