Our Journey

2002 Uterine Fibroid Surgery #1

2003 1st consult with an RE, you know, just in case

2003 Got Married (at 37 (me) & 34 (DH) years old)

2003/2004 Naturally conceived pregnancies BFPs #1, #2, & #3 and miscarriages #1, #2, #3

2005 Uterine Fibroid Surgery #2

2005 IVF #1, BFN #1

2005 IUIs #1 and #2, just because, BFN #2 & #3

2005 FET from IVF #1, BFN #4

2006 Exploratory surgery to remove scar tissue from fibroid sugery #2

2006 IVF #2 (w PGD), BFP #4

2006 Emergency cerclage for IC @ 16w6d (5 months + 1 week of complete bed rest at home ensues)

2007 Our son is born @ 38w by scheduled c-section

2007 IVF #3 for baby #2, BFN #5

2007 IVF #4, BFP #5, miscarriage #4

2008 IVF #5, BFP #6, miscarriage #5

2008 IVF #6, BFP #7, miscarriage #6

2008 DE IVF #7, BFN #6

2009 DEFET #8, cancelled, embryos don't thaw

2010 Decide to adopt domestically

12.17.10 Profile is live with our agency

November 2011 Consult with RE re: donated embryo cycle

Early January 2012 Cleared to proceed with deFET

January 2012 Freeze our profile

1.20.12 deFET begins
2.12.12 eSET of one compacted morula
2.22.12 BFN

3.23.12 deFET #2 begins
4.14.12 transfer 3 embryos (1-8 cell, 1-5 cell, 1-4 cell)
4.22.12 + HPT
4.24.12 Beta #1 = 48.4
4.26.12 Beta #2 = 125.7
4.30.12 Beta #3 = 777.8
5.11.12 1st U/S - Singleton!
7.12.12 It's a Boy!
12.26.12 C-section: Baby G is born, 9#5oz, 20.5"

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Captain Underpants and the Case of the Slippery Slope

Even though I don’t read for pleasure nearly as much as I wish I could, I value the importance and benefits of reading, especially with children.  We’ve read to both of our sons since infancy and I think the consistency has (or will, in the case of Baby G) instill that reading, and more specifically language skills, is important.

My older son was an early talker and by way of that an early reader (the summer prior to kindergarten).  I taught him to read using the Dick & Jane books that I learned to read with.  I am sure there are other, newer ways to teach kids to read, but this worked for us.  And now, at 6 1/2, he is an avid reader, reading many chapter books.  He has an affinity for the Magic Treehouse, Jo Schmo, and Captain Underpants series.  I love that he loves to read (he reads in car line, reads when we are on the way to the grocery, etc) and know that at some point other activities may impinge upon his love of reading so for now I encourage it.

He goes to an independent private school.  I was hoping that that would also mean open-minded, progressive.  Imagine my surprise when my son told me this morning, on his way out the door, that he was not allowed to read Captain Underpants in his classroom any more.  I queried him as much as I could but all he said is that that is what his teacher said and that it was ok to read elsewhere on campus, just not in his classroom (they have individual reading times during the day).

I emailed his teacher to confirm that what he said was true and to explain why.  Her response was that ‘some parents find it offensive so I have a policy to not allow it to be read during reading time’.  I was shocked, frankly, and my ‘then we are going to have a problem’ meter went off.  But, I didn’t respond and instead turned to Google and was even more shocked to find that the Captain Underpants series tops 2013 banned books list!

I don’t approve of potty language and as my son has gotten older, he doesn’t use it as much as he once did. And, reading these books hasn’t increased potty talk. He likes the plots and I think he identifies with the two boys that are at the center of each story. He finds their exploits funny and, as a result, is reading 100+ page, 20+ chapter books, something I encourage and applaud.

I think that his teacher taking a stand on banning these books is a slippery slope. I am offended by the scouts and was deeply offended when, at my first ever back to school night, the pack leader was invited to openly recruit first grade boys. I could not believe I was made to sit through his propaganda (and, yes, I get that the Cub Scouts are not the Boy Scouts, but since they are the feeder group, I treat them the same) wherein he basically said that all the boys participate and if yours doesn’t he’ll be left out. Given that this was my first introduction to my son’s teacher and the other parents, I held my tongue and instead, vented at my husband when I got home, but I did not have a sit-down with school administration and demand that the practice of openly recruiting at the school be stopped (something I may do now).

I have an issue with superhero and princess stories (anything that reinforces sexist paradigms) but don’t care that other kids love them. To each their own. But, I find violent superhero books way more offensive than potty books, yet, hey, if that’s what your kid likes, knock yourself out. However, what if that wasn’t my attitude? What if I called for a ban on those books or stories? There are many things in life that are going to offend us and how we respond and react is what is important. What message does it send to my son that he can’t read the books he loves? And, who gets a say? The parents that contribute the most to the annual fund? The parents on the board? The parents who have multiple children there?

What if we were vegan and were offended by meat should we call for a ban on animal products during lunch so that someone’s bologna sandwich wouldn’t infringe upon my son’s dietary sensibilities?

I have a live and let live attitude. When how you live encroaches on how I live, only then are we going to have a problem. I can’t imagine how my son reading a book TO HIMSELF encroaches on the sensitive minds of the other children who are not allowed to read it. And, if the child wonders why, isn’t it his parents job to explain it to him? I get that maybe the teacher wants to make it easy on herself and not have to referee that my son ‘gets’ to do something that other kids don’t. But, then, the same is true of Cub Scouts. Those kids ‘get’ to do something my kid doesn’t AND they ‘get’ to wear their scout uniform on pack meeting days to school but it is my job to explain why.

I have a headache over how frustrated I am and how, now, I am going to have to say something. As parents, we pick our battles. We pay a premium to attend this private school so the playing field needs to be fair to all. I don’t want my son to feel like he is doing something wrong by reading these books. I don’t want him to feel like he’s an outsider by not being in the scouts, but it is my job as his parent to talk him through these things. If I didn’t want him reading these books, we’d talk him through it just like we did when we didn’t allow him to watch SpongeBob Squarepants or Phineas and Ferb.

I find playing dodge ball to be harmful and we know that it is. But my son plays dodge ball during PE. I don’t require him to sit out. I don’t think the school should ban dodge ball. But, how they feel fine with kids pegging other kids with a ball but not fine with a child reading a book to himself is baffling to me.

I worry about bullying and the choking game and kids getting high on computer duster. I do not, however, worry about Captain Underpants.

6 comments to Captain Underpants and the Case of the Slippery Slope

  • Ana

    Ugh. Banning books for kids makes me ragey. If parents don’t want their kids reading certain things, they need to talk to their kids about it, and explain why, and simply hope that they comply. What, little boys like potty words? Stop the presses. FFS.

  • That’s wonderful that your son is an avid reader at a young age! Well done, mama!

    This is a little shocking to me, and I certainly don’t blame you for being a little bit stressed about it. The child is READING, and that’s a good thing. It’s not like it’s porn, for heaven’s sake! Good luck dealing with this, and please update us. I find that I am somewhat at odds with a few of the school/classroom policies at my daughter’s school, and will undoubtedly be taking on a few of these battles myself.

  • True, it is weird what schools choose to ban and what is okay. Potty words? There are so many worse things to worry about, especially if your son’s not using them in school. And I also think that because so many of the people who work in early-childhood related jobs are female, we do tend to penalize boys just for acting like boys. I think about that a lot for my son, too.

  • I am more ‘offended’ by how like 75% of the books at my kid’s school book fair were all featuring some stupid branded character (e.g. Turbo, Cars, Dora, etc). Not that I am against that stuff, but I just wish there was more originality. I think fondly back to Beverly Cleary, Amelia Bedelia, etc.

    Man, my head is spinning imagining all the things like this to come in school. I also wish the Boy Scouts didn’t have to suck so much! I do look forward to getting involved with the Girl Scouts with my daughter — they seem way cool still.

  • Sarah B

    Congrats on having an early reader!!!

    I’ve never read this series but my son, who is still struggling with reading, raves about it.

    I agree with you here, that the priorities of what gets banned are all wrong, and that who gets to decide this is questionable too. I think you’ll find a lot more of this out of your control at a private school than a public one. But what really resonates with me is that I think we as a “politically correct,” uncomfortable with conflict society are more apt to criticize things that boys do. (I’m racking my brain for how we do this to girls – maybe that comes later with oversexualized choice of clothing.) I find potty talk annoying too, and yes there are some violent undertones in what books some boys gravitate towards, but these are all natural things that animals do, and boys are simply being curious. I think we’re better off letting boys know what are expectations for their behavior are rather than looking to sweep something one might find offensive under the rug. And also: these are six year old boys! Aren’t we struggling with how to get them to pay attention in school? How to develop their language skills, which has traditionally lagged behind girls?

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that I am 100% with you. This is stupid. And you reminded me that I should go buy a copy of Captain Underpants for my son, because I know he’ll grow out of potty talk eventually (he’s moving out of it already, just like your son). I’m more worried about what will become of him if he never learns to read.

    • le même resultat que si tu avais laissé poussé tes cheveux en espaçant les mèches… c’est pas sorcier là tu aurai eu ta vrai couleur en racine !Ils ont tout compris les coiffeurs faire payer une blinde pour un résultat que tu aurai eu naturellement avec la repousse et 2, 3 mÃ;¨0es&#823hc. -_-

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