Our story begins in a very unrelated manner, in a distant land far far away, with another family with two little girls.
This other family lives in Nicaragua, but wanted to spend the fall visiting their beloved siblings, parents, cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and the occasional not-really-related-but-still-part-of-the-family member.
Plane tickets were purchased and excitement grew, and soon they had departed onto the first league of their journey up to California.
But quickly, a problem presented itself.
The second league of their grand journey was to go out to the Washington DC area. In November. Where it will be substantially colder than either Nicaragua or California.
And so, they turned to me.
And asked if I happened to have a winter coat their oldest little girl could use. And maybe some warm clothes as well??
Well, we have been exceptionally blessed on receiving all sorts of hand-me-down clothes during my girls' little lives, and it just so happened that a few weeks ago we were given a winter coat for Kristina.
Which was exceptionally good, as the one she had been using was from last year, and getting rather small.
So I thought, of course we can have a winter jacket your perfectly sized one size smaller little girl can use! And we have several boxes full of all the warm pants and shirts Kristina outgrew from last year that are just sitting there under her bed, it would be no problem at all to pull out a few outfits and mail them off!
And then, I mentioned to Kristina that we were going to send her very-nearly-too-small-to-put-on jacket to her cousin.
And Kristina flipped out.
Sobbed hysterically she started clinging to her jacket like a lovey, refusing to put it down while repeating over and over again how much she loved her flowered jacket.
But... it's too small for you anyways honey, and now you have the new bigger purple jacket to wear.....
Such logical arguments didn't matter in the least. She was NOT willingly sending that coat to her cousin.
So I took a different tactic, and started discussing whether we could get her something special to replace her much-more-beloved-than-I-had-any-idea jacket because she was such a big girl and all.
One of the (many) things I suggested was to go get her ears pierced with special flower earrings.
At the time, she wasn't taken with that idea (or any of them), and I finally gave up making any progress on the topic in general and said we'd discuss it later.
But the next day, she said she wanted to send her flower jacket to her cousin and to get her ears pierced with flower earrings ALL ON HER OWN.
YESSSSSS! It worked! It actually worked!!! I AM supermom! *happy dance*
She put the coat in the box herself, and insisted on helping to tape it up (interesting side note: taping a box with two small children "helping" makes the whole process much more involved, time consuming, and exhausting).
The plan was to mail off the big flower-coat-containing-box, and then go to the mall to get her ears pierced.
I kept asking her if she was sure she wanted to during our trip to the post office, and she kept answering in a very mature way that yes, she wanted to go get her ears pierced with flower earrings.
I did start to worry a little, wondering whether there would be flower earrings as an option, but took a leap of faith that Claire's would have something for her to choose with a high level of little girl appeal. Oh, and told myself I could just get her a nice little pair of flowered earrings for Christmas if needed, as that would be right about when she could take out the original piercing studs anyways and wouldn't that just be the perfect little special thing to put in stocking?
And then, we arrived at the mall.
I was amazed by how similar of an experience it was to when I got my very own ears pierced at Claire's 20 years ago, remembering my own mother signing the same consent form and them drawing purple dots on my ear lobs and looking for her approval.
The only difference I saw at all, in fact, was that now they use little plastic sliders to put the earrings in instead of the larger guns of the past.
Kristina carefully eyeballed the earring selection chart (which still had the lame birthstone ones, which I viewed with scorn just as much as I did when I selected my little gold hearts for my first earrings), and while I breathed a sigh of relief seeing some cute little pink flowers on there, she said wanted the largest gaudiest fake diamond pair.
But after a moment of me rather stupidly repeatedly asking "but don't you want the PINK FLOWERS?", it occurred to me that the only earrings she ever sees me wears are my little diamond studs, and that she probably wanted to get earrings just like Mommy's.
So I let my disdain of fake diamond earrings on little girls go, and told the Claire's employee that she wanted the smallest pair of fake diamond studs.
(Shhhhhhh.... don't tell Kristina I switched earrings on her....)
Kristina confidently got up into the piercing chair, graciously shared the piercing teddy bear with Adrianna (who only destroyed three display racks during the whole thing, which counts as an exceptionally well behaved child in my book), and excitedly watched the piercing lady get stuff ready.
And then, there was this moment just before she started piercing, where Kristina got really still and quiet and her eyes started to grow large.
Are you ok honey, I asked her, having seen that face many a time just before she completely looses her cool.
But she nodded, and said she still wanted to get her ears pierced, so I let that moment go.
(That was a mistake.)
The piercer 1-2-3ed her left earring in quick as a snap.
And then, there was this very brief moment where you could actually SEE Kristina's brain processing all of this, before she started sobbing "ouchy ouchy ouchy".
(We should have used the brief moment to get the second one in as well, but that is hindsight talking.)
The piercer was very good with her, and cleaned her ear off and got her calmed down.
But then she went to pierce the right lobe.
And Kristina flipped out.
She wouldn't let the piercer anywhere near her head, screaming substantially longer and louder than she had after the first earring, kicking and thrashing about as though she was being attacked by rabid possums.
Time and time again the piercer would back off, we'd talk to her some, she'd get calmed down, I'd agree to demands like her wanting to get nail polish once we were done with her ears, the piercer would promise extra suckers, and we'd try again.
And as soon as the piercer got close to her ear, Kristina would lock right back into panic mode screaming at the top of her lungs and spazing all over the place.
I finally decreed that either she sit and let her right lobe get pierced or we were leaving. No more chances, no more arguments.
Sadly, when one makes threats like that as a parent one has to be willing to carry through on them. Even when it means dragging your now-hysterical-because-she-didn't-get-her-second-ear-pierced child to the car with only one shiny fake diamond earring that still cost you the whole $53.68 post tax.
Oh, and I'm pretty sure I remembered to bring Adrianna with us too.
As we were getting into the car, Kristina started carrying on about her (very much singular) earing itching just horribly. And I have to admit, at that point my patience with her on this issue was just a little bit thin, so I simply told her we would be taking it out as soon as we got home.
Eventually, she did stop the dramatic sobbing enough to ask if I was still mad at her.
No honey, Mommy's not mad at you. Mommy is just sad, because she really wanted today to be a special fun day (remember how you got to play hooky from preschool for this??) and then it wasn't.
*sigh sigh sigh*