Monday, February 11, 2013

On Being a Daughter's Temporary Glue

Tiring, trying, a bit terrifying (read on) – also terrific.
That has been my week as the Grandma-on-Duty-with-two-year-old as daughter has her second child.
Speaking of UnRetiring, this may be the most challenging time I’ve had since leaving my job. (Maybe more so. At work, at least I could sit.) Call it Grandmalympics.
Among the tests of brain and brawn: figuring out how to wheel a large-ish stroller three blocks to Washington, D.C.’s red line (after remembering to bring Big Bird, the old Iphone with games on it, the hat and mango chips),  then two elevators, the metro, another elevator, another metro, two more elevators. Whew, 30 minutes later I’m wheeling him through the maze-like Ronald Reagan building, searching for the daycare center near daughter's office where she won't be for awhile. (I'd found it the day before -- where did it go today?) Finally find daycare and fish through my purse for the code to open the door and sign in the lad, (oops, I never signed him out the day before), and place him in the loving hands of his daycare moms.
Then return home via supermarket to buy newborn diapers, lunch, and the makings of dinners to stock their freezer. Oops, went to Giant instead of Whole Foods for those diapers – they need to be organic or recyclable or something. Good thing I kept the receipt. Back to the Giant to return it and to Whole Foods to buy the right thing!
Cooking, cooking, cooking.
Laundry, laundry, laundry.
Pick up at day care (half hour each way on metro); lad is not happy to see me. He approaches me, head down, like a prisoner returning to his cell. Good thing I brought a cookie.
New baby only home one day when medical problem emerges and we’re all racing to the ER. She lands in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. All of the above continues –now with visits to the hospital -- and then it’s Saturday. No daycare. It’s me, alone. Off to a toddler Shabbat service (he lasts through about half before remembering that it’s me -- not his daddy – who is with him). Then the communal lunch. I give him a bagel slathered with cream cheese and help myself to hummus, stuffed grape leaves, and other great looking stuff.
Oh no! Screaming, screaming.
Whazza matter?
Oh, he wants my plate. He sits there licking the cream cheese off the bagel, guarding the plate he’s commandeered. I sit there, hungry. Fortunately, some other grandparents take pity and get me food.
Back home, it's nap time. We both climb onto his bed where he reads me Goodnight Gorilla while I close my eyes. After 40 minutes he nods off…. And here I am. Waiting for mom and dad, with baby, to walk in the door and so grateful my daughter and son-in-law trust me to be their temporary glue.

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