I'm sure ALL parents have some version of this game that they play with one another. With my twisted mentality and overprotectiveness of my little 8-week old daughter, this has turned into one of my favorite games. It usually starts off when BossLady and I are on the couch watching TV and trying to feed the Peanut. One of us will see something on the tube, and then we'll end up discussing how this could affect our daughter. There's really no other way to explain this game other than to show it to you in action.
ME (watching "Ripley's Believe It or Not"): "Honey, what if the Peanut grows up to be 8' tall and incredibly hairy?"
BossLady: "Well. Nothing would change. She'd still be our daughter. We'd love her very much and we'd make her feel as special as possible."
ME: "Maybe we could set her up with Yao Ming. or what about Tim Duncan? He's pretty tall and hairy too!"
ME (watching Crossfire): "Honey. What if our daughter turns out to be a Lesbian and ends up marrying Dick Cheney's daughter?"
BossLady: "Don't you think you're getting a little ahead of ourselves here?"
ME: "Don't you think it would be fun to tell people we're celebrating Christmas with the Cheneys?"
ME (watching CSI): "Honey, what if the Peanut ends up being a serial killer, hijacking casinos and going on random crime sprees throughout the Greater Las Vegas area?"
BossLady: "Will you please turn off the TV? You're driving me fucking nuts."
Of course, I'll turn off the TV but then I only have my imagination to fuel the fire. So sometimes the questioning moves into the realm of the truly fearful and I begin to internalize all the fears that I have about raising a child. After all...
What if something bad happens to her when she leaves the house?
What if she ends up being a stripper at some cheesy club off the Jersey Turnpike?
What if she marries someone I can't stand?
I'm not this doom-filled all the time. Sometimes, I'll temper my pessimism and turn the "what if" game into the "would you rather" game. In other words, would you rather have your daughter be 8' tall and hairy or would you rather she marry Dick Cheney's daughter? Would you rather your daughter be a serial killer or would you rather have her marry a mullet-head? (Of course, once again, I can play this game for hours.)
But in all seriousness, the joy in playing these games is founded in the fundamental human curiousity we have about how our kids will turn out as they get older. Whereas I can't wait until the Peanut starts talking so we can have conversations together, I also realize that when she's a teenager, most of that talk will be spewed vitriol hurled at my direction. But I love her, so I'm insatiably curious about EVERYTHING related to both her and her future. As a young toddler, will she be precociously sociable or quiet and brooding? When she's a teenager, will she be independent enough to stay true to herself or will she succumb to the pressures around her? As a young woman in her 20's, will she be the caring and well-grounded young adult that I hope she'll be? How will she define her life when she reaches her 30's? An inquiring parent can't wait to know!
But then, there are moments like today when she's looking up at my face with a giant smile and making the cute cooing noises that she's just learned she can make. She'll look so tiny when she's squirming in my hands while I give her a bath. And it's times like this that I don't care what she'll be like when she grows up. I just wish that she could stay my little girl forever.
But I guess no matter how much time goes by, she'll always be my little baby girl.