Are memories made of this?

>> Sunday, 3 October 2010

Quite often, I look around at where we - the Potty family - currently are, and wonder: what will my children remember about this adventure? Will this be an experience studded with jewel-like memories that they will take out and polish up to show off to family and friends in years to come? Will they remember the ice-skating on Red Square, the boat trips on the Moscow River, the expat auction where Dad bought a picture of tractors? Will they remember the beggars on the street, the richly decorated metro stations, the tanks and 20 metre long missiles rumbling down Tverskaya on Victory Day? Will they remember the glittering air as the humidity crystalised on freezing days, the terrible traffic jams, the constant trips to Ikea?

Or will it just all melt into one 'Oh, I lived in Russia once, for a while' anecdote that gets pulled out every now and again when the latest president does or says something newsworthy?

I hope it doesn't. Because yesterday, we had a day that should be what memories are made of; a trip a couple of hours out of Moscow to the birthday party of a Russian acquaintance.

If I had speculated what it would be like and had written it down in advance, I would probably have deleted the file as too predictable. There was a long journey. There were horses being exercised by grooms in the paddock when we arrived. There was a warm welcome and pink champagne (admittedly, not for my sons), marble flooring, and home cinema where 'Prince Caspian' never seemed so lifelike. There were little girls racing around in curls and pretty dresses, and a handsome older son who was accompanying an adaptation of a Tolstoy play put on by guests on a grand piano. There was a group of family and old friends, between whom there was real affection, much toasting, and plenty of vodka being drunk in the birthday girl's honour. There were guitars and folk songs - mostly Ukranian - being sung firstly around the dinner table and later by the fire pit on the banks of a lake as the sun went down. There were fireworks - what fireworks! - organised by a group of loyal retainers, drivers gathered in a forecourt outside as the 4x4's mustered to whisk the guests back to Moscow, (watched over by a man with a gun), and a journey home in the utter darkness of the Russian countryside.

As a hook to hang some of a little boy's memories of his time in Russia, I think you'll agree, not at all bad.

Mind you, I wouldn't be at all surprised if what is remembered is not any of the above but a conversation I had with one of my sons. One of the guests at the party was a very friendly - and pretty - 13 year old girl who, because she spoke good English (rarer than you might imagine over here), was popular with my Boys. At a certain point she disappeared upstairs to get changed for the play that I mentioned above, and reappeared in a dress worthy of Pride and Prejudice. It prompted the following exchange:

Boy ?: "Wow!"

Me: "Yes, doesn't she look pretty?"

Boy X?: "Yes, she does. (Pause). I never saw her like that before. (Note: he had met her for the first time that day). She's got boobies!"

No prizes for guessing which of my boys this came from...


family Affairs 3 October 2010 at 20:12  

Boys - they're just so shallow!! That is going to be the only bit he remembers from his lovely day out - her boobies!!

nixdminx 3 October 2010 at 21:37  

that's hysterical, I can't believe he said that - but what I want to know what did he say it in Russian or English?

Expat mum 3 October 2010 at 23:25  

Ha ha ha. It would be interesting toask them what their best memory was in about a month's time. It will be something inconsequential - or the boobies!

The No Wonder Mom 4 October 2010 at 04:48  

What is it about boys and boobies. My son calls them boobilas. Great site too. Check out what I wrote about the subject.

Enjoy! I can't wait to come back to check out more.

Tara 4 October 2010 at 09:22  

Ah yes that rite of passage for all young boys: the discovery of boobies! It's all down hill from now on you know that don't you!

Sparx 4 October 2010 at 09:36  

Wow... that just sounds amazing - dreamlike even... except for your boy... bless him for bringing things back to the land of reality!

dulwich divorcee 4 October 2010 at 11:13  

I'm afraid that's it for his golden memories of Russia - it's going to be the place where he first saw boobies!

Potty Mummy 4 October 2010 at 11:18  

FA, yes, you're probably right...

NM, English - or I wouldn't have understood him (although I suspect the meaning would have been clear in any case)

EPM - just spoke to Boy #1 (home sick from school) about what he remembered to say in circle time this morning. Answer? Nothing. He had forgotten it all already. My hopes are now riding on long term memory kicking in...

Thanks NoWM!

Tara, I wouln't mind - but he's four! 4!

Sparx, yes, you can rely on my boys to do that!

DD - which, when you think about it, isn't so ridiculous...

London City Mum 4 October 2010 at 11:42  

That sounded almost surreal.

Until the boobie part of course!


p.s. and the boys will remember far more than you realise. My brother and I recall amazing things from our different worldwide abodes at a similar age.

nappy valley girl 4 October 2010 at 13:49  

Glad to hear he's living up to his reputation.
My boys are obsessed with boobs too - they are always grabbing mine at inappropriate moments.....
Party sounds fabulous...very Anna Karenina....

nappy valley girl 4 October 2010 at 15:56  

PS Just linked to your post - inspired me to write something about mothers of boys....

Mwa 4 October 2010 at 16:10  

Sounds like you're working on some great memories there, boobies and all.

Footballers Knees 4 October 2010 at 20:32  

Is Boy 2 obsessed? What am I asking, of course he is, they all are!
Great post x

Iota 5 October 2010 at 02:10  

Oh, cut to the chase, why don't you, Boy #... (I wouldn't dare guess!)

Iota 5 October 2010 at 02:12  

I agree with Sparx. Your description does have a dream-like quality to it. Makes me think of The Nutcracker (which, since you have boys, you will probably know by its alternative name... begins with B...)

Potty Mummy 5 October 2010 at 10:15  

LCM - thanks for putting my mind at rest!

Thanks NVG - for the link and the comment.

Mwa, we're doing our best...

FK, how could you tell it was Boy #2???

Iota, not one for small talk, my boys. (Can't think WHERE they get that from)

Heather 5 October 2010 at 14:59  

Wow, it sounds like a fairy tale...well, apart from the bit about the boobies, obviously! Although we all know that's what the handsome prices were always thinking.

~Mama 7 October 2010 at 11:49  

Wonderful post, hilarious punchline! Always the way with rearing little ones, isn't it? Wonderful moments punctuated by silly running commentary!

Paradise Lost In Translation 7 October 2010 at 14:39  

The answer I'm afarid is prob not mch. My 6 yr old doesn't remember much about sri lanka, ALREADY & we left 'only' 2 1/2 yrs ago. Of course thats an AGE in their little lives.Hopefully the photos will jog memories tho. our son, now 10 remembers more tho I am sad abt how mch he has already forgotten.
Do pop over to my blog sometime, youhaven't visite din ages. My last post was even a subject close to yr heart. Potty training, bed wetting etc!

kratosellas 9 October 2010 at 12:43

Reluctant Memsahib 10 October 2010 at 12:06  

perfect. and his comment will, indubitaly, have sharpened your own memories of the occassion! x

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