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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

The Fun We Had With Our First Grandchild

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When my stepson Volodya turned 24, he had his first child, our eldest grandson Yurik -- a charming boy with dimpled cheeks and a loud roar.

Volodya used to work a lot, and he would often go on business trips for two or three weeks. His bosses couldn't care less about his domestic situation, and his wife Alyona more often than not had to look after the child all by herself. Back then, there were no washing machines, disposable diapers, canned baby food, etc. One had to run all over Moscow to get clothing and footwear for kids. I remember that once, when Detsky Mir had German-made prams for sale, Alyona was almost trampled to death by other mothers.

It certainly wasn't boring. There were always things to do: washing, ironing, getting food, cooking, washing dishes, cleaning the apartment, taking the kid for a walk, etc. Young parents today, armed with home appliances, diapers and all the rest, moan nevertheless -- they should have tried living back in the old days.

Despite everything, our Yurka was growing up and getting smarter, and the happiness from this far outweighed all the difficulties. Volodya and his family were living close to us, and when the young parents were worn out by the daily chores, they would leave Yurka with us "for an hour or two" -- or a Saturday and a Sunday, to be precise.

Maria would diligently try to teach him good manners, and the effort was not in vain. When the boy learned to blurt out a few words, we would get on a bus with him and he would turn his head this way and that, saying loud "thank yous."

That always attracted people's attention and even caused laughter, and someone would always give up their seat to us. After that, the boy would sit on one of our laps and attentively watch passing cars; they interested him much more than passers-by, and he had a knack for identifying foreign cars that his father had told him so much about.

Time went by. Our grandson was growing up and learning from everything and everyone around him. His curiosity was unparalleled.

One day, Maria met me crying with laughter. It turned out that she had taken Yurik to the clinic. They got on a half-empty bus. He was sitting on her lap, taking an interest in all that was around him. After a couple of stops, a large, gloomy man, who had apparently consumed a considerable amount of alcohol, got on. It was then that our Yurik quickly jumped up and, pointing at Maria's seductive lap, said loudly: "Please take my place, uncle!"

The passengers roared with laughter. And the fellow, who had no doubt seen many things in his life, tried to hide his head, blushed, mumbled something in reply and exited at the next stop.

Vladislav Schnitzer is a pensioner and journalist living in Moscow.