Tuesday, July 11, 2006

A Teenager, Tourism, and Age Confusion

My 13-year-old cousin is visiting me for two weeks. I've been looking forward to spending time with her and to playing tourist here in our great city. It's day 4 now, and I've definitely had a lot of fun and learned a few interesting things along the way.

We have taken a NYC Sightseeing bus all over the city, visited the top of the Empire State Building, visited the Dakota and walked a bit through Central Park, shopped for scrapbook supplies, tried on clothes at about fourteen different stores, taken in the lights at Times Square at night, and spent some time in Little Italy. Yesterday we walked about 8 miles. We declared today a sleep-in day (since we've gotten up so early the past three days considering it's supposed to be a vacation,) stayed up till 1:00 in the morning watching Gilmore Girls, then got up around 9:00 to prepare for our beach day.

I rarely spend time with children outside of the classroom. One thing I've learned is that children treat their teachers very differently than they do their older cousin. My favorite moment was, while shopping, my cousin had passed me, and even with her back to me knew I was a picking up a dress she didn't like and said, "Don't even think about it." I still crack up every time I think about it. If only my friends were this honest!!

I've also loved talking about the ever-so-popular subject among teenage girls: boys. Yesterday, on the 20-block walk to the subway, I got the lowdown on the boys she likes and the ones who like her, how they met, when they talk, and exactly what it means "to go with someone" since she's not allowed to date until she's 16. She told me (with an air of exasperation mixed with pride)that when she does date someone, the boy will have to go to dinner with her, her sister, her parents, and her grandparents. Then she continued on in the typical non-stop teenager fashion (which even now I can be prone to at times) and I just smiled all the way to the train. Who knew teenagers could provide so much entertainment!

It's funny, because I don't consider myself to be in between ages right now, like the twelve year old who is still a kid but almost a teenager. My cousin and her sister, however, do. At a family get together last week, they each asked me at least three times why I kept talking to the adults. Yet, just the day before, they were goodnaturedly making fun of me for being old.

Now, spending 24/7 with a 13-year-old, I find myself giggling over boys, talking about how cute the shirt with the little stars is, and watching Gilmore Girls until 1:00 in the morning. At the same time, I'm reminding her to put hydrocortisone on the enormous bug bite on her hand, making quesadillas for us while she reads a book, and complaining that she takes two hours to get ready to leave the house. To make matters even more confusing, yesterday afternoon she went through the books I brought home from my classroom and read several children's stories to me, while I laid back and laughed like a little kid or ooohed and aahed over the pictures in Red Leaf Yellow Leaf. Even I don't know if I'm old or young or just a twenty-something anymore.


Anonymous said...

As the parent of your cousin I am extrememly happy that you guys are having such a great time and extremely jealous that you are getting the fun and happy teenager and I get the moppy don't make me do that teenager. This is what you would call the generation gap in full force. If you read this tell her I love her and do miss her.

Anonymous said...

This is the other parent, and I say keep her and train her how to get ready in 5 minutes instead of 120 mins. A;so teach her to appreciate what she has. Love Me