Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My Junie B Experience: Learning to Lighten Up

I'll admit that as a parent I've become a bit of a slacker with the third child.  Blame it on years of parenting experience, reality or age.  I allow her to "do" things that I never allowed her elder siblings to do. Now I'm not talking here about big things or dangerous things nor have I slacked off on moral or value issues.  I'm still tough as nails on TV, movies, clothing etc.

I've given in on Junie B Jones.  Miss M was never allowed to read those books.  The grammar it is atrocious!  A few years back you would have thought that I was evil mother for not allowing Miss M to get all the books she circled in the Scholastic Book Order.  We read real fiction books. Classics.  Little House, Maddie Books, Beverly Clearly and the like where the grammar was real, the kids were cleaver but not sassy, and the overriding theme was wholesome.

The problem is that Junie B Jones books are just the perfect length for Miss A to read on her own and she loves them. A few months ago, Miss A and I read out loud the Junie B Jones book Handsome Warren and lets just say everyone else in the house wondered what was so funny.  Miss A and I were laughing so loud as we laid on her bed.  Miss M ran up the stairs to see if everything was alright.

Now I'll admit when I read out loud the JBJ books, I correct the grammar. I read the "right words" when there are words that Junie makes up.  We use the sassy attitude and sometimes the mean spirit that Junie has towards her friends/parents as teaching moments.  Miss A lives in the real world and she knows how kids can be, so she's not learning anything new.  We realize that Junie B often does things that aren't the best, that she tricks others, or laughs at them behind their backs. 

Which leads me to the final thing we did on Thanksgiving Break; Miss A and a I and a bunch of her friends went to see the play Junie B Jones Jingle Bells Batman Smells.  We had a great time. The actress who played Junie B was hilarious and the girls all had a great time laughing at the antics of Junie B.

Of course, we've now read the Jingle Bell Batman Smells book and laughed again.  But my favorite of all times is seeing that, by reading these silly books, Miss A is even more interested in reading the books that I love so much.  Having the joy of reading sparked by these books has been worth giving up the rules just a little.

I'm thinking that Miss A will find a stack of classic children's literature under the Christmas tree this year to keep that spark alive!

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