- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 3, 2000

Have you ever read "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich," by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn? It's the story of one day in the life of a Soviet prisoner. It is beautifully written, but when I read it, I was convinced no day could be as long as the one described in the book. Then my children went on vacation for 10 days and left my grandson Matt with me. So here it is: "One Day in My Life With Matt."

3:30 a.m. Tumble out of bed to screams exploding through remote baby monitor (a replacement for just listening as we did). Stumble down hall and pick up Matt. Sit down in rocking chair. Almost fall asleep rocking Matt. Put Matt back in crib. Go back to bed. Fail to fall asleep due to REM sleep cycle being irreparably disturbed.

6:30 a.m. Go into kitchen to have quiet cup of coffee before Matt wakes up.

6:31 a.m. Matt wakes up.

6:32-6:45 a.m. Pick up Matt. Diaper Matt. Dress Matt. Chase Matt down hallway toward steep staircase. Catch Matt. Catch breath. Stumble downstairs, holding Matt, grasping rail, so large black dog (also left in our care) does not knock us both over as she barrels down staircase chased by German shepherd that lives in house at all times and is not happy about large black dog in residence.

6:46-6:58 a.m. Try to straighten out Matt's legs while Matt fights efforts to place him in highchair.

6:58 a.m. Success Matt in highchair.

6:59 a.m. Success Ellen in kitchen chair, arms and head draped over side.

7 a.m. Look at clock, only 14 more hours until Matt goes to sleep.

7:05 a.m. Obtain Cheerios from pantry.

7:05 a.m. Notice Matt is standing in highchair.

7:05 a.m. Dash across room to grab Matt.

7:05 a.m. Fall over large black dog fighting with German shepherd over rubber hamburger.

7:05 a.m. Grab Matt.

7:05 a.m. Wait for 7:06 a.m.

7:06 a.m. Spread Cheerios on highchair tray.

7:07-7:25 a.m. Watch Matt feed Cheerios to dogs.

7:26 a.m. Give Matt Nutri-Grain bar.

7:27-7:45 a.m. Watch Matt feed Nutri-Grain bar to dogs.

7:46 a.m. Think about showering.

7:47 a.m. Give Matt yogurt.

7:48-7:59 a.m. Watch Matt spread yogurt on face, hands and highchair tray, before watching Matt toss yogurt cup across room to the delight of two large dogs.

8 a.m. Look at clock, only 13 more hours until Matt goes to sleep.

8:15 a.m. Remove Matt from highchair. Clean Matt. Show Matt puzzle with circles, squares and triangles.

8:16-8:30 a.m. Point to circles, squares and triangles while listening to him repeat, "Ircle, quare, and wyangle."

8:31 a.m. Think about Matt's brilliance.

8:32 a.m. Show Matt puzzle again and ask, "Which piece is the circle?"

8:32 a.m. Watch Matt throw square across room.

8:33 a.m. Decide happiest people in the world are not necessarily the most brilliant.

8:34 a.m. Think about taking shower.

8:35-8:45 a.m. Ready Matt to go to park sippy cup, diapers, diaper washes, plastic bag for dirty diapers, cookies, change of clothes (just in case), collapsible stroller.

8:45-8:59 a.m. Wangle past two huge dogs trying to get out door, while carrying Matt, Matt's supply bag, Matt's stroller and pocketbook. Put Matt in car seat. Squeeze behind wheel.

9 a.m. Look at clock, only 12 more hours until Matt goes to sleep.

9:15-11:20 a.m. Arrive at park. Watch Matt run up and down ramps. Hold hand while he slides down slide. Watch Matt run up and down ramps. Hold hand while he slides down slide. Watch Matt run up and down ramps. Hold hand while he slides down slide. Repeat from beginning. No one at park thinks I'm Matt's mother.

11:21 a.m.-1:29 p.m. Go home. Give Matt hot dog and peas. Watch Matt fill nose with peas. Watch Matt feed remaining peas to dogs. Think about taking shower. Grab hot dog from Matt as he gets ready to feed dogs. Eat Matt's hot dog.

1:30 p.m. Put Matt in crib. Watch Matt throw books, blanket and toys out of crib. Take Matt out of crib.

1:31-3 p.m. Return to park. Repeat morning activities. Think about taking shower. Look at watch. Only eight more hours until Matt goes to sleep.

3:01-5 p.m. Drive home. Ignore daughter's instructions to not let Matt sit in front of television for long periods of time. Show Matt every video I can find. Watch Matt watch videos.

5:01-6:15 p.m. Give Matt meat sauce and string beans for dinner. Watch Matt use spoon to pick up large scoops of meat sauce. Watch Matt take large scoops of meat sauce and deposit inside front of bib overalls. Remove Matt from highchair. Call dogs. Watch two large dogs lick meat sauce and meat off Matt. Think about giving Matt bath. Decide dogs have done a thorough enough job. Husband comes home says he's exhausted. Think about finding divorce lawyer.

6:16 p.m. Push Matt around in Crazy Coupe. Catch large blue ball from Matt. Catch orange ball from Matt. Catch pink ball from Matt. Play "baketball" with Matt. Pick up Legos Matt finds and tries to use as basketball. Pick up Fisher Price people Matt finds and tries to use as basketball. Pick up dog food that Matt tries to use as basketball, after deciding it doesn't taste as good as it looks.

8 p.m. Turn all clocks ahead in plot to put Matt to bed one hour early (never know what he could remember when he grows up and sees psychiatrist.) Read "Dinosaur's Binkit" to Matt four times while rocking him. Put Matt in crib. Collapse.

2:30 a.m. Take shower.

P.S. To the 3 million plus grandparents who are raising their grandchildren you are the true unsung heroes.

Ellen Rosenthal is the grandmother of 1-year-old Matthew. Her column will appear the first Tuesday of each month. Send any comments and suggestions to her by mail: PO Box 60701, Potomac, Md. 20859; or by e-mail (grandtales@aol.com).

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide