Archive for March, 2010

Parenting: More Joy and More Tears

March 2, 2010

Remember this post? Where Riley cried every time he thought about piercing his ears.  Yet clearly he kept thinking about it.  Well the deed is finally done.  And isn’t he cute?

bling bling

Our friend Natalie and her new girlfriend Ashley came to visit from California a few weeks ago.  Natalie has sort of a reputation of being um “not as responsible” as say, we are.  She makes more money that I could probably spend.  She’s irresponsible and fun.  She closes karaoke joints and always makes friends with the bartender.  She’s wild and crazy and recently crashed her Harley Davidson in Oakland going way too fast.  And she claims she learned a lesson about speed.  But I’ve known Nat long enough to know that the only lesson she really learned is not to speed THAT fast on a road THAT curvy when the sun is at THAT angle.  And I love her for that.  She keeps me a little more spontaneous and helps me enjoy life more. Nat has had many a girlfriend in the 17 years that I have known her.  And it seems the women I adore most don’t become long term staples in the Natalie pantry.  So after only a day of being here, I turned to Kim and said, “I really like Ashley.”  And Kim replied, “I know.  It makes me sad.  We’ll probably never see her again.” I hope we do.  I really like her.

Early in the week of the visit, Nat and Ashley hung out with Riley all day since his school was out for one of the various reasons that his school always seems to be out.  Nat and Ashley ended up at the mall and Natalie signed as Riley’s guardian so he could get his ears pierced.  (She got our permission in advanced.  She’s not that wild and crazy!)  He got up on the stool ready for the piercing.  Then the drama began.  What do you suppose Riley did?

That’s right.  He started crying.  And he wailed.  And he wailed.  And he cried because he was crying and he REALLY WANTED to get his ears pierced but he couldn’t stop crying.  The piercing woman finally told Riley that she PROMISED she would not shoot the piercing gun but that she needed him to calm down so she could put it up to his ear so she could measure how thick his ear is.  She calmed him down and assured him that she would not pull the trigger.  And then BAM.

She pierced his ear.

And it happened so fast he forgot to cry.

He is so glad he got it pierced.  But I can’t get past my anger.  I feel like his choice was taken away.  I feel like he was lied to.  I feel like an adult who should be modeling honesty tricked a little child by lying to him.

And I know he’s annoying.  He drives me batty with his drama and he has since last April when the ear-piercing thing first came up.  The poor gal probably gets seven dollars an hour to pierce ears and she certainly doesn’t get paid enough to deal with children like Riley. Still, I feel so betrayed.  I feel like some underlying lesson in honesty and trust has been violated and it happened in a way and a place that I could not intervene.

Riley could care less.  Natalie doesn’t see the big deal either.  I think she just sees another something that I can hyperfocus and obsess about.  You know like anxiety-ridden mothers like myself like to do.  This is clearly my issue here.  I sat down with Riley and talked about tricking, lying, trust, and promising.  I talked about how unfair it was that the woman expected him not to show that he was afraid.  I talked about how some people think boys should be like that (even when they are getting their ears pierced.)  He just shrugged and said, “I’m not mad.  I was just about to say go anyway.”  I am not certain of very many things, but I know that Riley was not about to voluntarily say “go” after freaking himself out so much.

It is like wanting to go off the diving board.  It is like the process we go through every year in getting his flu shot.    He usually ends up doing these things but not without a big to do.  Does this “dramatic to do” help him overcome his fears and be who he is?  Or does he need someone like the mall lady to push him over the edge and realize that he builds up terror far beyond what is reality?  And what are the consequences of each?

I hope the lesson Riley takes away is that getting his ears pierced didn’t hurt too much.  I really hope it isn’t some justification for being lied to and tricked.