I want to have a little chat about earrings, simple stud earrings, the kind of item most schools allow children to wear. When Helen, my eldest daughter, got her ears pierced, I never appreciated quite how much of my time and money would be spent dealing with earrings.
Earrings, especially studs, seem to fit into the same category as felt tip pens and socks. As soon as they come into your house, they seem to either vanish or break.
I’ll give you a classic example. Just before the half-term break Helen came home from school without the school-uniform compliant studs in her ears that she had been wearing. She’d had to remove them for a PE lesson and they’d been left in her locker at school, remaining on the premises for the week-long break.
When she returned, I gave her strict instructions to check her locker as soon as she could. Were they in the locker? Of course not. It subsequently transpired for some odd reason (I didn’t understand the logic) that a friend had cleared her locker out for her, seen the earrings and put them back. Despite this, they were nowhere to be found.
We went off to the local jewellers and bought another pair of sterling silver studs. Helen asked if she could put them in while we were in the car. Like a fool, I said yes.
Why oh why did I agree to this? When I was a kid, my mum and stepdad had very strict rules about what could and could not be done in cars. I was never permitted to open a parcel, letter or remove a brand-new toy from its packaging while in the car.
As a child I always felt they were being very mean. As a father, I understand exactly why they had that rule.
We’ve all been there, right? You allow your kid to open something in the car and within seconds it’s lost between a space in the back seat or gets dropped down into some obscure, hard-to-reach part of the vehicle. You’re forced to rip the car apart with an upset child standing over you, waiting for you to retrieve their lost Pokémon card / LEGO brick / 20 pence piece or whatever it is that’s gone missing.
I hardly need to tell you what happened when I said she could put the earrings in, do I? Yeah, that’s right, within seconds, one of them was lost somewhere in the rear of the car.
I had to get the kids out of the car individually and I then went through the back seat like a scene-of-crime police officer. As I did so, I was cursing myself for being so stupid as to let Helen remove four tiny pieces of sterling silver from their packaging and let her put them in her ears while we were in the car.
This is just one instance where earrings have gone awry. Last summer, Helen’s aunt very kindly bought her a large selection of 20 earrings from a store that’s very popular with young kids.
As the weeks went by, we had to take the difficult decision to bin some of the pairs. This wasn’t us being ungrateful, it’s just that they weren’t made from the best quality materials. When Helen wore them, her ears went an interesting shade of green (If my sister reads this, I apologise, but I suspect you would have done the same).
Of the pairs we did keep, Helen managed to liberally scatter them across her bedroom until eventually there were no pairs left. A few single earrings are still lurking around, but the pairs have gone their separate ways. This, I should add, despite me buying Helen a jewellery box and insisting that all her earrings be stored within it.
Countless other earrings have been lost since Helen’s ears were pierced. I really don’t want to think how much we’ve spent on replacing earrings.
Anyway, Mrs Adams and I have decided that we’re through with paying for replacements. From now on, if Helen needs replacement earrings, she will have to pay for them using her pocket money. She’s also been equipped with a small bag so that when she takes them out for her PE lessons, she has somewhere to store them.
There’s a punchline to all of this. When I gave Helen her new studs, I gave her new rules about looking after them.
A whole 90 minutes later, I had to take Helen to a sports club for a weekly session she does. As I dropped her off, I noticed she only had one of the brand-new, sterling silver studs in her ear.
I asked where the other one was.
“Oh, it’s in my bedroom,” she said.
I couldn’t quite believe what I was hearing. Less than two hours ago I’d purchased Helen a replacement pair of earrings and issued instructions to ensure they didn’t get lost. I decided the best course of action was to stay silent, but my blood pressure was so high it was somewhere near the International Space Station.
As it turned out, Helen knew exactly where the missing earring was. It was put straight back in her ear after her sports club session and it hasn’t been removed since, although words were had about leaving one stud lying around in her room.
When Mrs Adams and I agreed Helen could have her ears pierced last year, we never thought earrings would become quite such a big deal. If your child is getting their ears pierced in the near future, be warned you may need to keep a very, very close eye on their jewellery.
Do your children have pierced ears? Have they lost numerous earrings? How foolish was I for letting Helen put the earrings in her ear while in the car? Do leave a comment below with your thoughts.