When my three year old, O, was a baby, she was constantly mistaken for a boy. I was anti-pink for the first few months of her life and all babies look alike, so it wasn’t that odd. I brushed it off, no big deal. Many times I didn’t even correct the offender, which led to some awkward follow up encounters. Picture a crowded waiting room. I am sitting there with O minding my own business. This lady begins fawning all over “him” for a solid 15 minutes. I never once corrected her. O and I were called back into the exam room and I hoped that was the end of that. I felt a little guilty not setting the record straight, but really it isn’t the biggest deal…until you are leaving the office and you run into someone you know. Obviously this person will loudly refer to your child by her actual gender and the waiting room lady will be all “why didn’t you say anything”? I am nothing if not awkward.
It didn’t matter if O was wearing a full on pink dress with ruffles, people (mostly old men) still insisted that she was a boy. Someone suggested getting her ears pierced. I thought this was a solid idea, however her pediatrician doesn’t pierce and I am super lazy so it didn’t happen…until yesterday ( more on that later). I had more or less come to terms with O’s involuntary gender reassignment but I started correcting people more often. That is until I had the strangest encounter with a woman who lived in my building. She gets into the elevator and immediately looks into the stroller. She smiles at O and begins cooing at her. She remarks on how cute “he” is. I am about to correct her when she adds ” wait is it a she”? I respond in the affirmative. She then goes on to say how O looks just like her son…who is 47. Wait just a minute… so you are saying that my six month old precious female child looks like your middle aged son? What does that even mean? I did not know how to respond. I was completely dumbstruck, which happens exactly never. Thankfully the elevator opened at my floor, and I left as quickly as possible with my tank of a stroller and shopping bags (read: very, very slowly). I never really corrected anyone after that because… no thanks.
So back to the piercing. Has anyone else ever brought their toddler and 8 month old into a glorified head shop for body piercing? I didn’t think so. D and I toyed with the idea of taking O to a mall kiosk but she had a complete meltdown and we bagged the plan. However, O talked about it non-stop for days. Crying about how she wanted real earrings. It was relaxing. I saw a window of opportunity when we spent the morning with one of my best friends, M. O LOVES Aunt M. It borders on obsession. It is very adorable. I knew if Aunt M came with us the likelihood of us leaving with pierced ears was exponentially raised.
There was one thing I knew for sure, I wanted a place that did both ears at once. I had visions of O flipping her shit after the first one and then refusing to do the other one. I am a fan of symmetry so I really wanted to avoid that fiasco. We went to the store, which is located in a very nice Long Island town and sells $100 yoga pants next to the incense, Grateful Dead posters and hacky sacks. Upon entry, I realized that we had a problem. This particular head shop was not stroller friendly. The nerve of these people! The girl behind the counter actually said,”we don’t get many strollers in here”. Oh ya think lady? Only this candidate for mother of the year would even attempt this. I parked the stroller near the counter (knocking into countless baja sweatshirts on the way) and carried baby S so as not to completely destroy the floor plan.
I was really second guessing my venue choice but it turned out for the best. The piercer had her own room which was as sterile as any hospital I have ever been to. She was amazing with O, who can be very prickly. She showed me her licensing, the pristine package and needle and we were good to go. Until she said “ok I am about to do the first ear”. Oh shit! The first ear??? Aunt M and I looked at each other with dread. Even baby S knew that this was the worst case scenario. O was blissfully unaware. I decided to let it ride and to my surprise O took it like a champ. A champ who cried for about 5 minutes, but she rebounded quickly. She is so proud of herself and her earrings. She’s a tough little dude.