Sunday, September 14, 2008

Mother-Daughter Book Club

My 8-year-old daughter Caroline and I decided to start a book group. I came up with the idea after giving up on forcing her to read her required five hours a month for her third grade class. She's a hopeless extrovert, so sitting alone quietly reading is the last thing she ever wants to do, no matter how good the book is.

We kicked off the book club with a "Mother-Daughter Get-Together" at our house Friday night. We sent invitations to 12 mothers and their daughters; and six showed up. That added up to 14 people in our small house, half of whom are 8 years old and were running and screaming with zero interest in discussing our ideas for the book group.

Finally, I rounded up the girls and told everyone about what I envisioned we could do with and for our daughters. How I hoped that looking forward to the group meeting each month would inspire Caroline, as well as their daughters, to stick with a book to its conclusion. How I hoped that with all her friends reading the same book, maybe they would talk about it together during lunch or something. Jenn mentioned how she liked the idea because she wanted the accountability to spend that time with her daughter, which I was also thinking. This would give us a reason to read together and take advantage of opportunities to discuss issues the book brings up between the two of us.

The mothers listened. The girls grabbed some snacks and towels and ran outside with shrieks and shrills headed straight for the horse trough we use as a pool.

A few of the moms got sidetracked and paired off to have their own conversations, so the rest of us made some executive decisions. Those were: 1.) The idea is a good one, and it is worth a try. 2.) We won't expect too much from our children. Fifteen minutes may be all they can stand for book discussions. 3.) We would meet next month at Jennifer and Jaci's house. 4.) We would read Because of Winn Dixie.

I sent around a sign-up sheet to get everyone's phone numbers and e-mail addresses; and before the sheet was completed, two girls came into the house sobbing huge, dramatic, heaving kinds of bawling sobs. One was feeling left out, and she needed her mom to come outside to comfort her. Caroline was being accused of "being mean," and that just broke her heart. All of them were soaked to the bones and shivering in the nippy fall weather, dripping on my floor. None of them had permission to get wet, so I'm feeling a bit uncomfortable, myself, since my assistant hostess, Caroline, was the ring leader of the rebellious uprising.

It was truly a disaster.

Perhaps the idea of a mother-daughter book group was a few years premature?

I'll keep you posted.