I love reading. More so than some people, though perhaps not as much as others. I thoroughly enjoy it, but I am not a book-worm who hides away for days or weeks in a book. Well, most of the time. But, I come by it honestly, my mom is an avid reader as well. Not all the same genre as my taste (I doubt you’d find a YA Fantasy in her house, unless I left it there), but she definitely influenced me. And now, my daughters are readers. I must say, not with the same vigour as myself or their grandmother (give it time, I hope!) Nonetheless, they love and excel at reading. I buy books for myself to read in the hopes that my children will read them and enjoy them as much as I do. I am not into reading extremely gruesome, disturbingly dark, overtly crude books. I tend to stay away from ones that push beyond my comfort levels when it comes to certain topics. I don’t read true murder mysteries, I shy away from true stories in general as they tend to cause me emotional grief. But I most definitely would not have my children reading things that I myself determine to be well within the realms of “adult” themes. I censor the reading material in my house, somewhat. Occasionally I discover some things in my home I never thought my children would read but have realised from the giggles I hear down the hall that they do and they aren’t entirely appropriate (aka bathroom magazines on men’s health or women’s fitness training… definitely have some almost R rated articles in there!) It’s funny how things like that escape my mommy-censor. But hey, they’re fun to read! (Note to self: put those mags in recycling…) Herein lies my conflict.
My oldest just turned 9. Oh man, she thinks she’s 19 that’s for sure, but she has the sensitivities befitting a young girl and the heart of a lion, the compassion of Mother Theresa and the philosophical musings of Buddha. Her questions are deep, profound, hard to answer, full of emotion and all too familiar. She is me, just a few years earlier than I think I was. I was trying to find some books online that would be suitable for her to expand our home library. Ones that wouldn’t cause inner turmoil or incite a 12 hour Q&A on topics a 9-year-old who is prone to irrational fears can’t be enlightened about properly without inadvertently opening many more cans of worms. But, according to my favourite e-book site, the Fiction section for kids 9-12 includes books about living in a polygamist community, life and issues of 17 yr old girl in a divorced family whose mother is intent on remarrying and abandoning her many times, senior girls who find out their boyfriends cheated on them and their friends were murdered… Sigh… Am I going mental? I don’t remember these being the kind of topics I would have been reading at 9-12 years of age. Sure, I read R.L. Stine books and Christopher Pike, spooky mysteries that were watered down but still interesting enough that my mom liked to read them. Sure, in school we read books that were deep and introspective and culturally reflective on society, etc… But that was grade 7 and up… I remember reading the Babysitter’s Club, Ms Teeny Wonderful… Perhaps I just self-censored. Perhaps I just blocked out the ones that caused me strife. Perhaps I am going Senti-Mental. I don’t want my daughter to be drowning in a whirlwind of teen romances, addiction afflictions, psychologically warped individuals who are coping (or not) with disorders that I hope my kids never have to go through, etc… I am a mom and I believe I have now reached the point of understanding my mother’s greying hair. Can you blame me? Maybe I should go ask my mom.