Monday, October 22, 2007

I'll stop reading my favorite books

Lyric courtesy of Alanis Morrisette, and my new favourite lyrics page.

I know you've all heard me talk about how TFYO loves to read. Matter of fact, you're probably sick of me talking about it, but that's just too bad.

We recently found out that she's reading on a fourth grade reading level, which is great, but it's also posing some problems for us that we just never anticipated.

It all started a few weeks ago. I was reading an article online about the millions of women left single in Britain after WWI. It was really a fascinating article about how at a time when women were expected to get married and produce children, some six million women never had that option because so many men of their generation had been killed or so horribly wounded that they couldn't (or wouldn't) marry.

The title of the article was "6 Million Virgins".

Little did I know, but TFYO had crept up behind me and was reading over my shoulder.

"6 Million Ver-gins," she said. "Mommy, what's a ver-gin?" She pronounced it with a hard "G" sound.

"Uh, well, um, this case it refers to a woman who has never gotten married."

"Has Auntie Jill ever been married?" I didn't like where this was going.

"No, she hasn't."

"Is she a ver-gin?"

"Um, it's pronounced 'virgin', and I think you should just forget about it for now."

Thankfully, she's still at an age where she will drop things if you distract her. But I can't wait for the next time Auntie Jill comes to visit. Hey girl, you've been warned.

I've also discovered that I have to hide some of my more... adult books. Not that I've got a collection of erotica or anything, just books that have cursing, sexual situations, violence. We recently got a copy of Ken Burns' The War, as a companion to the TV documentary he did. That book is filled with pictures and descriptions of violence that she's not ready for. But when she saw the book, she homed in on it like pigeon, and howled like a wounded animal when I took it from her.

One day I found her reading Bob Novak's biography "Prince of Darkness". Ray was supposed to be interviewing him, and had left a preview copy laying on the table. when I found TFYO, she was reading me all the captions from the pictures!

I knew when she was little we'd have to monitor her television watching, but I never dreamed I'd have to start putting the grown-up books on high shelves just yet. She's already decided my Harry Potter books are hers now, and she keeps asking when she can read them. When I tell her she needs to be a bit older, she says she'll wait until she's five.

I love this and I'm terrified by this.

Any advice?


laurie said...

i used to be just like your daughter in that way.

my mother once found me reading "portnoy's complaint" when i was just a wee toddler. she promptly took it away from me.

i said, "but ma, it's a good book!"

and she said, "yes, it is, but not for you."

and that was that.

sometimes i think firmness is all you need, really. i went off and read something else and my purity of mind was preserved for ... a while, anyway.

laurie said...

ps you're canadian???? all this time i thought you were a brit!

bellevelma said...

That is so cool! Um... advice? Uh, take her to the library and let her get her own library card and check out books. How about Little House on the Prarie books? Junie B Jones? The Magic Tree House? Ronald Dahl stories? Or have you run through those already?

Snags isn't reading on his own at that level yet but I've read all of those book series to him and he's enjoyed them a lot more than the age appropriate stuff. said...

Cross your fingers is my advice and Aunt Jill sounds like she better come to Guyton prepared.

Jill said...

Thanks for the warning. BTW - it sure seems like I am. :) I know - WAAAAAAY TMI

The Rotten Correspondent said...

I was the same way and so are my kids. I think you're doing all you can do. Give her lots of access to appropriate books and let her go to town.

I second the Roald Dahl suggestion, by the way. He's just twisted and naughty enough that all my kids thought they were getting away with something.

Diana said...

Heh. No advice except perhaps keeping her well supplied with a huge pile of more, erm, acceptable books from the library in the hopes she will choose those over the more adult fare?

The parenting things we don't forsee...

mjd said...

That is an interesting dilemma. I think that your answer was fine and age appropriate.

Jo Beaufoix said...

Oh Lordy Jen, how amazing is TFYO?

I second, (or it it third or fourth?) Roald Dahl, then there's Enid Blyton - The Faraway Tree etc, Wind in the Willows, Winnie The Pooh.

They're all fabulous and safe.

Be careful in public toilets if there's graffiti. Oh the stress I've had in the loo with Miss E.

my two cents said...

It has all been said, just keep lots of books she can read around, and keep the books you don't want her to see out of reach (easier said than done, but it's like putting baby locks on the drawers). Bellevelma has some great suggestions for books she would probably love. Later I'll try to come up with some more ideas and post them, but for now, it is almost seven and I need to get dinner on the table - but I needed to read my blogs, too!!

my two cents said...

The fifteen-year-old girl and I thought back to her favorite books in 2nd and third grade and have come up with some suggestions:

Betsy Tacy books by Maude Hart Lovelace; anything by Eleanor Estes (The Moffets); anything by Beverly Cleary (Ramona); Santa Paws series; The Littles; American Girl books; B is for Betsy, etc. by Carolyn Haywood.

Happy reading!

Poetess said...

Oh this post made me laugh.

I think you handled the situation well.

Sorry I have been a stranger. I'm doing an open university course in creative Writing and I have been giving that all my attention.

Hopefully I have got my routine sorted and will have more time for my poetry.

Hope your well and thanks for sticking around