Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Are You There God? It's Me, And I'm FREAKING OUT!

It's a really cool feeling to enter your daughter's bedroom in the morning in order to wake her, only to find her already awake and reading in bed. Before school.

"It's time to get dressed, girl."

"No Mom! I just want to read!"

Music to my ears, and yet . . . there are THOSE books lurking on the shelves at the library. The same books I used to smuggle into the house under my mother's nose. My mother, who was incredibly keen, with a great sense of smell. She knew exactly what I was hiding, for she was always one step ahead of me, in terms of knowing what the "hot" books were for young adults.

As an adult, I now realize that adults actually talk to one another and thus, we are not as naive to trends and fads as our youngin's may think. And what we don't know firshand, we'll just learn about from another Mom. And the internet.

Like, which books are hot.

Like, which books you, the parent, should most definitely read first - before your child.

I am not one for censoring reading material. I would much rather read a controversial book myself so that I can actually hold a conversation on the content with my child. Take Twilight. While I don't feel the series is appropriate for anyone in elementary school, you better know that 5th graders are reading it - either with their parents knowledge, or in secret. And if they aren't reading it at home, just know that they are are sneaking peaks at it at school or the library, or a friend's house. And yes, she will read it Mom. Somewhere. Somehow.

So, why not read it first? What are we so scared of?

I did. The entire series. And my kid is barely 9, and not interested. But she knows about Twilight. Ok, not the details of it, but she's heard talk. I figure I might as well be prepared to talk about it, by actually reading the series, as I can't stand the "Well, I heard's" or "So and so said". Just read it, already, so you can have an actual personal opinion about it rather than relying solely on a critique from some internet site. Do your own homework.

Here, on this turf, we're not dealing with Twilight. Harper could care less, right now, with anything having to do with a boy and a girl liking each other in any way other than how well they can battle with light sabers. And honestly, we're not dealing with any other controversial novels at this point in time either.

However, we recently entered into Blume territory at the local library.

Harper has read "Freckle Juice" and the entire "Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing" series. "Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great" was checked out when it was time to read that one (for those of you who like order), but Harper enjoyed the series so much that she went back to read it even though she had already finished all the other books in the series.

So then what gave me a mini heart attack and the motivation for this post?

"Hey, Mom, here's one here about a girl named Margaret, and God."

Dry mouth. Flashbacks of "I must. I must. I must increase my bust." (It doesn't work).


(Insert Matrixy move to swipe the book out of her hands and then bury it somewhere in the adult non-fiction books about auto-repair or birds of prey - I don't know).

And then of course, there was the close neighbor of Margaret's book: "Forever". Ah, the young adult novel of my generation. The one I snuck into the house after a slumber party with my gymnastic team. The one my mother sweat out of me. I swear she saw me tucking that book into my jacket before I even left my friend's house. She was that good.

And then, I should add - she let me read it.

Thankfully, Harper didn't think that anything about Margaret and God was more interesting that Sheila the Great, so there was no need to get into it with her. And really, I just would have said, "Harps, that book is a little too old for you."

But just thinking about the discussions that are down the pike gave me hives. Once the coast was clear, and Harper had walked away from Blume territory with her Sheila book, I made a beeline to the librarians desk where I started pilfering leftover Halloween candy from her bowl.

I will be counting on the women who have gone before me to help walk me through the whole appropriate reading material discussion that I will one day have with my child.

And until that time, you'll find me hanging out in the children's section of the library reading junior and young adult novels.

Armed and ready.

Locked and loaded.

Reliving those fragile years of my life that I'd rather not relive - well, unless I could relive them with straight feathered hair and Jordache jeans.


Riki said...

Twilight is a BIG topic at my house. They want to read it. "But mom, everyone else is reading it". They know I have read it....they are NOT going to read it until, well, I haven't figured that one out yet but it will be years as far as I am concerned.

"Why?" they ask...."Because it is way too old for you and I could name five moms who are NOT letting their children read it as well."

For now, they are fine with that but there will come a day that"the smuggling under the jacket" will occur. Maybe it will be with Harper LOL...ugh. Tough stuff!


Stace said...

I LOVE reading the Young Adultd genre...books that weren't out when we were kids! Yes, I agree that (with conversations) kids should be able to read even questionable books. I just tell my kids to be prepared to discuss...x,y, and z. BUT, I confess, that I usually read the book before they do. Oftentimes, I'm the one who suggests a certain book.

Cuppa Jo said...

@ Riki: think on this . . . mother/daughter bookclub

@ Stace: I actually thought of you while writing this as I know you have a love of the young adult novel and that your girls are verocious readers. I like the way you think. Yes, WE, must actually get our noses in books and read them either before or along with our children.

Angie said...

Funny, I just checked out Twilight - I want to see what all the hype is about. I also checked out Julie & Julia but found the book boring and too casually written. Lots of slang, etc.

Anna can read bigger books but still enjoys cruising through 10 or 15 picture books. And Little House on the Prairie of course. :)

thecurryseven said...

We're pretty lenient in the what to read department around here. If a book is questionable, I will read it so I can discuss it. Some books I will ask the child to wait until they're are older to read, always explaining the reasons why. I can think of only a few books that I've requested my children not read...once again always explaining why. I think it helps that I am transparant in my own choice of reading material...I will explain why I have chosen not to read something or why I have stopped reading a certain book. As a result, I have witnessed my children choose to not finish a book because they didn't think it was God honoring.

I did let M. read was the 'all my friends are' thing. I didexplain that I wasn't thrilled about the topic and why and left it at that. Well, as much as I don't talk about anything. She has since gotten rid of her copies because they were too conflicting with her faith.

I am often more selective in what my younger children read than my older ones. Once one has the ear for good literature, it's difficult to accept drivel. And truly so many books that aren't good for you are also badly written. It's the books that aren't good for you, but are well written that I am most careful of.