Culture and Kids in NYC

08/10/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

I am walking away from my 15 and 10 y/o daughters this morning laughing to myself, thinking how in so many 'things parenting'; what ends up happening is rarely what you plan.

Off I went this morning musing on the blog I was going to write today: "Raising kids in NYC" I am thinking. The sun was bright, I had carved out the morning to seize this wonderful opportunity offered to my 15 y/o who had signed up for the Public Theatre's Jr. program, where they offer weekly acting workshops to 6th graders on up. For free. Yippee! Not only that, we got two tickets for Twelfth Night at the Delacorte, without standing on line starting at 3 a.m.

Filled with positive thoughts of how lucky we are to be raising our kids in Manhattan, with these amazing cultural opportunities to be had, we go over to the Delacorte for a Summer Shake-up event they hold to introduce these students, friends and family, to Shakespeare. Some lucky kids are even going to have a chance to stand on the stage where Anne Hathaway stands every night, delivering her lines. Wow! We are so lucky, this is so cool, I am thinking.

I try not to look at my teenager, knowing that she is having a "Please Mom, don't totally embarrass me" moment. After all, we are in public, with a bunch or other teens, all strangers, and on top of that, her friend has not shown up. Not a good situation to be in, even if you do have your cute 10 year old sister as a prop.

I look over the program they have for this morning's activities, and while I am thinking how wonderfully 'educational' and terrific it truly is, I am also knowing in my bones, that this may not fly with my oldest daughter who has a low threshold for 'earnest'. This was the 3 year old at a Barney concert, (yeah, I tried it, seemed like the right thing to do), who gave me a look that said: "As if!" Hated it. Never have met another 3 year old with such utter disdain for Barney.

Sure enough, she turns to me after reading through the program, surveys the scene, and her 'earnest-meter' reads a high of 10. She is out of there.

This is not worth fighting for. I have learned to pick my battles. (Took me a while, okay, I can be a slow learner, but stubborn kids will teach you this over and over till you finally get it!) So while New York offers all these amazing cultural opportunities, I have to battle my feeling of responsibility to offer my kids as much exposure as I can, and that it is my job, come hell or high water, to shove it down their throats!

We leave the theater, and I am figuring I get a free morning to get to do my work. They can do whatever they like. After 15 ft. they are off and running: "Please can we go to the Diana Ross playground?!"

"Yes you can. Oops, I forgot my Metro card. You can also walk the few miles home. Bye bye! Have fun!"

I still win sometimes. They get their exercise. A fabulous perk of living in a town where you can walk everywhere, and you don't need your parent to drive you.

We do love this town.

Happy parenting in NYC!