01 June 2010

C3 po'd

We have three women who rotate as, for lack of a better word, conceirges for our building. In reality they sit behind a desk in the entryway. And take lots of breaks. Most times after we pass the desk, Lexi asks, "What she is doing down there?" and I tell her, "She's working." "She's watching television," is the sage reply. And, yes. Between breaks they mostly sit and watch television.

Two of them will take your trash out to the courtyard, so that's FANTASTIC!

C1 is very stiff and proper. She calls Lexi "Alexandra" and speaks to her in Russian. Long-winded Russian. Lexi just glazes over.

C2 is a warm, friendly babushka. She is the one who SO wants to be affectionate to Lexi. She will try to give her little treats and wanted to do a little fingerplay with her. She likes Lexi.

C3 speaks a little English, and so, until recently, was Lexi's favorite.

Every time she comes in, Lexi dashes up the steps so that she's standing at eye-level with whomever is on duty. To start a conversation, she usually shows them something--her lunchbox, a bottle of water, her dress.

C3 told me when Lexi showed her a bottle of water...

In English, the word "spoiled", it is negative?"

I confirmed it was.
In Russian, too. I think Lexi is spoiled.
Spoiled? (I was flabbergasted.) Really? I don't think so.
Yes. A little. A little spoiled.
Well, when you have nothing, then you need many new things.
She conceded that point, but remained unconvinced.

THEN, when we had our week of summer a while back, Lexi came in wearing a sleeveless top (H@nna Andersson-- quite modest and much thicker than her t-shirts). It was hot and we'd walked home. C3 was not happy. The conversation quickly went from English to Russian:

Where is her jacket? Where is her coat? What is this? (dismissive gesture at sleeves)
It's hot today. We walked from school. It is good.
No, it is not good. She must have a jacket.
No, she is fine. Are you cold, Lexi? (No, I am not.) Of course. Mama knows. Mama knows what Lexi needs.
No, she does not! Mama does not know!
And so I just repeated that Mama knew and walked away up the stairs.

This is the kind of thing that drives me nuts!


Amy...who wanted 4. said...

Holy Cow Batman!
I'd have a REAL problem with that, how incredibly rude!
You were much nicer than I think I would have been.
Lexi is sooooo not spoiled in my eyes. That lady would keel over if she saw some of the kids in the US. Lol

Barb said...

Oh. My. You know better than me, but it seems very Russian to give your opinion about something you disagree with . . . true?

When we met Sofia's old SW on Saturday, there was a comment made about her hair being long and down ("in Russia the hair is in braids"). I didn't take the comment badly, but I thought they'd like to see that her hair is so beautiful!

Essie the Accidental Mommy said...


Whaaaaaaaaa???? How dare she! And dang, what is it with old people and the dang coats all the time. Listen, its 107, she doesn't need a coat! They are usually horrified with me because I don't push for coats and hats. I suggest, then you freeze your head off. Little ones usually make the decision on their own the next time.

Anyhow, I'M REALLY mad she said Lexi was spoiled after confirming it means a NEGATIVE! UH! Rotten mean lady!

Jojo, Julz, Julianne said...

Hotel Floor Ladies do the same...

*I got a call from America while in Russia, to tell me that My Anna needed to be wearing a hat everyday...(i guess my coordinator didn't feel like telling me in person.)

Oh well, huh? not too much longer for ya! I learned this recently,
"ChopChop Lollipop" and I use it when the conversation goes nowhere, and I don't know how to walk away....You could say it to the floor ladies!!

Tina in CT said...

You are very polite. After their butting in, I would not be so polite.

What is it with Russian women and always giving their unsolicited comments?

I am sure your daughter is not spoiled. As you said, she had noththing so of course, everything is new that she has.

kristin said...

I have to laugh about the coat! I was yelled at in Red Square by a women (not older) because you could see Klaires' skin around her socks! And don't worry Lex is spoiled with love, you have every right too! We have to "spoil" them! They deserve it!

kate said...

See? You guys know. ;>

Barb--yep, very common. This was just one example. (And my little Russian princesses at school all wear their hair loose-to the point of distraction.)

Es--I know. That floored me. Confirm it's negative and THEN say it. Want me to send her to talk to your neighbors?

Kristin--that's what I said (and forgot until you said it so I'll put it back). She's loved.

Now, I don't mean that things equal love. I just mean that she's loved and cared for now--and has a bottle of water to drink.

AND, when she's showing something, she's always doing it with such a grateful heart.

Essie the Accidental Mommy said...

Only if she brings the Russian mob with her, lol!

The more I think about it the more I want to pull her babushka down over her face! MEAN! RUDE! Ooooh, I know, teach her the sign language I have on my blog today. LMAO!

nicole said...

sadly as parents we all go through it at one point or another..people giveing us "advice" we dont ask for..stick to the iam her mama so i know best..how dare she say other wise..huggs

Jellona said...

I cannot believe it! I think that kind of behaviour is rude where ever you live..
And yes.. you were a LOT nicer in those situations that I would've ever been..

And HI :) I am Miia from Finland and I found your blog just yesterday.. :)

Jellona said...

And what I have read from your texts, I think that your daughter is anything but spoiled.. <3

Annie said...

Ha! THAT is the kind of thing that I found so - INTERESTING in Russia! And probably my ability (flaw?) to never take offense serves me well there. And a sense of humor is one of God's greatest gifts.

This is such a great post because I can TOTALLY see these women, having met all of them on my various visits.

First of all, they illustrate the - umpteen zillion "workers" in Russia who appear to not do much. Now, the difference between them and US workers who don't do much is that here, there seems to be such deceit about it. If I come upon our custodian sitting in the teacher's lounge, for example, I'll have to endure his long-winded excuse for it. (Not realizing that if he'd not said anything I'd not have noticed him at all.) Road workers not doing much have to appear to be consulting one another. When I arrived in my position, I had a "secretary" who spent THE ENTIRE DAY chatting with the librarian who also did nothing. But both of them literally had "work" sitting there that they would grab if they heard someone coming. I (should be ashamed but am not) checked this out by sneaking up and peeking through the library door sans shoes. In Russia people who don't have anything to do at the moment still HAVE THE POSITION and the position is valuable in and of itself and they are PROUD of it, and therefore don't mind standing (or sitting) up tall. (It is the men who stand out in front of every place of business not doing anything that amused me.)

And - the opinions!!! Of COURSE they give their opinion! That is part of their job, I think! After a day or two of being startled, I started to enjoy it. Wouldn't it be fun to think that if I lived there I could start being so bold!? Because I do think it is in the realm of "expected" intercourse, and therefore not nearly so "rude" as it would be here.

Here, if someone thinks your child is not warmly enough dressed, they smile smarmily at you then out of the corner of your eye you can see their face change and they criticize you to their friend or colleague; or if alone purse their mouth or shake their head. I know because Aidan was extremely hot-blooded and if he wore a zipped-up coat and hat on even a cold day, I'd undress him and he'd be bathed in sweat and red as a beet. So, I dressed him appropriately for him and watched the disapproval which followed us (not met us, mind you) wherever we went.

It was also amusing to hear all the things that the Russian people would say to my kids thinking that I didn't understand Russian. A man in a shop once pulled Sergei over to tell him that he had better watch out for his safety with us, and Sergei proudly told the guy "She speaks Russian!" That put an end to that interesting conversation!

Annie said...

Ooops; that was long. Sorry.

Jim said...

It's cute that Lexi, in her own way, starts these conversations with the dezhurnayikh. If loving her, providing for her and giving her the best you can is spoiling her, then spoil away, Kate!

What you described is so typically Russian - the assertion of cultural common opinion over personal knowledge of what's best for a person. What I haven't figured out is whether it is the cause of Russia's descent into communism in the 20th century or whether it is a symptom of it. Maybe both?

habeshachild said...

oh my. i don't think i would last very long there. you are a saint.

Lindsay said...

Lexi is so far from being spoiled. What a horrible, nasty thing to say. You don't need me to tell you what you already know but I'll say it anyway: you have a wonderful, polite, generous and kind daughter. 'Spoiled' would never, ever be a word I would even think of to describe her. She is the absolute opposite of the meaning of the word. Shame on any adult for talking about any child in that way. Horrible old bat!

We get the coat thing too btw: what is it with that? Slovak's constantly overdress their children and babies. You see the poor little purple things wrapped in tights and hats and long sleeved coats and tops when the temperature is soaring, and all because it is not 'officially' summer so socks and t-shirts 'can't' be worn.

beckyww said...

Mama Knows Best.

standtogether said...

Are you kidding me? Unbelievable!
Most people are annoyed at their mothers for saying things like that about their children, if their moms have the guts to say them at all. Not people you barely know . . . honestly. Ridiculous. I don't know how I'd have reacted in your place.

Matt and Carla Morgan said...

The patience of Job you must have.

Loved the title of your post!

Like my little Yoda-ism?

Hugs friend.


Elizabeth said...

I agree with Annie about the overemployment (what's the word?). There seems to be no incentive to work faster, and too many people are hired to sit around doing very little. There is a woman at our university who stands near the doorway watering plants and feeding the resident kitties. I do not envy them because they must earn so little, but it just seems like a waste.

Didn't you realize that being cold can lead to illness? :) I'm still amused when accused of dressing inadequately, but I find myself doing it too, fussing over people and draping them in extra clothing if they seem cold.

Carrie said...

I tried posting this a few days ago, but google hated me that day. Trying again. :)

It was rude, but I suppose a cultural thing to a certain degree (regarding the coat, anyway). Then again, some people are just cranky.

I think next time Lexi skipped in without a coat, should that woman say anything, I would tell her that the coat was given away, you know, so as not to spoil Lexi. :)

She's loved, not spoiled.

Jenni said...

Amazing! And incredibly rude. I had a woman (also Russian) here at home instruct me how to treat Vika and it was extremely annoying.