On Tuesday morning while I typed, I was serenaded by my cousins (5 and 14) singing the theme song of "Wordgirl" in unison (with TV accompaniment). It was adorable.

Awesome Cousin Moments have been frequent lately. I called Mia's mom, and Mia (13) answered. I asked if she'd started The Fountainhead (yes, Andrew, I was so enthralled by the book that I had to share it too). She replied that she was nearly done. "I gave you that book 3 days ago," I said. "I know," Mia replied. "I was bored." She then began to pepper me with questions about the symbolism, gender identity, and character psychology in the novel, and we had a grand time analysing the book until her mom came over and took the phone.

Mia is almost exactly 10 years younger than me, and her brother Neil is almost exactly 10 years younger than my brother Jason, and we swear it's almost like looking in a time machine sometimes (right down to Neil's relationship with his teddy bear). It's scary how much the age gap sets sibling dynamics.

"Miiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiia." *pokepokepoke*
"Neil, stop it."
"I'm bored." *pokepokepoke*
"Stop poking me!"
"Mia, I'm booooorrrrrrrred." *pokepokepokepoke*
"Hug!" *GLOM*
"Ewww! Neil, you're all sweaty!"

And then there's Audrey (5), who learned to ride a bike without training wheels today. (We lowered the seat so she could scoot herself along the ground and learn to keep her balance without being afraid of falling, then gradually added the "and now pedal!" thing. We're still working on the pedalling.)


"What are you doing?"
"I'm trying to learn about salary."
"Celery like you eat?"

This weekend, Melanie (14) and I went to some bike shops and got her lights and a lock and practiced riding on the street (and swerving and braking and learning how to handle cars) so she could bike-commute to high school.

I try to be the kind of older cousin I would have liked to have. I don't always do it right, but I try - and that, I think, is really what it means to "do it right" - you try.