I’m not reading the 7th book. I have only read the first two (aloud, with my youngest who missed out when her dad read the first four books with the older two daughters because she was just a toddler). In the midst of the 87,000 page 5th book (yes, I exaggerate), my husband was no longer able to keep pace with my daughters’ need to know what happened next. Eventually, they took the book and each finished it on their own. Then borrowed the sixth book as it came out and finished it.
Months ago, my oldest got on the library list to borrow the 7th book and the library called first thing Saturday morning (well, first thing for me: they woke me up at 9:30 as I slept in my house where the only other things stirring were 3 kittens, but that’s a whole ‘nother post). Since girls and husband were camping, I dutifully went to the library and picked up the book for her so it would be at our house when she got home on Sunday. It took her until Tuesday night to finish the 7999-page book (I know, I know, enough with the exaggerations!)–what a slacker! Child number two is reading the hard-cover that we actually bought Tuesday night. She started late Tuesday night and is, I think, almost finished.
I woke up yesterday morning with this strange idea about this whole Potter-mania. I’ve been involved, in the past, with our town’s “One Community; One Book” program–a community-building idea where everyone reads the same book then talks about it. Well, that’s what Potter has done on a global scale–given us all some common references, common dialog, common themes. And I am so FOR that. Let’s talk about stuff, world–about love, relationships, our duty to this earth and each other. We’ve got a new vehicle to use for that conversation. Let’s use it. This is what now propels me to go back and start reading the whole series once more. That, and the fact that I need to be able to converse more fully with my girls.
Which leads me to another conversation I had with my girls. Tuesday night we went on a family date–dinner and a bookstore, and the grocery store. At dinner in one of those chain-restaurants that springs up around those big-box bookstores, the converation turned toward something….I’m not even sure what, but I told the girls about Rev. Debra Haffner’s appearance on that show I hate to name (the show that shall not be named–see, I can pull a Potter reference out of my…er…hat).
So, when I get to the part about BilldO going ballistic about the word “uterus,” my very savvy, very clever, very….UU daughters looked at each other and said: “it’s just a body part, jeeez.”
These girls have not been through Our Whole Lives or any other sexual education than what they get at school. While we have trained OWL teachers, we have a small group of children and right now we have 3 middle-school kids, two of whom are mine, and so we are not running the program. We will, I hope, find a way to reach out to other churches in the area to do this, but in the meantime, all these girls have done is ask questions and listen to the answers that their parents have given them.
I may not have done everything right with these girls, but my instinct has always been to talk to them as plainly as I can about the things that matter, and their bodies are definitely a part of that. Perhaps its because what education I got came from Judy Blume and a sister not much older than I. Perhaps it was because I listened and read and watched and learned from what the other parents around me were telling their children at the time.
I do, however, remember the reactions from other parents when they would hear my children use “grown-up” words*. Let’s just say they may have gone to the same sex-ed class that BilldO did. Still, others asked why they used those words and I told them my philosophies about parts being parts and using plain language and all that other stuff. Did it change them? I don’t know, but here’s what I do know: it influenced my girls who, at 12 and 13 (and even the almost-nine-year old chimed in a bit) when EVERYTHING is embarassing said, outloud in a restaurant, “a uterus is just another part of the body.”
But what a part it is, that uterus that can nurture and grow babies that become young women as smart and confident and lovely as these.
*Pardon me for being a chicken and NOT typing those “grown-up” words here. I’ve seen some of the Google search strings that have lead people to my blog and, quite frankly, I’d rather not invite those googlers in here that easily.