When Robert was about a year old, he and I developed this really fun game. Robert would lie prone on the couch for a few seconds before rolling off into my arms, and I would shot-put him back up into Roll-Off Position. We would repeat this 1) for about 10 hours, or 2) until he passed out, whichever came first. Robert grew to love this game so much that he tried to play it with his mama, who had no idea it existed. Imagine her horror, then, when she watched her firstborn hurl himself off the couch and clunk to the floor. A week later he was on the chiropractor's mat, and I was still smarting from a pointed and richly deserved rebuke.
Fast forward to January 2006: TwoBert, no longer satisfied by full-contact speed crawling, has learned to pull himself up and stand abreast of the couch. He loses his balance and falls backward but I, quick as a lemur, swoop in and catch him. TwoBert is enthralled by the adrenaline rush. He pulls himself up and starts Nestea Plunging into my arms over and over again, cackling like a hyena. Soon he is tired, so I start picking him up and placing him against the couch so that he can fall away from it, eyes closed, lines of drool gleaming against his incomplete toothline, beatific and carefree. A new game that my wife knows nothing about is born.
This morning, after I went to work, my wife saw her secondborn hurl himself off the side of his brother's race-car bed and clunk to the floor. And our chiropractor now lives in Wisconsin.
I think I could be a good dad if I wasn't such an idiot.
[EDITED TO ADD: My wife helpfully would like to clarify that Robert threw himself off the bed, not the couch, and that he went to see the chiropractor the next day. In an era of multi-terabyte storage, I have the memory of a VIC-20.]