Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Sharp Cookie's First Playground/Scooter Afternoon of 2008!

YIPPEEEE!!!!!!! Witness here the happiest five-year-old around! Talia felt a lot better this afternoon, so I took her outside to play. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, and it was the first nice afternoon of the year! Sure, it's still quite chilly--but mud was minimal and we dressed warmly. She was quite talkative and came up with quite a few zingers I'll soon get to.

Before sharing those snippets of conversation, however, here are some pictures of the playground equipment. Most neighborhood playgrounds would miserably fail any level of safety standards... There are enough "good" playgrounds, though, that I'm not complaining. At least they try to make these incredibly old metal structures cheerful by repainting them in bright colors (albeit with paint that smells toxic when fresh).

Now, can you say "butt splinters," anyone?! I just picture kids in sundresses or shorts in that swing... Ouch!

Now back to Natalia...

On why she's still able to ride her scooter so expertly--doing all kinds of wiggles at a good speed: "I remember the olden days, most of them. Just not the wedding so well." (She was referring to the "olden days" of last summer and early fall when we rode our scooters all the time).

Upon hearing some teenage boys using rather bad language in front of us--they peppered their speech with "мать," literally "mother," but in this context it's much closer to the f-bomb (I hear you, Tami, about your frustration at moments like this!!): "Why do they keep talking about their mother? I mean, if she were here, they'd be getting one l-o-n-g time out, dontcha know!?" (Yes, quite astute, Natash!)

Upon taking in the swing at the park--the one with the shredded wooden seat: "I'm not sitting on that swing... Purple pieces of wood in your bum probably hurt just as much as plain old boring brown ones..."

Upon surveying the loud, noisy crowd at the MacCafe--a coffee-house section in some Moscow McDonalds restaurants (we like to go there for darn good lattes and babyccinos--steamed milk with white chocolate syrup) at significantly lower prices than other Moscow coffee shops: "You know, Mommy... Starbucks speaks to me more." ("Speaks to me"????!! Where on Earth did she pick up THAT expression???! I guess she's growing up like Ben!)

Last, but not least, were Talia's observations as we headed home. It suddenly got much colder and Natalia started to complain that she was too tired to scooter back to our building again. I was afraid that we weren't going to make it there in time for when Katya's tutoring session ended. We got a cab and would have made it home with ten minutes to spare--had the driver not been stopped by a traffic cop. He had done nothing wrong and the officer made him get out of the car, really hassling him. Talia got fed up with the wait and then said quite loudly, "When is this going to be OV-ER? Doesn't the driver KNOW that you have to give the policeman money to make him go away??? Should I start crying and shouting that I have to pee now?" I was so glad that the cop didn't speak English! (He ended up just walking away, though, and we got home in time).

Natalia sure is one sharp--and snarky--cookie!


Tina in CT said...

"I remember the olden days, most of them. Just not the wedding so well." Where did she come up the phrase about the wedding? I love the "olden days" comment she made. Both girls can come out with some cute remarks.

Annie said...

You gave me quite a cheerful end to my afternoon with this post!!!

Connie said...

I love Talia's comments about the police! It's amazing when little ones pick up on bits of the local culture like that. We are in Cairo, and have been since my almost 5yo was 18mos. We went back to DC and were riding in a taxi - she kept complaining about how he stopped for no reason (the lights turning red meant nothing to her), why didn't he go?, the intersection is empty!, etc. I had to explain to the driver (an Ethiopian) that we were from WAY out of town. He still looked at me funny. I said, Egypt. And he understood! I like your photos of the girls in Moscow - they look very happy. How was Turkey? We are considering going there in future.

HRH said...

Starbucks speaks to me too. Keep an eye on her.

I am still laughing at your comment on my blog today about clutter as birth control. Good luck with that--scientific studies may be in order.

Lori said...

Pretty smart for a 5 y.o. I had to go back and read the first part to see how old she was. I love the comment to the police the best. We got pulled over once with Anthony and I tried to make him cry so we could say we were trying to hurry and pull over to feed him, but he wouldn't do it. Slept through the whole thing.

Nataliya said...

She's definitely one smart cookie :) So funny!

garnet said...

Oh, she looks happy -- and the comments are great.

The police story reminded me of once when our friends got stopped just outside a town as they were speeding towards it because their son needed a bathroom.

As soon as the policeman approached the window the father started looking all around (at the obviously empty countryside) and asking "Is there a toilet here anywhere?"

Meanwhile the son, who was about 11 and is used to using anywhere as men (and on occasion, women) do in Kenya, started to put his shoes on to get out and the parents are discreetly trying to signal to him to stop while the father keeps up the desperate story about how they just *have* to get their son to a toilet.

Apparently the policeman was convinced that these were clueless foreigners with a desperate child and finally waived them on without too much hassle.

Tami said...

That girl CRACKS me up! Where does she come up with this stuff...'Starbucks speaks to me!' HA!