My kid's favorite word right now is "ow" and it's what she says instead of "meow" which the cat says, cause she can't say meow. She says it whenever she sees any animal, I guess, but I haven't been paying super close attention or anything because I'm trying to get the fucking nukes in Civilization VI, which is a game you can play now on the system that goes away from the TV so you can play it while ignoring your kids but at least you’re both in the same room.
Civilization VI, which should have been named CiVIlization if a capital i didn't look so close to a lower case L, is a game that I played for more than 20 hours in the week that I got it, which I know because the Switch told me. That is a number that makes no sense to me, because I only get like three uninterrupted hours per day anymore that are not punctuated by shocking emissions from the ass mouth or butt of my infant human spawn who has feelings and emotions and desires at this weird juncture of her life.
As I got to like turn 280 of my third attempt at "okay this time I'm gonna play a game for real" I realized that actually Civilization VI is a great representation of the process of raising a kid, since I view virtually my entire existence through this new lens of being a father and it's the only novel thing remaining in my life now that I've turned the bidet all the way to max.
See cause in the game you start out not really knowing what you're doing in the middle of a world that looks pretty familiar to the one you know, but most of the things you're used to aren't here anymore, and you can't see outside this little spot around the new person you've been given. And you know you've gotta do something with them, you have to start this new life, so you make a little place for your person to live.
And then you have to start making decisions. Most of them you don't even know what kind of effect they're going to have, or whether you're doing them in the right order, and once you make one of em you can't really take it back, all you can do is make another one later. You have these people, people who know what's out there who try to tell you like hey there's this thing on the horizon you'll have to deal with, but you never really know what it's gonna be like until you get into it, and then you gotta decide what to study and what kind of cultural activities to take part in and do you feed her before or after bath time and what song is the best song to play before bed and will I ruin her if I don't read to her enough now, or do I need to wait for her to know more words, but how will she know more words if I don't read to her, and is she choking on that fucking bread, did you give her a half a fuckin piece of bread? She's only got two little teeth, JESUS, CHRIST!!!! And then before long it's nukes I guess.
That's just the obvious surface level stuff, cause there's this obnoxious thing that people keep telling me and they sidle up next to me and be like hey, "the days are long but the years are short." And it's the same in this stupid game damn them!!! I tinker around with my shit for a few minutes and then hit next, and tinker some more and hit next, and just like how it's already been nearly a goddamned year with this child somehow, I go from like 3000 BC to 1500 AD and suddenly it's hours later, I've stayed up until midnight, Saturday Night Live is over and now it's this obnoxious program called 1st Look starring a guy named Bananas? but didn't it used to have some cute girl on it? yeah well.
I name all the little towns that I build after places I've lived and people I've known, a not entirely dissimilar approach to the one you take when you name your human progeny, only I named one of the towns Turdopolis and I would probably get a weird look from the nurse if I had put Turdopolis on the birth certificate. Wherever you are out there I hope you're doing alright Turdopolis my good buddy.
At first I have no freedom, there's nothing I can do except focus on this tiny little thing. It takes my total attention and all I want is to get it over with, eyes pointed ahead. Just gotta get so that I can do things quicker, gotta wait until I have more options here, gotta get to the next thing, the next thing. And then without realizing it I'm not bothered by that stuff anymore, it's over, and I try to remember what it was like, but I sorta can't.
In these little bits of time between turns, between glancing down and back up, I see things changing the way they do only when I'm not looking, we've figured out writing, she's learned to turn herself over, we've finished building a grain mill, she's pulling herself up, there are monuments to our religion, she's standing up without holding anything, she's starting to feed herself, she won't hold my pinky finger in her little hand anymore. I can't remember what music we've listened to and what we haven't, she's chowing through firsts at day care that I don't know about. She's saying ow at everything, ow, ow, ow, I look down and it's 3000 BC, I look up and she hugs my leg and calls me dada and it turns out she had the nukes all along.