So like, I should be planning tomorrow’s lesson for the second graders and typing up the script for the kindergarten class holiday play and doing something or other to promote the charity auction to benefit the orphans, and I could also be editing Kostia’s translation of one of his most popular short stories, but I don’t want to do anything. It’s like being a student again — having a crapload of homework to do but really only wanting to goof off. Fortunately the only thing really at stake here is a painful hour and a half with the schoolkids if I don’t have a solid lesson plan.

Is this interesting to you? No? OK, I’ll tell a kindergarten story. One of my favorite students, Kirill, is really clever and has a very dry sense of humor for a three-year-old. He also gets irritated very easily, though it’s hard to take him seriously because he takes himself so seriously and he’s only a meter tall. He frequently uses the words доволен and недоволен — pleased and displeased — to describe himself, which sounds as odd in Russian as it would coming from an Anglophone toddler. He’s usually displeased when he wakes up from nap. Today after nap he was displeased that I was helping him get dressed, “because that means that you think I’m little”. No, Kiryusha, it means I don’t want your mom to get irritated that we don’t dress you properly. I guess we teachers should lay off the “big kids can do everything by themselves” rhetoric a bit.

Speaking of getting kids dressed, Russophiles who’ve never spent any time with Russian kids should know this interesting detail: Whenever the weather is below 10 degrees Celsius, all Russian children wear tights, or колготки, under whatever else they’re wearing. Yes, boys wear tights. The first time I saw a boy wearing tights last winter I thought it was bizarre, but I quickly realized the necessity of it. I’ve sort of taken to dressing myself like a Russian child to keep warm and often wear tights under my trousers. It really helps.

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