For all the crap you have to put up with as a parent (and I mean that as literally as possible), the compensation of watching your baby grow into a person right before your eyes almost makes it worth it.
(Any other time I would say “makes it completely worth it and then some” but I just got done cleaning World War III from my baby’s butt and I’m still a little bitter and shell-shocked).
Butt seriously (see what I did there?), there is no feeling quite like realizing that little bundle of cells that made you puke up everything you ate since 1987 is now a fully formed human; one with a sense of humor and a sense of curiosity, one with ideas and feelings, one with preferences and opinions (although granted, my human has had opinions from Day One…hell, we use to argue when he was still in the womb).
And now that Riker is one-year-old, his personhood is out in full force. Take for example, the fact that he now not only wants to play games, but is inventing games. My little human! Who only a short time ago looked like a young (old?) Benjamin Button and couldn’t comprehend anything of the world beyond my boob!
(Although, in his defense, my boobs are amazing).
All day long now, we play his games. Some are simple. Take the game “Pretend To Throw Up Tiny Toy Chair,” which is pretty straight forward. He shoves a tiny toy chair in my mouth and I pretend to throw it up. He giggles, retrieves the tiny toy chair and we play Round Two. Which is the same as Round One. Which is the same as Round 109.
And it will go to Round 109. Oh yes, it will.
This game is similar to the one he invented with his Daddy, which is “Stop The Strange Noise Coming From Daddy’s Mouth.” However, this one is a bit more sophisticated. Sitting on the floor in the living room, Daddy will make a noise that sounds like a hamster drowning and being electrocuted at the same time. Riker giggles and then shoves the closest small toy available into Daddy’s mouth to stop the noise. Daddy then spits out the toy (extra points for long distances) and makes the noise again. Riker fetches the toy and the entire process repeats. Mommy serves as referee for this game.
Which she does from the kitchen.
While chugging wine straight out of the bottle.
And, of course, “Taxi Driver.” This is a game where Mommy or Daddy (or Grandma or the babysitter or a not too terribly smelling hobo) picks him up and walks him around the house while he directs the adult where to go using finger-pointing and crystal clear directions such as “Gworp!”. The goal, as far as I can figure, is for him to touch every single thing we own that is above 2.5 feet high.
Other games, however, are more advanced.
His favorite is “Ball On Couch.” This is apparently a strategy game where the goal is for us to get his big rubber yellow ball onto the couch in one VERY specific location. Once we get the ball in that location, he takes it and throws it back onto the floor where it rolls away. We then argue over who has to get the ball (Me: “You go get it.” Him: “BAH!” followed by finger pointed at me). Once I retrieve the ball, I hand it to him and he works diligently on putting it back on the couch. Judging by how much he cries when the ball is not in the right position on the couch, you lose points anytime the ball is not in the northwest corner just left of the red stripped pillow.
There is “Kitchen Set Bulldozer,” which is really more of a single player game. This involves him pushing his gigantic toy kitchen set around the house while on his knees. My role in this is more of facilitator, responsible for moving obstacles (such as my leg) out of his way and redirecting his path when annoying things such as a wall or small-to-medium-sized animals get in his way.
Then there is “Traffic Jam.” Which, if I’m being honest, I have absolutely no idea how to play. All I know is that he hands me every single toy car he owns (which is a lot considering he is a male American baby and as such, my house just spontaneously produces little cars in response to his presence and scatters them around in every room) and then looks up at me expectantly. So I go vroom-vroom with them. I make them crash into each other. I drive them over his head and down his back. I even put them in a long line and just let them sit there idling but not knowing why they’re just sitting there idling so as to give him realistic expectations of what driving a car is really like. But I am obviously playing wrong because he keeps looking at me with a disappointed face and handing me back the cars with strict instructions to “Bah! Drrrr! Pfffft!”.
Luckily, my son is very patient with my incompetence and even though he is by far the more skilled player in all these games, he lets me sometimes win out of the goodness of his heart.
Or, at least, I think he sometimes lets me win. I mean, what else could “Derpaduh!” mean other than “I concede victory to you!”?