Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What the Hell, Judy Blume?

As a girl growing up in the 70s, Judy Blume was an integral part of my late elementary and middle school life.

I distinctly remember reading:
-Blubber--As a chubby kid, I totally identified.
-It's Not the End of the World--Divorce 70s-style. Again, I identified.
-Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret--I couldn't figure out WHY this girl wanted to start her period so badly. Still don't get it.
-Deenie--I'm still terrified I'll get scoliosis.

I think every middle-school girl identified with an aspect of her books.

Judy also wrote a whole series of books for younger kids, but I had never really read them because I was older when they came out. Of course, I had heard of books like, Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, and the Pain and the Great One series, but had never read them.

No, I was too busy sneaking around with my friends reading Forever in 6th grade, so I pretty much shot right past the Fourth Grade Nothing.

Often when we take car trips, even just up valley or to Glenwood, we listen to books on CD in the car. A few weeks ago we got a batch of books on CD in preparation for trips to out of town soccer games. We recently finished Hoot, which the boys loved, and then started Judy Blume's Superfudge. Even Eamonn and I enjoy listening to the kids' books--we get a good laugh.

Anyway, as I said, we've been listening to Superfudge. It's a comical story about Peter, who is starting sixth grade and his whole world is changing. His four-year-old brother, Fudge, is a pain, his mother is having a new baby, and the family is moving from New York City to Princeton for a year. So the book is mostly about the family's year in Princeton and it follows them chronologically through the year. It's all funny and good until Christmas.

Now, both of my boys still believe in Santa Claus although I'm sure that Declan has his suspicions. I think I found out in 3rd grade that there was no Santa and I have no doubt that some of the kids in Declan's grade with older brothers and sisters have spilled the beans. Anyway, Finn still full on believes--no doubt about it. And frankly, I'm not ready for it to end. I love their excitement about Santa.

So back to the book and my beef with Judy. The other day we get to the section of the book about Christmas and Fudge is asking Santa for a bike. Peter tells Fudge that it might be too expensive. Fudge insists it doesn't matter to Santa. So Peter goes to his mother and is telling her that Fudge should be told that there is no Santa Claus. At least that's where I think it was going. As soon as Peter said something to the effect of, "You should tell him Santa Claus isn't. . ." I frantically starting slapping at the controls on the car's CD player to skip past whatever Peter was about to say.

The boys asked what happened because we skipped ahead to springtime. I told them the CD was skipping and I was trying to fix it (big liar). I went back as far as I could on the CD to make sure the story still made sense, steering clear of the Christmas track.

But seriously, Judy, do we need to out Santa Claus in a book for kids? Maybe she thought that particular book would never be read by kids who still believed in Santa? Was I getting carried away letting a kindergartner listen to Superfudge?

Heck, I don't know. But I guess I'd better go read all of Judy Blume's books, even for the elementary set before I unwittingly expose the boys to something else. Like the fact that there is no Easter Bunny.


Anonymous said...

My daughter is 25 this year. She has told me that I should have never made her believe that Santa was real. Because now she questions whether God is real. She has told me that if and when she ever has children, she will never teach them about the Easter Bunny or Santa Clause. There was never a question about this in my mind before, but now I wonder why do we lie to our kids and then expect them to believe other unbelievable tales. I wish I could do things over.

Anne said...

You are too funny. BTW, the Judy Blume books for grown-ups are really good, too. Great summer reading.

Marci said...

oh great--I let kendall read that book! GRRR

Kristie said...

I was going to type a comment in reply to never lying to our children about Santa but it made me sound really snarky so I backspaced over the whole thing. I guess I'm a terrible parent because I have no problem lying to my kids about Santa. I believe they are capable of understanding its a light-hearted Christmas tradition that hurts no one, and finding out the truth won't scar them for life. But who knows? Maybe I'm in the minority. No matter when they find out (or in our case, found out) the truth, its too soon. :)

Anonymous said...

Smart move because Fudge fakes huge believe in Santa and then at the end of the chapter admits to Peter he doesn't believe in Santa either.

Mountain Mama said...

Your posts always crack me up!
Keep em comin' !!!!

Tracy said...

I have found this to be an issue in several kids chapter books. I think the authors wrote them with children who could read in mind, but now people listen to audio versions and children hear things earlier. It's harder to skip over than when you are reading out loud. Sometimes you can check reviews on Amazon for "Santa spoilers."

Lucinda said...

If it makes you feel any better, I "e-mailed" the tooth fairy for Sam one day because he neglected to tell us he'd lost a tooth the day before and wondered where his money was...We talk about Santa, the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, etc. but we don't make a big deal out of any of them. Dad always told me, when I questioned him about Santa's existence, that Santa was a spirit of Christmas. That was always good enough for me. Granted, I was the world's worst snoop and I figured out pretty quickly who "Santa" was.

Dianna in Louisiana said...

Isn't that the same one where Fudge and Peter discuss where babies come from, not in detail, but............ if not be on the lookout. I remember this from one of the books in this series.