Monday, July 28, 2008

The Line Where MG and YA Divide

Girls have begun coming over to our house. Now there are new rules about keeping doors open and keeping the conversation wholesome since there is a little sister playing around the house with innocent toys like fairies and mermaids.

Along with the new rules, I have developed new and not entirely wonderful habits. I eavesdrop. I casually snoop. I ask prying questions. When I don't hear talking or laughing, I holler things into rooms like "Yoo hoo, everything all right in there or do you need some company?" and sometimes I've been known to show up at doorways holding popcorn or other excuses. Of course, I'm spying. I freely admit this. I told the kids I have become a hall monitor in my own house. They immediately informed me that the hall monitor in their school is much more understanding (and her nickname is Troll).

So the other day, Emma, the nine year old little sister, gave some sage advice to her older brothers. She explained, very matter of factly, that a boy on the bus told her the facts of life. I froze. Emma went on: "If you hold hands with a girl, and kiss her at the same time...well," she said, blushing, "you could get a baby." The moment passed. Her brothers, who luckily pretty much adore her, thanked her for the advice - and bless their adolescent hearts, they both kept straight faces. "No problem," she told them, and went back to her American Girl magazine.

Two days later, I overheard (honestly, they were sitting right on the deck while I made dinner with Emma) a conversation between my eighth grader and a girl regarding the early signs of pregnancy. So did Emma. It drifted right in through the window.
Emma looked at me and said, "Mom, don't worry."
"I am worried," I said, racking my brain for any time this could have happened.
Emma laughed. "Mom," she said patiently, "Philip is only in the eighth grade. He can't be pregnant."


TerriRainer said...

OMG! That is funny!

Thank God he's NOT preggers...although that might make for an interesting plot for a YA book! critique opportunity at Authoress's blog. I've submitted (hope this goes better than my LAST one, but we'll see if I learned anything).

So did you get those three chapters in to the "secret agent"?

:) Terri

Anne Spollen said...

Well, she is growing up with headline news like The Pregnant Man, tonight at 7. Plus, she's still at the age where boys are little more than daily annoyances.

In fact, Emma is the one who gave me the opening line to the middle grade -- how boys are like frogs with their sliminess and attractions to bugs and mud.

Yup, got the chapters in. Will look at Authoress's blog as well.

Mary Witzl said...

Your girls and mine would get on like nobody's business; they were born feminists and I seem to have had little to do with it. But how touching that your daughter is still sweetly innocent, and long may that last!

And keep right on eavesdropping on your kids -- and everybody else, too. That way I won't feel so bad about listing this as one of my interests. Tell yourself what I tell myself: you're not snooping, you're collecting useful material. Never mind that it's so much fun.

Anne Spollen said...

The amazing thing is how much teenagers will just SAY in front of you. I always think if they are not inhibited about telling me that, then please let me know what's going on when they think I'm not listening.