Last week when I was in the desert with the kids I took Alexander to the book store. My husband and I both want the kids to love to read, so we’ve flooded them with everything from comic books to hardcovers. We don’t care what they read, we just want them to enjoy it. Unfortunately, Alexander has been negative about book stores lately. As we pulled up in front of the store he moaned, “Barnes & Noble, I hate Barnes & Noble”.
I told my son I wouldn’t buy him a new watch unless he found a book to read, and then I set him loose. Testing me, he asked for a bundle of Judy Blume books. Five of them in all, it’s the Fudge Series. He expected me to say no because it was five books. I said yes, we bought them all.
Alexander zipped through the first book in about a day. It was Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, he loved it. It’s about a boy, and his family along with his younger brother named Fudge.
Today Alexander was deeply involved with the second book Otherwise Known As Sheila The Great. This book, in addition to having a girl’s name in the title, sports a pink cover. When my beloved husband came home from work today he got a glimpse at the book, his son and he promptly sent Alexander out of the room and whisper-yelled at me.
You’re familiar with the whisper-yell. You scrunch your face up like you’re really angry and you yell at your spouse in a whisper so the kids can’t hear. Some of what what whisper-yelled at me tonight is:
You’re trying to turn him into a girl. Again (I snorted)
He’s going to get beat up. (I giggled)
That’s a book for girls. (I laughed like I was living in a comedy club)
I tried to keep a straight face, but it was impossible. My standard reply is:
You’re the sexiest neanderthal I know.
Then I called Alexander into the room so he could enjoy his book a little more. Kids know whisper-talking is usually about them, so he asked what Daddy and I were talking about.
I told Alexander about the time that I was nine and sent Judy Blume a letter telling her that I wanted to be just like her. About six weeks later she replied to me, and everything about her note was pleasing, from the pastel stationery to her loopy girlish writing.
My husband’s eyes grew larger and he was gnashing his teeth. Finally he couldn’t hold it in any more.
So blog about it. See if I care. Ask your readers and I know they’ll agree with me. This isn’t for boys.
Uh, either are Mommy Blogs, but more than half of y’all are men.
Lastworditis. I have a bad case of it, I know.
Love this story, the Judy Blume books are wonderful.
My 4 year old son loves dress up at pre-school and sometimes puts on a princess dress. My husband practically tore it off of him the first time he saw him dressed up in it. Why do men get so threatened?
He doesn’t take the cars or action figures out of our 16 mo daughter’s hands when she plays with them. Ah, the silliness of it all.
My son gravitated to balls and bikes but also played Barbies; or anything to get attention from his older sister. My husband turned white the day I brought home a Cabbage Patch doll for him.
I would happily have put that Cabbage Patch doll back in his hands instead of the football he played with for 4 years on his high school team —-that terrified me far more than your husband is terrified of Judy Blume.
Today’ he’s a healthy, heterosexual hunk. The only lasting effect of his childhood dolls….and I’m not sure it’s connected….. he’s incredibly great with kids.
When my daughter was about 6 months old her great grandmother gave her big brother a doll. Sadly it met with a terrible accident, as did all the others.
avid readers here, my 7 year old picked out a cook book at the last book fair. To hell with the Life Of Babe Ruth, he’s read that twice.
My husband and I have had that exact same whisper fight. I think young boys should read those kind of books, the sooner they learn the complicated emotions of women (and the fact that we always get the last word) the better!
Just wondering aloud: why is it okay for girls to do “boy” activities, but not the other way around?
I love love love Judy Blume!
Glad he’s enjoying the books – which are for KIDS of all ages, ever mind whether they’re boys or girls!
I’m enough of a book nerd to be impressed – and somewhat envious – that you got a personal letter from Judy Blume :-).
The title is an awesome play on the situation. Awesome. I guess you should have bought the OLD version since the pink cover I believe is a marketing ploy to get girls to read the Fudge series. I am surprised that your husb either does not know about the Fudge series (is it possible?!) or considers these books for girls. They are so for the boys. And for that, I am grateful to Judy Blume since I feel like I am running out of “Boys’ books” for the medium-level readers.
The rigid divide between what is considered male and female in the US intrigues me. It is not like this say in Europe and Asia. Cuteness and fashionable-ness are not treated as signifiers.
Absolutely know what you are talking about re. Whisper fights. And both my husb and I have “Lastworditis” (yet another awesome word play!)… To piggyback on PP’s question: Also, why is it ok for girls to take boys’ names, e.g. Jordan and Taylor. And once they become popular girls’ names, they become No-No’s for boys’ names.
Loved this post, and the comments. The funny thing about my husband is he’s so concerned our daughter, who is only 11 months old, is going to be too girly that he frowned at my mom when she gave her a doll for Christmas. I had to promise him we’d eventually get a toy Jeep for it to ride around in before he’d let me put it in her room! I hate to see what he’s like if we have a boy next … he already consistently reminds me we have a “no pink” policy for her clothes, although I violate that on a regular basis. I have no idea what the clothing policy will be for a boy!
Love this. Make sure a copy of Forever isn’t tucked away in the five pack. I still vividly remember tricking my mom into buying it for me — “It’s Judy Blume, mom, Judy Blume, you know the lady who wrote Freckle Juice.” Ha, little did she know. It was read by flashlight at slumber parties for years.
No, I think it was Wifey. Her husband was bad in bed. Who knew there could be bad? We just wanted sex without AIDS.
Oh, my! Are you familiar with Erma Bombeck? Your writing puts me in mind of her! :D