My daughter reads Twilight. I am having a very hard time with this. SHe was all obsessed with Harry Potter for a long time, but I think that's almost a generational thing. Then she was searching for a new series and since Twilight is freaking everywhere these days she got pulled in. I was fine with it (I was a vampire fan back in the day myself) but since then I've heard more about these books that worries me.
She read the first book in one day. She got it at 5:00 pm and finished it at 3:30 am. She never read a Harry Potter book that fast and we stood in a Borders for 6 hours waiting for the last one. Then she went to the library her in town and read book 2 in the series and is now eagerly awaiting book 3, which is 3 weeks overdue at the library and which she is third in line to check out anyway. What worries me about these books is not the violence (I'm not an idiot, vampire books by definition have violence in them) but the sexuality. Not that there's sex, because I've been told that there isn't. But they're all passion and romance and "Edward is so sparkly and beautiful." And Ryan reads this and doesn't give a childlike "Yuck!" in response. She doesn't roll her eyes at Bella's melodramatic professing of undying teenage love. She doesn't question a sixteen year old's eagerness to become an undead blood drinker just to be with a guy she's only known a few months. She doesn't declare Edward's angst-ridden passions to be "gross". And that can only mean one thing.
Ryan is turning into a teenager. Not numerically speaking of course; she's not even eleven yet. But emotionally she's entering the years of overreactions and heartfelt hyperbole. My wonderfully delightfully nonconformist daughter is at the cusp of puberty. That means all sorts of sparkly and beautiful Edwards of her own. That means ten household rules broken for every one she gets caught at. That means a first kiss I may never even find out about. It means me getting shut out while all the bad influences get let in. It means carefully hidden shaving cuts on her bony little legs, red and swollen over-plucked eyebrows, and underwear buying based solely on what she sees in the PE locker room.
Ryan will be entering sixth grade next year, and in this town that means junior high. I remember junior high and while I'm sure it's not exactly the same (the AquaNet haze has probably lifted by now) it's probably kept some of the same themes. Boys, pimple-stress, cliques, peer pressure, fashion obsession. And while it was "Like A Virgin" when I was eleven it's "If You Seek Amy" now. (Say it out loud fast.) I am not ready for this. I am so completely not ready for the day Ryan wakes up and puts on a turtleneck in warm weather, convinced that I'm a blind idiot. And what's worse, I will know what she's planning when she picks out a turtleneck while school clothes shopping, and I will buy it for her in a conscious choice to remain ignorant. Probably not anytime really soon, but not too terribly far over the horizon.
I'm not ready for an adolescent daughter. I want my little girl back.