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...
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...)