okay, so i just finished gluing his ears with great success, this time i used a toothpick to pull the eyelash glue from the vial, rather than a Q-tip.
also, i used no cotton, just glued the ear to itself.
i waited until he was asleep and did it without much trouble at all.
he woke up and shook it loose a few times, but a light re-coating along the outside of the "breaks" was all i needed to get it set back into place.
hopefully that'll clear things up for anyone else having noob problems