Posted by Julia Bendis
You know you’ve watched way too much television with your kids this summer when you start to pay attention to commercials… During yet another “Big Time Rush” marathon, I noticed a Kmart commercial. No, I didn’t pay extra attention to it because it was Kmart but rather WHAT they were advertising. They were talking about Kmart Layaway program…
Maybe its just me, but why does Kmart need layaway? Are we in that much of a crappy economy that people need help paying for a $4 T-shirt? How much time do you need to pay for that, a week, a month? I can picture it now: “Yes, I’d like to put this shirt on layaway. I will give you a dollar now, come back next week and give you fifty cents, and by Christmas I can finally pick it up and pay the rest of it off!”
Shouldn’t a place like Bloomingdale’s and Saks Fifth Avenue have layaway instead? Wouldn’t THAT make more sense, especially when a cotton wife-beater costs more than my car payment over there… Can you imagine what life would be like if every store, restaurant, Doctor’s office and retail place had layaway: “Yes, I am only going to pay for what I’ve eaten, but next week I will come back, pay and pick up the rest of my dinner, from today.”
Alright, I’ll stop dreaming now and go back to the real world. The world where Kmart layaway and $300 underpants at Saks…
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August 12, 2011 | 9:04 pm
Posted by Julia Bendis
* I was reading a story in the newspaper to Nikolas (6) about people in Somalia having to abandon their weakest children on the side of the road, in order to get their other children to a refugee camp for food and water. I explained that the Mothers have to make a choice in which one they can save. Without blinking an eye, he says: “Well, aren’t you glad we live in America Mom!”
* Me: “I can’t wait to take you guys to see the Three Muskateers movie!” Tyler: “It seems scary, not sure Mom” Me: “Oh, its fine, its like PG-something” Tyler: “Yeah, PG-13!”
* As I was about to pull out of a parking spot, I wondered if I could go forward instead of in reverse. Just as I was saying out loud: “I wonder if there is anything blocking the car in front…”, Tyler (11) says: “Um, yea BUSHES!”
* “Oh s**t, that’s super spicy!”- says Nikolas (6) while eating dinner. And then as he sees everyone’s face staring at him, “Wait, was that a bad word? I didn’t know it was a bad word. Should I not say S**T anymore?”
* At dinner, Nik my 6-year-old kept blowing on the steam, over and over again. I had to intervene: “Stop blowing, you will pass out! Oh wait, maybe its a good idea. Keep going!”
* Tyler (11) talking to his younger brother: “That’s why your room is such a mess, you don’t treat your LEGO’s with any respect!”
* Talking to Nik(6) about being nice to babies, he keeps saying that he hates babies. I point out that HE himself was once a baby. To which he says: “Mom, even when I was a baby I hated myself!”
* Walking into a Target store, Nik (6) sees the giant red balls outside the door: “Oh I love those giant balls! I can do so much with those balls, Mom!”
* While watching TV, the commercial for 76 gas comes on. The one with the kid asking his parents tons of questions while they are trying to drive. Then they show the number that parents can call for pre-recorded information on all kinds of kid questions. Nikolas (6) says: “Yeah, you are gonna need to get that for me!”
* “Dad, am I old enough to ride a dolphin yet?”, Nikolas (6)
* Nikolas (who just turned 6) has been walking around telling people he is 7. One day, after meeting a new person who asked him how old he was, Nikolas answered: “I am 7!” To which Daddy replied (for the 15th time), “No, you are 6!” Nikolas getting visibly upset: “Why do you keep saying that? I have told you many times that I am 7!”
* After seeing Nicolas Cage’s star on the Hollywood walk of fame, my Nikolas exclaimed: “Mom, I found my star! I told you I am famous!”
* Out of nowhere, while drinking iced tea Nikolas says: “Where is the ice?” Me: “You don’t need ice, its cold.” Nik: “But its ICED TEA, its supposed to have ice in it, otherwise what’s the point of calling it Iced Tea?”
* Reading Dr. Seuss book “Oh can you say the Dinosaur names!”, Dad asks: Nikolas (5), can you say Tyrannosaurus Rex?
* At dinner, Nik (5) announced that he wants his own blog! When I asked what he will write about he said: “I will write about you Mommy.” That’s appropriate, considering all I do is write about him.
* Nik (5): Mommy, do you know who I have a crush on? Me: No, who? Nik: I have a crush on girls in Bikinis. Me: All girls in Bikinis or a specific/one girl in a bikini? Nik: All the girls in bikinis. Not the little girls, like my age. But the older, bigger girls!
* I was partially dressed as Nik (5) walked into my room. I tried giving him a hug, and as he pulled away I asked why he wouldn’t hug me. “Mom, how can I, when you got all THAT going on?”, as he pointed up and down, and all over at my half-dressed body.
* Me: Nikolas, what did you do at school today?
Nik: I farted.
Me: Um, ok. What else did you do at school?
Nik: I made crap out of nothing.
* Nikolas’ kindergarten teacher keeps a notebook of all the interesting things he says in class, here’s some of it:
- Teacher, I know what heaven looks like. I saw a picture of it on my Daddy’s phone. It has clouds and trees, and a giant ladder that goes all the way to the sky, and you can take a shortcut to get there!
- During quiet, writing time: Teacher, I have a question. I was just thinking that if a Banana had a face, a mouth, a nose, eyes and ears, it could walk up to me and talk. And that would be very weird, wouldn’t it?
* Nikolas (5), was asking me a lot of questions while I was typing an email on my phone. The kids know how much I don’t like when they interrupt what I am doing. I always ask the kids to be patient, wait til I am done and then I will answer any questions they have. As he asked yet another question, he finally remembered what I have been saying about interrupting, and I heard him in the corner mumbling to himself: “Yes, I know. I guess I will have to be patient and wait til she is done texting on her phone, AGAIN! I can’t wait til I get my own phone, and show her what its like!” Point well taken.
* I bought Tyler (11) some new shirts. After I brought them home, he was looking through them and pulled out the blue, Rusty brand one. Sarcastically, he says: “Great, Mom! This will go great with my Red Rusty shirt, and my Green Rusty shirt, and my White Rusty shirt, and my Black Rusty shirt, and now my very own BLUE Rusty shirt!” Apparently, I’ve been buying him the same type Rusty Brand shirts, without even knowing it.
* The best quote ever from my 5-year-old: “I’m so happy today, and everyday! You know why? Because I’m not dead!” How simple, yet so wise!
* I was talking to my husband about my Dad being sick: “You should have seen the 5-Star service my dad got from Mom when he was sick!” Tyler (11) yells out: “He ALWAYS gets a 5-Star service from her!”
* I usually make a good sized dinner every night, typically chicken, rice, lots of vegetables, etc. One night, I only made a vegetable soup for dinner. Tyler (11) looks at the soup I just placed in front of him, and says: “Mom, are we poor?” Apparently, when you spoil your family with gourmet dinners almost every night, a simple soup with bread means we are poor.
* As usual, Nik (5) was taking forever in the bathroom. I yelled out to him: “Are you OK? Did you fall in the toilet?” “No Mommy, ONLY my butt fell in the toilet! But, its OK. I pulled it out!”
* As we were all driving one day, a car cuts us off. I yell out: “Why is that guy an idiot?” Tyler (11): “I don’t know, Mom. Why is a pickle green?”
* My 5-year-old has started to take a shower on his own. One day, while he was in the shower my husband was telling him to make sure to wash his ‘behind’ well. As Nikolas was about to do it: “Oh, this ain’t gonna be pretty!”
* Beef jerky time:
Me: Would you like some beef jerky?
My kid (5): Yea yea beef jerky!
He starts eating.
My kid: “Oh, its spicy, I need water”
Me: I don’t have any water
My kid: Well why did you give me this then?
Me: Not sure. Spit it out.
My kid: I need a napkin!
Me: Ooh lucky for you I found a napkin.
My kid: No, no - lucky for you.
* When Nikolas (5) was taking a very long time in the bathroom one night, I asked him if he was alright, if his stomach was hurting, and if it was diarrhea. He looks in the toilet, looks up at me: “Oh, its your lucky day, Mom!”
* Nik (5) didn’t want the Oats on the Oat Bran muffin, so my husband said he will scrape them off. He finished, and our kid says: “That’s good enough, Dad. You can take a break now!”
* My 5-year-old wanted to have the leftover Halloween candy, and was trying to get it. Me: “Oh, don’t eat that, its a month-old!” My kid: “No, you are a month-old!”
* While trying to clean up the house, the little one (5) kept whining that no one is giving him anything to do. It was getting on my nerves, me: “What’s with you?” My kid: “Stop saying that, there is Nothing WITH me, I don’t have anything WITH me!”
* The only show my kid (5) will watch is Sponge Bob, he is obsessed with him! I have about 100 episodes recorded. When one of the recorded shows ended, he ran up the stairs, screaming: “Mommy, Mommy, Sponge Bob bent over, it bent over!” I had no clue what he was saying, so all kinds of inappropriate thoughts ran through my head… He was trying to tell me that the show was over, it ended.
*We asked our oldest, Tyler (who was 9 yrs at the time), to do us a favor and give a shower to his little brother (4 at the time), kind of as a joke. Really didn’t think that he would actually do it. He obviously took it as a way to make a quick buck… We got this as our bill of services rendered, below!
* My 10-year-old rode his bike down to the neighborhood park, with his friends. After he got back home, asked him, “Tyler did you guys stay at the park the whole time?”. Rolling his eyes at me, “No, Mom. We went to the bar, had a few beers, you know the usual!”
* “Mom, when you were a little boy in Russia, did you speak English?” (Nikolas, 5). “You mean: when I was a little GIRL in Russia”, “No Mom, I SAID, when you were a little BOY in Russia! Everyone is born a Boy, and then turn into girls, Mom!”
August 9, 2011 | 6:23 pm
Posted by Julia Bendis
The other day my kids asked me if I had a pet when I was a child, which made me tell them a little story about the kitten we had for a week. This story went something like this:
When I was about eight-years-old and my brother five, we begged our parents to get us a dog or a cat all the time. For as long as I can remember my Father was allergic to dogs. Wait, let me re-phrase that. For as long as I could remember in my old age of eight, my Father TOLD us that he was allergic to dogs. He wasn’t very clear on what would happen to him if he came in contact with one, but still VERY allergic. So, we started asking for a cat…
One beautiful, overcast, and raining summer morning in Latvia (it always rained), my brother and I woke up to a brand new kitten purring at our beds. Yes, my brother and I shared a bedroom for a very long time. In fact all siblings, grandparents and sometimes distant relatives shared rooms in Russia. Going back to the kitten.
It was a typical grey, not-very-attractive kitten but to us he was the most beautiful cat in the world! He was playful and sweet, during the day. At night, he turned into a monster who hissed and scratched, and ripped everything to shreds. My Grandmother wasn’t so thrilled about having another mouth to feed in the house, and every chance she got she let us know how much she hated the damn thing. I started suspecting something when my she made little comments like, “Oh I hope the little thing never gets eaten by anything when you let him outside!” Or “I sure hope he lives a long life with us!” I don’t know if any of you reading this see where this might be going, my kids sure didn’t…
One a not so beautiful, overcast but NOT a rainy morning we woke up to my Grandmother sitting very quietly in the corner of the room, just as my Grandfather blared the radio, as he did every morning in order to get us out of bed (let me remind you this was summer, no school, nowhere to go, and they let us sleep in til 8:30). I didn’t see the kitten anywhere, and began to panic. We all went out looking for him. After looking all over the house and outside for days, my Grandmother finally told us that the cat ran away and got hit by a car! And yes, he died…
I cried and cried for days after, and my parents promised to get us another kitten soon. Yea, that never happened although we did get an Afghan Hound puppy for a whole day once! Somehow when my Father wanted this beautiful dog, his allergies went away suddenly… However, after the first pee and poop on the floor of our tiny two-bedroom apartment, my Father’s allergies returned and the puppy had to be taken away… To this day I am not sure what happened to him, he simply disappeared.
The real kicker of this story is that years later I learned the real truth about what happened to that kitten! Once my Grandmother’s animosity towards the cat grew to the point of no return, she decided to simply get rid of it. So instead of telling us that she gave him back to the people we got him from, she made up a story of him being unhappy in our house, running away and getting hit by a car. Isn’t that nice?
What can I say… That’s how we do it in Russia…
August 2, 2011 | 2:37 pm
Posted by Julia Bendis
Apparently, The Tooth Fairy is going through tough economic times too. 10% of children did not receive any money this year, and 7% received less than a dollar. Are you kidding me? First of all, I don’t understand the whole “Tooth Fairy” thing as it is. In what messed up world do you get rewarded with nothing less than MONEY for losing your baby teeth? This has got to be the dumbest idea a non-parent has ever come up with!
When I was a kid, not only was there no such thing as a Tooth Fairy, but we didn’t have “Fairies” of any kind. Forget getting rewarded for losing a tooth. You know what our “big reward” was? Pulling the damn tooth out yourself, so Grandma didn’t tie a thread to it and the other end to a doorknob, and then yank the door to pull that tooth out. You were given a simple choice, do it yourself or Grandma will do it for you! Forget money, forget going for ice cream afterward, forget parents saving the disgusting thing and giving it to your spouse on your wedding day.
You think I’m kidding? There are people I know that got a bag full of goodies on their wedding day. Their future spouse’s baby teeth, hair, even molds of their crooked teeth before they got braces on! I was surprised to hear that it didn’t contain their baby finger nails, and penis foreskin from the guy’s circumcision… Somehow I have a feeling that those parents might have that somewhere as well, stashed far far away…
As much as I love many American traditions, I think this particular obsession with saving every tiny, mundane and useless piece of childhood is completely foreign to me and maybe even other non-Americans. I could be wrong. I mean, take a look at my parents. Not only did they NOTsave my baby teeth or hair, but have thrown a lot away. Not just MY artifacts, but their own as well. My parents don’t keep anything, their house is the most immaculate piece of art I’ve ever seen. There isn’t a single piece of paper out of place, much less an occasional baby tooth laying around.
I am pretty sure that as soon as I moved out of their house, in my very old age of 21, the very same day they packed up all my crap and threw it away. They don’t even wait for neighborhood garage or yard sales, they just throw everything out. Their garage looks like someone’s living room, you literally could live in it, it is that clean. The other day I was rummaging through their garage looking for my old journals and books. I didn’t find either of those things, however I did find a nice collection of classic books… all in Russian. They literally filled a giant boat FULL of Russian books when we immigrated here. Nothing else, just books. I am not sure if some genius told them that in America, people will pay millions for those books or what…
So, as you can tell my views on saving baby’s foreskin, locks of hair and other artifacts is a bit skewed, although per my husband’s request I have been saving my kids’ first teeth and hair since they were babies. Only for him to throw it all away ten years later when he found strange hair, teeth and what looked like the remains of an animal that died from suffocation, at the bottom of a plastic container titled “KIDS CRAP”…