The inner voice

October 1, 2009 at 8:39 am Leave a comment

is getting stronger and gaining clarity as each day passes. One more little step (or was it a big one?) is in progress. My darling daughter decided she wants to pierce her tongue. My immediate gut reaction was: No.

She tried to win me over with the argument: “At least I don’t want to pierce my lip, eyebrow, ears, neck or nose! In my mouth, nobody would see it.” I knew that the feeling in my stomach had nothing to do with her appearance.

A couple of years ago, she bombarded me into letting her go with her grandmother (who also had a belly button and nose piercing) to get her belly button pierced. I wasn’t happy about it.

Early this year, it was a tattoo. I felt a bit funny, but agreed — and got a tattoo myself. In fact, we did it together, and took turns holding each other’s hand and popping M&M’s into each other’s mouth to bear the pain. It was nice, but even that happened too quickly for my taste.

This time she tried it again. She explained that a new classmate’s mother has a piercing studio and she could get a tongue piercing as an early birthday present. Yesterday morning, 2 minutes before she had to run out the door to school, she shoved the permission form under my nose and said I had to sign it right away. I refused, and she ran out the door. In a weak impulse, I signed it.

Yesterday afternoon we stopped by to visit her father, and she discussed it with him. During the drive there, I said I wanted his opinion as well. The piercing and tattoo I had done on my own responsibility, but I reminded her that he is also her parent and has some say in the matter. As expected, he was vehemently against it.

Meanwhile, I had crossed out my signature. She found the form and was furious, as she’d planned to fake my signature. The weeping number (“poor me”) didn’t work, so then she told me that she hated me, and said a few choice words. Remembering our little talk about hurtful statements last week, she added: “I know what I just said and I really mean it!”

I went to the movies, knowing full well that in her rage, she might be tempted to lock me out of the apartment, or go out. Earlier she had asked if she could go out in the evening with some friends, but I’d said: “No, not on a school night.” (Yup! Two “No’s” in one day — sometimes that is necessary.)

When I got home, the door was open and she was home — but still in a bad mood. I did some research on the internet about tongue piercing and possible complications, and decided to stick to my decision. That’s it.

She was still annoyed this morning. I gave her a couple of things to read that I had printed out — an article about the risks, and a first-hand bad experience. She wasn’t impressed and said she knew already. But the discussion was over.

It is clear to me that she is very stubborn and may find a way to get a new form, forge my signature, and do it this afternoon after school. I have to let go. But I know I made the right decision because it feels right inside. That’s still an unfamiliar feeling, but the more I make such decisions, the more familiar it becomes.

During the past few years I felt guilty and sad about all the child-rearing mistakes I made. Gradually I have been able to let go of that and focus on now. What happens now is what matters. I cannot change the past, nor can I deny the grief. But I definitely can determine what I do and say today.

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Entry filed under: Learning to say NO, mothers and daughters. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

A story for my daughter One step back

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