In which I go to a seminar, meet a fellow blogger, and debate whether or not to finish a book

So, I went to this parenting seminar that was jointly sponsored by several elementary schools, including ours. Normally I don't "do" parenting seminars. I rarely even read parenting books. First of all, none of the situations they describe ever seem to fit my kids. Second, who do they think their audience is? The handout at this seminar listed things not to say to your kids, including: "You're the reason we're getting a divorce!" Hell-LO! The people who say stuff like that are NOT the ones who come to parenting seminars. And third, I admit it: I have an arrogant streak, and I believe I know better than a total stranger what works for my children.

But you know what? This guy had some good stuff. Sure, his presentation was a little too rah-rah motivational-speaker-ish for my taste, but underneath it all, he did have some good advice. Here's one that I've already instituted: Don't call it homework time, because that just paves the way for "I don't have any" or "I forgot it." Call it study time. That way they have to do something, and it might as well be homework. And here's another that I liked: when your kids whine, "I can't dooooo it," instead of "Sure you can; just try harder," say "Ok, well, act as if you can."

The real reason I went, though, was because Nixie Knox was there! I arrived late because we had a PTO meeting right before, and when has a PTO meeting ever ended on time? So I was in the back of the room, where I had a good view of the crowd, and I spotted the chick in the pink coat and blue glasses right away. It was kind of distracting because all through the rah-rah motivation, "act as if," etc., I was staring at the back of this woman's head and thinking: "Omigod, that's Nixie, it has to be, it's Nixie!" Anyway, she was completely charming and funny and nice. I don't know why it took us this long to get together, considering we not only live in the same town, but we live on the same side of town in almost-neighboring school districts. I hope to see her again soon.

On the literary front, Birds Without Wings has turned out to be a huge doggie downer. In the last hundred pages or so it degenerated from a very entertaining portrait of peasant life in 1900's Asia Minor to a totally gruesome war story: bloated corpses, dysentery, bayonets, spilled guts. In great detail. I hate the thought of not finishing a book group selection (we're meeting on Tuesday) but I don't know how much more of this I can stomach.


  • I've always been skeptical about parenting seminars or books. They're like diet fads; a new technique pops up every so often that everyone raves about, then it fades into the sunset.

    I'm no expert, by any means, but I think common sense is the best book of all.

    posted by Blogger Fred on 9:24 AM  

  • I'm jealous you got to meet Nixie. Makes me want to move to Ann Arbor to have such cool friends in town. My best friend is there too, at grad school, so extra motivation . . .

    I resist motivational speakers too.

    I'm going to finish Birds, mainly because I want to find out what happens to Philothei, but my tear ducts are already warmed up.

    posted by Anonymous Laura on 1:07 PM  

  • I hate it when books turn on you like that. We are reading Christ The Lord this time. I am choosing Life of Pi when it is my turn.

    posted by Blogger Heather on 2:03 PM  

  • What do they talk about at a parenting seminar? As a new parent, I find this really interesting - I am picturing topics like "Diapering" or "Power Naps" or "Why Baby Hates Creamed Spinach". (I know you're in a different age group, but I don't know much beyond my own experience with my 9-month-old.)I would totally go to a seminar on napping.

    posted by Anonymous Ella on 11:03 AM  

  • "Ok, well, act as if you can."

    That is a great line. Fake it till ya make it, be the ball. Smile until you are happy :)

    posted by Blogger Running2Ks on 11:22 PM  

  • It's always fun to meet fellow bloggers in person, isn't it? Glad you got something out of the seminar, anyway.

    posted by Anonymous Melanie Lynne Hauser on 10:33 AM  

  • Confession: I skimmed the last 200 pages of Birds without Wings only so I could find out what happens to everyone. I completely skipped over the Kemal sections, as well as Karakavik (sp?) remembers Galipoli and those sections.

    In the end I did not regret skimming at all, even though it was a huge ethical/compulsive dilemma for me. I almost never give up on a book.

    posted by Blogger doulicia on 3:56 PM  

  • I had so much fun meeting you and I hope that we can get together again soon! I didn't finish my book club book and I am overwhelmed with guilt. Okay, not really; that book was a downer!

    posted by Anonymous NixieKnox on 9:15 PM  

  • I wanted to stop by and compliment your wonderful work on Fred's blog. It looks fantastic! You have a great deal of talent.

    posted by Blogger Megan on 9:31 PM  

  • Fred's blog is coolio!

    posted by Blogger Housing Boom Gone Bust on 8:18 PM