Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Rocket Ship

            I invented this new game with Celia using the kitchen timer. It’s located at my eye level, so she doesn’t see it unless an adult is holding her and standing right at the entrance of the kitchen. It’s a small white rectangle with digital display and an inviting, big red button.
            The game began one Saturday morning when Celia just had to push that button, and after a few attempts, succeeded. But the timer was set to thirty minutes or some other uninteresting number, so I changed it to ten seconds and said, “Celia! Let’s play Rocket Ship. Push the button again.”
            Celia obediently pushed the button, at which point I began a loud count-down as the numbers descended, using my fingers for the last five to show her visibly our progress. “Five… four… three… two… one…”
            “BLAST OFF!” I roared and swooped through the house, to the front door, then to the back door, then back to the timer, where Celia eagerly reached out to push the big red button again.
            As of yesterday I think it’s safe to say Rocket Ship is officially her favorite game to play with me. What thrills me the most is that I had no idea this game existed a week ago. In fact, I remember thinking to myself, “I wonder what kind of games Celia will want to play in a week?” In some ways, this is the greatest pleasure about having kids; the great mystery of what will develop next. Not that we aren’t expecting her to learn to talk, walk, climb, run, sing, or pick her nose. It’s just that, when she actually does start to do these things, we are utterly amazed.
            That’s the privilege of having kids. As they grow, unfolding like flowers into this world, we have a similar unfolding in our own lives. I’d rather watch my daughter than TV any day.

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