The Story of Piercing Nora’s Ears

posted by Andrea | 05/23/2017
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Yesterday was Nora’s half birthday (she loves half birthdays so we made a cake!) and 6 months ago, she got her ears pierced on her birthday.

I’ve been asked to share more about our ear-piercing experience so many times, and I figured today would be a good day — especially since we’ve finally put the ‘trauma’ of the whole ordeal behind us 🙂

Let me start out by mentioning that I have absolutely no strong feelings, rules, or regulations about ear piercing. If my girls want their ears pierced, I’ll get them pierced. If they don’t, I won’t force the issue. I don’t think there is a ‘right’ age or a ‘wrong’ age to get pierced ears, and I honestly almost never even notice if people have pierced ears or not.

Also, I wear the same earrings every single day. They are cheap “silver” hoop earrings that I’ve had for years and years. Once in awhile, I switch to pearls, but the hoops are my favorite — clearly, the whole earring thing just isn’t a big deal for me.

That said, Miss Nora was VERY interested in getting her ears pierced after she started preschool and noticed a few of the other girls had pierced ears (peer pressure with 4 years olds — it’s real!)

By the time she mentioned it to me, we were nearing her 5th birthday, so I suggested she think about it for a few weeks and if she still wanted to have them pierced by the time she was 5, we would get them pierced.

I also told her it would hurt REALLY, REALLY, REALLY bad — worse than shots, worse than a bee sting, worse than biting her tongue, etc. This girl has the absolute lowest pain tolerance of any human I’ve ever met… so I just wanted to prepare her for the worst.

She assured me she could handle it (I knew she probably couldn’t).

About a week before her 5th birthday, I mentioned our ear piercing plans to Nora’s friend’s mom after school one day. And it just so happens that this mom is certified to pierce children’s ears and did it for years and years as part of her job at a local jewelry store.  She offered to do Nora’s ears (and double pierce my ears) on Nora’s birthday at their house.

The ONLY issue was that she could only do one ear at a time…

I knew in my head this was probably a deal-breaker for us — I couldn’t picture any situation where Nora could endure that much pain and then say “yes, sure, do that again.”

However, Nora was so excited about having her ears pierced at her friend’s house, and I was happy to save $200 on both our ear piercings since this mom insisted we couldn’t pay her anything… so I said yes.

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On the day of her birthday, we had her doctor’s appointment in the morning (including 4 shots!) and then went to her friend’s house after lunch.

The mom did my ears first so Nora could watch (wow, did it hurt!) and then Nora happily hopped up in the chair.

The mom marked the earring placement, set the gun, and put the first earring in… only to endure the loudest screaming I’ve ever heard in my entire life. Nora’s friend actually ran downstairs because Nora was screaming so loudly.

She absolutely refused to let the mom put the second earring in, even after bribes and lots of pep talks.

After about 20 minutes of trying to reason with my sobbing little girl (and even piercing her stuffed pony’s ears), I ended up straddling her between my legs, pinning her arms down with one of my arms, and pressing her face against my chest with my other arm, while the other mom quickly shot the second earring into Nora’s other ear — only to endure even more screaming than before.

It was brutal!

I apologized profusely to the other mom and tried to get Nora out of their house as quickly as possible (and I mailed the mom a gift card since she refused all other payment attempts from me.)

Nora cried and cried for hours once we got home… and I prayed she wouldn’t get any type of infection to make the pain worse.

Thankfully, we had plans to go to Culver’s for her birthday dinner that night, and at the last minute, I asked my parents to come along since I knew Nora would be excited to show someone her new earrings.

My plan worked and she instantly perked up when she knew her grandparents would get to see her earrings.

For the next 6-8ish weeks, we VERY faithfully twisted the earrings and cleaned the earring hole area twice a day… and miraculously, they never got infected and she never once complained of any pain or soreness!

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Since then we’ve only attempted to change the earrings once, but after one day, her ears started getting red so we switched back to the solid gold studs we used to pierce her ears.

Nora has always had fairly sensitive skin, so I wasn’t surprised that even the high-quality earrings I bought didn’t work for her ears. She hasn’t asked to change them again — so I’ll probably just keep the studs in for as long as she lets me.

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The other day Nora saw pictures of another friend who recently got her ears pierced and she asked me if we have any pictures of her getting her ears pierced… I almost busted out laughing thinking of what those pictures would have looked like.

No, no, we definitely don’t have any pretty pictures of Nora sitting in the chair at the jewelry store, showing off her new earrings… but we sure do have some crazy memories!

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44 comments

  1. Deborah

    05/26/2017

    Poor Nora, hopefully she will forget with time. I am also allergic to most metals.
    Try the website Simply Whispers.com. They have hypoallergenic earrings, that contain no nickel which is what most sensitive people are allergic to. I have been wearing for years with no problems! They are quite reasonably priced and have adorable selections for kids!

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  2. Crystal

    05/25/2017

    Glad it’s over w/, for BOTH of your sakes! Lol. When I was a baby (34 yrs. Ago) My mom had my ears pierced at 6 mos. at the Pediatricians office. So, thankfully that was pain free & completely UNMEMORABLE for me! 🙂 I do have to admit, that the pics of me being little w/pierced ears really are pretty cute- just something about a little babe w/cute little studs in their ears I guess.
    I too have SUPER sensitive skin (even more so then) & mine were pierced with solid gold & diamond studs. My mom wasn’t about to take any chances w/any part of the earrings causing me skin issues. But, a few months later, standing in my playpen, my mom notice me standing up, leaning up against the mesh walls & frame with my back to her… & no toys in my hands/general vicinity….YET, I was EXTREMELY intrigued w/something I was holding… Yep, you guessed it, one of the diamond studs! She watched in horror as I reached my hand over the side of the playpen & dropped it onto the floor & then giggled & clapped! Ha! My parents never did find that one, & by sheer luck found the other one that I had already taken out of my ears without being caught. I somehow managed to figure out how to get them out even w/”childproof” safety backs on them- oops!
    Once I was a teenager, I REALLLLLY wanted a 2nd hole & my parents told me no a million times- After I was 18, I decided to get it done & all I can say is…. WOWZERS did it HURT!!! I am still happy w/it, but I can also say, that if I had had any recollection of how much the 1st holes must have hurt, I’m not so sure that I would have gone thru w/it…regardless of how much I wanted it! I honestly couldn’t believe how much it hurt! Lol- I would not happily volunteer for it again! Cute or not 🙂

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  3. Janine

    05/24/2017

    Wow. I have 2 girls. The older one was never interested but the younger one wanted to pierce hers pretty young. I just told her she couldn’t get hers pierced until she was 14. I highly recommend waiting until they’re older for purely selfish reasons of my own. No screaming to endure and they take care of all the follow-up. We even made her pay for part of it. Win-win!

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  4. KR

    05/23/2017

    I’ll say this because no one warned me when I was younger – but apparently when playing sports it’s a good idea to take out the earrings and put in spacers. No one told me and a soccer ball pushed my earring in through my ear into my neck when I was 8. I didn’t get my ears pierced again until I was 12 it scared me so much! Fortunately, after some bad experience getting both helix piercings and then having to take them out when I developed keloids, getting my second holes was no problem. I’d get my third if I had room 🙂

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    Andrea Reply:

    yeah, every sports team I’ve ever been on from 5-year-old soccer through college athletics has required the removal of all jewelry and hard hair accessories prior to the game. Probably for this very reason!

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  5. Katharine

    05/23/2017

    Poor kiddo! Can I ask why you bothered with the other ear after she said no? Would it really matter if she only had one earring?

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  6. Caroline

    05/23/2017

    Where in the world would you ever have spent $200 on ear piercing?! Unheard of

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    Andrea Reply:

    I called several local places and it was around $90-$100 per person (including earrings), and since Nora got her’s pierced and I got mine double-pierced… the math adds up!

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    lyss Reply:

    I was going to ask the same thing! I think we only paid like $15 or $20. Granted it was 20 yrs ago, but still. We just went to Claire’s and I don’t remember it hurting at all. I guess everyone’s experience is different!
    My daughter’s private school doesn’t allow jewelry until jr. high, so I told her there’s no point in getting them pierced until then.

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  7. ShellyL

    05/23/2017

    Wow! Thanks for always keeping it real. Poor Miss Nora! Seriously, I made the same decision as you to wait until my older daughter asked for them, which just happened to be five. It’s a great age to do it, but I wouldn’t have cared if she wasn’t interested. Ours was much less dramatic. The second ear took bribery and cajoling, but it worked. She did cry quite a bit and I felt guilty, which was always a big issue with my first. I now have another daughter who is four and hasn’t mentioned ear piercing. We will see if she thinks of it around the same time.

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    Andrea Reply:

    Yeah, I honestly didn’t feel that ‘bad’ because I warned her over and over and over again how much it would hurt but she insisted. Plus, she honestly has the lowest pain tolerance of anyone I’ve ever met, so I knew she would scream even if it was just a tiny prick.

    That said, I do wish I would have thought about the Tattoo parlor instead — that sounds like a less painful option. However, Nora loved doing it at her friend’s house!

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  8. JoDi

    05/23/2017

    Wow, that was dramatic! I got my ears pierced at around 12 years old, and it was terribly painful, but I did let them do the other side. Not sure I’d go back for more holes now though. I thought about it a few years ago and just never did it. If I did I’d probably take the recommendations from some of the other commenters and go to a piercing parlor. It sounds much less painful!

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    Andrea Reply:

    I got mine pierced when I was 5 and honestly don’t remember a thing. My mom said I didn’t even cry. The 2nd hole however, was SUPER painful for me. I’ve heard that the farther back they go, the more painful it is — so maybe that’s why my 2nd hole hurt more. Either way, I’m glad we’re done with piercing for Nora (and for me!)

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  9. Kelly

    05/23/2017

    Oh my gosh this was like reading my own personal story also when i was 5! The only difference was my mum didn’t have to hold me down in the end. The bribe worked but…. i still remember the pain. I moved over the pain pretty quickly and i loved showing people my earrings

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    Andrea Reply:

    Yeah, thankfully Nora got over it really quickly too. She was happy-go-lucky by dinner time and really never mentioned any ear pain or discomfort ever again. I’m glad we did it — but I’m certainly glad it’s over too!

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  10. Michelle

    05/23/2017

    I took a job in college piercing ears. Never again. The place pierced for babies and I couldn’t refuse as an agreement to be hired. Same thing, only one worker so only one gun. The baby moved at the last minute so the back of the earring dropped low where you could see it under the ear. I felt like a monster pulling it out to redo that ear and then the other ear. I don’t normally have strong parenting opinions, but I think you did the right thing to wait until Nora was old enough to ask for it.

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    Andrea Reply:

    oh my word, that’s horrible. I can’t even imagine if Nora would have moved. I probably would have just let the hole close up and tried again a few years down the road.

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  11. Karen Shireman

    05/23/2017

    Oh Andrea……my youngest just turned 9 and it seems like our girls are two peas in a pod….as I’ve followed your journey with Nora ~ I promise you I have experienced the exact things with my Kate. Thankfully just in the last few months the changes have been rapid fire ~ although I expect the same exact reaction to ear piercing that you just described, so it may be many years before we reach that milestone. I so wish I had done it at the pediatricians office when she was a baby. Ha ~ thanks for reminding me to not keep asking if she wants it done ~ She had braces and an expander put on last February (I still cannot believe she let them do that). Only to return 2 days later to have it all removed. She refused to eat or drink and it was a total disaster. Ugh…..I was relieved recently when our pediatrician told us the same thing happened to his daughter….it’s amazing how different our children are ~ I had very little issues with my older two girls.

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    Andrea Reply:

    wow — that’s intense (With the braces). I can just about imagine all the comments you got about “giving in” or being a “pushover”. however, I totally know how you feel — there is absolutely NO persuading or bribing them when they get that stubborn. Good for you for actually listening to your little girl!

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  12. Tonya

    05/23/2017

    My sister took my daughter @ 6 weeks with my permission. It went smoothly with a few minutes of tears. I promptly had a video and pictures. I am glad it is over. I think it was easier to clean and less traumatic as an itty bitty.

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  13. Avia

    05/23/2017

    My almost 4 & 1/2 year old asked about getting her ears pierces lately and I told her she could do it on her 5th birthday if she wanted. Then I told her it would hurt a little; like a shot. She immediately lost interest! If she gets interested again I think I’d better up the pain level description because I could see us having a replay of your experience!

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    Andrea Reply:

    yeah, I was hoping Nora would lose interest too (once I told her how badly it would hurt). Surprisingly, she didn’t even seem to care one bit… until that first earring went in! At least it’s done now!

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  14. Amy O

    05/23/2017

    I love that you shared this store, Andrea! Keeping it real. My daughter thought she wanted her ears pierced when she was maybe 5 or 6 years old. We happened to be in a Claire’s boutique just browsing when another child was having it done. This child screamed one of the loudest screams I’ve ever heard (although at least they had two people so she got both ears at once.) Once my daughter witnessed this, she has never gotten brave enough to get her ears pierced. And she is 10 now. It still cracks me up!

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    Andrea Reply:

    haha — that’s great! Maybe I should have brought Nora in to watch somoene else first!

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  15. LEANNE HEERN

    05/23/2017

    and this is why I’m glad I have 3 boys…. 🙂
    you are one brave mama!!!

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    Andrea Reply:

    yeah, that’s one perk of all boys!

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  16. Kelly S

    05/23/2017

    Hahaha. I’m sorry for Nora’s pain (and yours!) but this story did give my husband and I a chuckle this morning, I read some of it aloud to him. We have a daughter turning five in a few weeks and I can imagine her in Nora’s shoes! Glad it eventually all worked out…

    I got my ears pierced at age six, and don’t remember it very well. I got my second holes done as a college student and loved having double piercings. Unfortunately, pregnancy has caused a weird sensitivity to earrings for me so I haven’t worn them anymore since having kids, but it was fun for the 20-some years I had them! 🙂

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    Andrea Reply:

    Hi Kelly, sorry for the delayed response — your comment ended up in the trash and I’m just seeing it now.

    I wanted to mention that I have 2 friends who developed a sensitivity to ALL jewelry after having children. Both of them even had to stop wearing their wedding rings! Anyway, they both found that they COULD wear Platinum jewelry — just not gold or white gold.

    not sure if it would work for you — but it’s worth mentioning 🙂

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  17. Alyssa

    05/23/2017

    We had similar trauma with ear piercings. She was 6 and so for Christmas dad took her to get it done. (We have cute the pictures!) But about 3 weeks afterwards, during a wrestling match with he big brother one earring got ripped out. It didnt rip he ear, but it was a bloody mess and I didnt know till an hour or so afterwards and could not get the earring back in. So for the next month she only had 1 ear pierced!!! She refused to get it done again!!!! Finally my husband had enough and took her back to the mall, she was not happy. And they couldn’t reuse the gold stud, so now she has 2 different earrings in, but thankfully both are pierced!!! Lol I have no intention of changing them anytime soon!

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    Andrea Reply:

    oh no — that sound horrible! It’s amazing how quickly the holes close up. About a month after getting her ears pierced, Nora got a bunch of hair wrapped around one earring and I had to take the earring out to get the hair off. It was only out for about 2 minutes and I still struggled to get it back in. Now I know why they say “don’t ever take the earring out”

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  18. Holly

    05/23/2017

    Good job Nora!

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  19. Tamara

    05/23/2017

    I have 4 daughters with a 15 year age span. I always planned that I wouldn’t encourage ear piercing until the girls were nearly adults. When the 2 teenage sisters decided to get their ears pierced my 8 year old begged and begged and I gave in. We went to a piercing and tattoo parlor for this, with the logic being that they have to really know their stuff to pierce lips and tongues and everything else. It was outside my norm, but they were so great and professional, like seeing a doctor with alternative fashion sense. Anyway, the two teens were done quickly with no issues. 8 year old Talia’s turn came and she stepped up and happily got one ear pierced and would not give final consent for the other. She wanted to, but at the last moment would say “No!”. We left and came back 2 weeks later, “No!”. Two weeks later, “No!”.

    Talia is 12 now and still only pierced in one ear. Her family nick name is “Once Poked”. My new piercing policy, both for Talia’s other ear and for our 4 year old, is that you can get pierced after you get braces on your teeth. My theory is that orthodontics toughens up your pain tolerance. This mama doesn’t want to go through any more piercing trauma!

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    Andrea Reply:

    wow — that sort of cracks me up!
    It’s probably harder to force and 8 year old to do something versus a 5 year old. I felt bad forcing Nora and holding her down, but I knew she’d never ever agree to get the 2nd earring later — so I am glad we just got it done right away (even with all the screaming!)

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  20. Heidi

    05/23/2017

    Aww poor Miss Nora. Glad it’s done and over for her and she is happy with the results. Our family tradition is to pierce their ears when they are about 4 weeks old. I don’t know why, it’s just something we do. All three of my girls had them done at around that age. I will say that it seemed easier to keep them clean and maintain them when they were itty bitty.

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  21. Jennifer

    05/23/2017

    I have twin girls who just had their ears pierced about 9 months ago at age 8. I felt the same as you, no strong feelings either way. But I was also really worried about the pain, as one of the girls has sensory issues (she is autistic) and the other is just afraid of everything. But they wanted earrings so bad! After a little research, I ended up taking them to a piercing parlor and it was an incredible experience. I had never been in one before (and probably will never again!) but it was great! There was a separate room and it felt very much like a doctor’s office. The man who did the piercing was very calm, explained everything and was super patient with my overly excited girls. The cool part was they use needles instead of “guns” to do the piercing, so it wasn’t traumatic, no “punching” in of a blunt end stud. So even though each ear was separate, it was from my perspective completely painless for them. Neither girl so much as flinched while he was piercing them. They were all smiles the whole time. Definitely worth the trip to the specialty shop.

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    Michelle Reply:

    I’ve heard this method is much better than the traditional gun the mall stores use!!

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    Julie Reply:

    Yes, I would totally recommend gojng to a piercing/tattoo parlor

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    Andrea Reply:

    I so wish I would have heard or thought of this — I’m wondering if it would have saved us lots of drama. Although, letting a stranger touch her probably wouldn’t have gone over very well either. At least now, her friend’s mom could do it 🙂

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    Andrea Reply:

    I SO wish I would have known about this — maybe for the next little girl I’ll do it this way!

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  22. Amber Woods

    05/23/2017

    This makes me laugh in complete dread of what our experience is going to be like. Lily Kate has been asking for a while to get her ears pierced. We got the 5 year shots yesterday complete with screaming. Although I will say she didn’t even shed a tear for her blood draw before the shots. I think I definitely want to go somewhere we can get them both done at the same time.

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    Andrea Reply:

    if you do 2 at a time, she won’t know what’s happening until it’s too late — and then you’ll be done. We really wouldn’t of had any major issues (besides crying) if we had done both ears at the exact same time.

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  23. Paula

    05/23/2017

    I wanted my ears double pierced when I was in HS. My dad said he was fine if I wanted another set of ‘holes’ in my head. LOL I thought it hurt worse the second time too.

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  24. Mary Catherine Martinez

    05/23/2017

    I’m one of the few who has made it to 32 without pierced ears. I’d probably wear the same ones everyday like you do. Totally not interested in them.

    This story makes me not want them even more, lol!

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    Tina Reply:

    I’m not interested in them either.

    Unfortunately my mom pierced my ears at 3 and they got horribly infected. Now at 32 I just have holes in my ears and have never wore savings.

    My daughter will at least have to have her period before I agree to piercing.

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