Parenting: More Joy and More Tears

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.

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6 Responses to “Parenting: More Joy and More Tears”

  1. Kim Says:

    I totally agree with you. She completely tricked him and essentially taught him that he can’t trust when an adult gives their word on something. Although admitedly I tend to “hyperfocus and obsess” about things myself. But if it were my kid? I’d be pissed too.

  2. kelly Says:

    The tricking isn’t okay. Why don’t people just communicate these days? Regardless of however much money the piercing lady makes, she should be far more respectful and courteous. Also, when you tell a kid to sit still… she is pretty lucky he wasn’t a wiggly worm and she pierced a facial part instead of an ear!

    Bonus: He is adorable!!!!

  3. Doug Says:

    you were paying her by the job not the hr.

  4. Mikey Says:

    As a guy who once was a Riley (and still is to some extents) I think both thoughts apply here. Sometimes we need to be pushed, sometimes we need to have the dramatic “to do” and come to the realization ourselves. A few examples because it’s me and I always speak in examples (read:stories). Back in 2001 I was a hs graduate visiting a small school in a small town in Southern Colorado, getting there by the way took much longer than when I made a similar trek multiple after finally enrolling, but I digress (surprise there right?). Anyway, upon pulling into the parking lot between Coronado A Wing and the SUB (which was not the SUB, but that’s how I remember it) I refused to get out of the car, because I had decided during the 6 hour journey that I was indeed not going to attend this university. After making my own “to do” my grandparents said fine and got back in the car, while my mother also got in and proceeded to push me out the door and lock it so I couldn’t get back in. I got a see you in two days and off they went to a hotel and left me to fend for myself…that began the best 4 years of my life(and those proceeding), and taught me to just jump sometimes, because after getting “encouraged” I liked my situation.

    • shawnette Says:

      Is that you Mikeybear? Oh my goodness! HI honey! I miss you! I miss everyone! I had a similar situation happen to myself when I joined the army. I joined but didn’t ship for basic training for a few weeks and got cold feet so I told my recruiter I didn’t want to go, they told me I had to go before the year was over (2004) or if I didn’t it would be desertion and I’d get kicked out (before I actually joined)….Needless to say I was scared and left. Well, wouldn’t ya know I had a whole year from the first time I raised my right hand (July 04′) before I had to leave. bastards lied to me and tricked me…all so they could get their numbers…and so I could take flight from the nest.

  5. Siera Says:

    I’d be choked too. I had many instances of almost getting my ears pierced as a child and chickening out at the last minute. I remember hoping out of the chair being so frightened. I finally went through with it at 11.

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