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Jeff Benedict: Being a good parent seems like impossible mission

Published: Sunday, March 11 2012 4:00 p.m. MDT

She met with my literary agent and saw how he gives me guidance and helps select my future story ideas. His office is wall-to-wall books, most of them best-sellers.

She accompanied me to lunch with the editor-in-chief of Doubleday Books. I just joined Doubleday and this was my introductory meeting with my new publisher and editor. We spent two hours getting acquainted and mapping out the upcoming book I've agreed to write.

From there we went to a hotel room and I spent two more hours with my new co-writer, Armen Keteyian, from CBS News. It took us that long to divide up the reporting responsibilities for our new book project.

Later, I had a meeting with my editor, B.J. Schecter, at Sports Illustrated. We are working on a feature story that requires a lot of brainstorming.

Then there was a big meeting with Terry McDonell, who runs Sports Illustrated. I was there with a number of people to pitch a story and discuss future projects.

Was it awkward to bring my daughter to all of these professional meetings? Not to me. And not to the people I work with. McDonell made Maggie feel like the most important person in the room. He even gave her his personal iPad and delayed the meeting 10 minutes while showing her how to play games on it.

In between all this, I took Maggie to The American Girl store in midtown. We went to see "Wicked" on Broadway. We even went to our favorite bakery on Sixth Avenue.

One thing she noticed about all the people we met with is that they all have corner offices at the top of very high buildings. This observation gave me the opportunity to teach her something. To get to the top of the writing profession, you must read lots of books and master the fundamentals of writing.

Good thing she has Lydia as her teacher.

Jeff Benedict is the author of "POISONED: The True Story of the Deadly E. Coli Outbreak That Changed the Way Americans Eat."

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