As Dove’s 8th birthday approached earlier this summer, she excitedly announced that her mother would be taking her to get her ears pierced. I smiled, but I groaned inwardly, because I already knew what that meant. Crow wants the accolades of being the one to get Dove’s ears pierced, but she would have nothing to do with the care and maintenance of those piercings. Guess who would be cleaning up more of Crow’s messes?
Sure enough, over the past few months, Crow has reliably demonstrated her complete ignorance or her absolute lack of concern for Dove’s piercings. Right off the bat, Gary and I were cleaning Dove’s ears to remove dried blood and crusts of pus. When Crow changed the earrings too soon from the starter set to some cheap, large earrings guaranteed to snag on something, we bit our tongues and helped Dove clean the inevitable infection that set in.
This past weekend, however, took the cake. Not long after the kids were dropped off, Dove complained that her ear hurt. When I checked, I saw that one of the earring backs was jammed so tight against the back of her ear that it was denting her skin. She told me her mother had put the backs on tight “so they wouldn’t come out”. Well, they weren’t coming out, all right. It would take the jaws of life to get those damn earrings off.
I tried to gently slide the earring back, but it was crammed on so tight, I couldn’t. Dove whimpered that it hurt, and I told her it was going to keep hurting until I could get it loosened. She gripped my arm and tensed as I tried again. This time I was able to slide it back, and immediately, a reddish concoction began pouring out.
I grabbed a tissue, hoping to blot it up before Dove saw it. Not surprisingly, being 8 years old, she didn’t react well to seeing so much blood, her own blood, mottled on the tissue. The earring back had been on so tight that none of the infection’s pus could seep out until I slid the earring back away from her wounded ear. Bumps had formed over both the front and the back of the piercing.
Many cotton balls, tissues, dabs of alcohol, tears, and hugs later, Gary and I had both earrings removed and both of Dove’s poor ears doctored up. She cried, and I seethed, furious that Crow allowed the infection to get so horrible. Actually I’m quite sure she didn’t even know, because not caring grants her the luxury of oblivion.
I wasn’t surprised when Dove said she didn’t want to put any earrings back in. I cleaned the offending earrings and put them into a plastic bag for her to take back to Crow.
Dove’s ears looked much better by Sunday evening. The puffiness had gone down, they weren’t red anymore, nothing was seeping out of the piercings. I am still horrified how bad they were allowed to get. What if the kids weren’t with us this past weekend? Dove would still be walking around with an ear ready to burst with infection.
I won’t be surprised if, just for spite, just to feel like the all-powerful mama, Crow jammed those earrings back into Dove’s sore ears last night, whether she wanted them back in or not. And I surely won’t be surprised when we have to clean up another infection next time the kids are home.