Monday, June 16, 2008

The Olsen Twins and Their Amazing Russian


People often ask how Katya adapted to living here. She was all settled in our Brooklyn neighborhood when we moved her across the world: far away from her friends, grandparents, ballet class and preschool. And... um... shall I confess... far away from American (i.e. English language) television.

Yes, my kids had watched their fair share of television at the tender ages of 1 1/2 and 4. I was mostly on my own as a parent those days and we couldn't afford childcare--so the television "babysat" while I did housework, cooked and occasionally bathed... I should mention that Katya gave up napping the week her sister was born--at the ripe old age of 2 years and 3 months. Yes, I loved our buddies at Nick Jr. and PBS...

My mom was working at a kids' consignment shop, and she had stocked up on second-hand kids' videos for me to bring, too. I ended with almost a complete set of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen videos--the ones they made between the ages of five and ten. "Ballet Party" was their favorite since it took place in New York City.

Sooo... back to that whole "so how did Katya adjust to her new life in Russia" question. It was quite simple, actually. Sure, there were some bumps and bruises along the way, but for the most part she embraced it in a rather postive manner.

I wish I could take credit for it... Yes, my amazing parenting inspired Katya to delve into this new culture, this completely new language...

NOT QUITE.

We owe it all to Mary-Kate and Ashley. Yup! God bless those girls!

My third week here, I stumbled upon two videos that the girls had never seen: "Passport to Paris" and "Billboard Dad," perfectly dubbed in Russian.


To this day, Katya and Natalia think that the Olsen twins managed to learn fluent Russian in their spare time while living in California. Impressed and relieved, Katya chirped, "If they could do it, so can I, Mom!" Here they are watching "Мэри-Кэйт" and "Эшли":



I can't even count how many times I encouraged Katya by reminding her how well Mary-Kate and Ashley spoke... How they must have struggled while learning Russian, too, but they had stuck with it and look how fluent they became... They sounded just like native speakers...

I wonder when Katya will figure out my scam...

(Katya was intent on collecting every video the twins had ever made... The week we arrived in Moscow, Mary-Kate was in the tabloids--and listed on my msn homepage-- because of her hospitalization for anorexia. Katya must have heard me and a friend talking about it, because she then begged me to get the "Hospital Party" video, too...)

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Deceiving and being deceived is one of the pleasures of parenthood.
Ones my dautgher told me that she must be a very good student because she is an Asian and all Asians are good students according to her home room teacher. When I asked her what makes her think she is an Asian or a good student - she said-_I am from Russia isn't it in Asia? And it did not ever crossed her mind that reading books during the class under the desk or dumping the homework asignments into the garbage, hardly qualifies as being a good student. The Asian card - that is what counts - it is your birth right.
And my son did one over on that topic. He was kindergarden soccer (football) droup out. And yet, one day when he was in third grade or so, he came home and told me that he wants to play hockey. Naturaly I asked - WHY? He said, I must be very good at it, because I am Russian (the kid was born in Chicago, for gods sake).
So, we spend the next year going to some private school in Bedford which for some unknown to mother nature reason had an ice-scating ring ang hokey team. It only lasted one season, thanks god.
Olga

garnet said...

Oh, if language learning were this easy.

kate said...

Very sneaky!

I wonder if it would work backwards...if d2b thought Russian was their native tongue and then they learned English...

I've got Peanuts and Veggietales in Russian and English. ;>

kate said...

HEY! Maybe I should quit my Russian lessons (tutor has flaked for a year...) and just get dubbed. Why didn't I think of that before?

Tina in CT said...

I'm not looking forward to the pink or blue hair streaks! I want her back in the smocked dress stage!

Christine said...

My girls love anythin with the Olsen twins. I wonder if they have Full House in Russian?

Annie said...

You are too totally funny!!!!! I hate to admit I would have done the same thing. I WOULDN'T have admitted it! And, here you wrote it on the INTERNET for all to read!

Olga - once again - you MUST blog - you obviously have a wealth of good stories!

Annie said...

OK, I have had enough of your "vacation" already! Your blog is my favorite dessert. I feel deprived!

Tina in CT said...

Annie,

I haven't talked to her either as she's been extremely busy. Her cousin just arrived yesterday from the US to visit and she was getting ready and busy. I just spoke w/her for a minute and they just got in from the circus. We'll have to wait for a blog entry on that as I'm sure there will be one.

I start a major cleaning in my house tomorrow as they arrive soon in the US at my house.

Her mom

Annie said...

Tina - could you send me your address on my e-mail? I want to send those bracelets that Tamara got from my "pay it forward" and also the money for the breadbox she is planning to bring me.

akitching@stachurch.net

Christine said...

Hi Tamara,

Since I am leaving tomorrow, I just wanted to check in and make sure you got my email about the person who won the raffle.

bleeding espresso said...

Ooh I'll have to tuck this trick away in case I ever need it ;)