The Game

by Margarete Schebesch 

Today is a big day, says Mommy. Today I will be six months old, that ist exactly as much as half a year. This is why today we are going to do something special, says Mommy. We will play a new food game. Well, for Mommy and Daddy this is not as new a game, because they are playing it a lot. They play this food game several times every day and they seem to enjoy it, because they talk and laugh while playing. Unfortunately I could not join them until now, although I watched them attentively and told them that I would like to join in. But today the time has come; today I can finally play.

In the morning Mommy worked a long time in the kitchen cooking. First she cooked for herself and Daddy. Then she cooked for me, she told me. She held me on her hip so I could see what she was doing. She chopped and boiled some beautyfully colloured fruit. When the fruit was cooked, the beautifull colours were gone and it looked slobbery. She poured it into that noisy machine which stands on the window sill. The machine made a horrible noise and mashed the fruit. When it stopped, a brown porridge came out. Mommy showed it to me proudly and said that it's for me. I don't know exactly what that means but the brown porridge looked very interesting to me. I would have liked to mash it with my fingers. Sometimes such a brown porridge comes out of me. But Mommy never lets me mash it with my fingers. Perhaps I can play with this new porridge today, who knows?

Usually I drink much of Mommy's milk. It is so good for me. I can drink as much as I want and whenever I want, even while Mommy is sleeping. She holds me in her arms and I feel warm and sleepy. Often I fall asleep when I'm finished and later I awake together with Mommy in our bed.

But today it's different. Mommy is somehow not herself. She is agitated and I cannot concentrate on drinking her milk. I would like so much to close my eyes and fall asleep, but Mommy takes her breast out of my mouth, sits me upright and says that now it's time for lunch.

I am happy because Mommy brings the brown porridge. She says that it should have cooled by now and she puts it in front of me. I am happy that Mommy guessed my wish as she always does, and I plunge my hands into it. But Mommy holds my hands tight and cleans them. She takes the brown porridge away so that I cannot reach it. Then she brings another colourful toy and I hope that I can play with it. Perhaps I can reach the brown porridge using it. But Mommy does not give it to me. She puts the toy in the brown porridge herself and then she comes close to my face with it. She opens her mouth wide and I copy her because I think she will know how to play the game.

Suddenly I feel something strange in my mouth. It tastes sweet, but completely different than Mommy's milk. It must be the brown porridge. I don't want to have anything in my mouth that tastes differnt from Mommy's milk. Mommy must have made a mistake. Obviously she does not know how to play the game correctly. I want to tell her, but the brown porridge in my mouth stops me. I push it out with my tongue. Mommy comes back with that toy again and takes the brown porridge. I am relieved that Mommy has seen that something is not right. I am happy and I laugh - an then the brown porridge is in my mouth again. It seems Mommy has not understood. I want to tell her that I don't want to have the brown porridge in my mouth. I push it out, this time a little firmer, and it falls on the table cloth. I tell Mommy that I would rather like to drink her milk and fall asleep. But she becomes sad and takes the brown porridge away.

Today is a new day. Yesterday I thought I could join the game Mommy and Daddy were playing, but Mommy forgot about it. Instead she played another game with me, wich I did not like. She brought a brown porridge which I would have liked to play with, but Mommy did not allow. I drank a lot of Mommys milk afterwards and now the misunderstanding is almost forgotten.

Today Mommy did not cook, but we played together and went out for a walk. Now we are at home again and I will drink Mommy's milk in a little while. I'm looking forward to that. But Mommy does not take me in her arm. Instead she sits me in a strange thing I can't get out of. And then there is the brown porridge in front of me again!

Perhaps Mommy forgot that I want to drink her milk. Or I did not tell her clearly enough. But perhaps I can play with the brown porridge this time. I think I can drink Mommy's milk afterwards, and wake up with her in our bed. The plate is too far from me. Mommy removes the table cloth and brings the other toy again. Then the brown porridge moves closer. Mommy opens her mouth wide. I want to tell her that I know this game already, and I don't like it, and that I would rather prefer to drink her milk. But the brown porridge is in my mouth already. Mommy keeps the toy in my mouth and I cannot push the porridge out with my tongue. I move it back and forth and than somehow it goes away. I choke terribly and it feels unpleasant, and I feel that something is wrong. But Mommy is happy and takes some more of the brown porridge with the toy.

Mommy manages to let the brown porridge disappear in my mouth several times. Then I lose my patience and tell her clearly that I want to drink her milk now. Fortunately Mommy understands and I can drink her milk. She is pleased and says that we have come a great step closer today. I don't understand exactly what that means, as she doesn't seem to have realised how to play the game with the brown porridge correctly.

Today is a new day. I feel strange. There is something going on in my belly and sometimes it hurts. I tell Mommy that it hurts and she lets me drink her milk. Also, when the other porridge comes out of me, it feels odd. It hurts when it comes out and Mommy is puzzled and says, it smells bad. I don't know why. I drink a lot of Mommy's milk and slowly my belly starts feeling better.

Eventually, Mommy sits me into this strange thing I cannot get out of. There is the brown porridge again and Mommy wants to play. But today I don't want to play. I don't like this game. I tell Mommy, but she puts the toy into the porridge and comes closer with it. I close my mouth firmly and try not to look at Mommy. I gaze somewhere else so that I don't have to open my mouth when I watch her. Mommy acts strangely. I hear familiar words like grandma and grandpa but I don't see either of them. Then Mommy waves about with the toy and moves to and fro. But I don't open my mouth. Mommy becomes angry and tries to open my mouth with her hands. I tell her to stop and that I want to drink her milk now. When I feel the brown porridge in my mouth, I push it out quickly and it runs down my chin, onto Mommy's hand, that still holds the toy there.

I don't know what to do. I think Mommy does not understand what I am trying to tell her. Perhaps she does not love me any more. Perhaps she only loves me if I play this game with her. Why can't I simply drink her milk and wake up with her in our bed? I don't want to play any longer now, I don't feel like playing. I am hungry, I want to drink Mommy's milk.

I open my mouth and let Mommy put the brown porridge in. I found out how to make it go away. I let some of the porridge go away and l gaze at Mommy lovingly. She is happy and then I can drink her milk.

Today is a new day. A few days have passed since we started to play with the brown porridge every day. Mommy seems to like this game since she does not want to stop, although I told her that I don't like to play any longer. If I don't play, I'm not allowed to drink her milk. Then my belly feels emty and I feel alone because I think that Mommy does not love me. So I play with her, because I can drink her milk afterwards. However, yesterday I was not allowed to drink Mommy's milk after we played with the brown porridge. Mommy took me in her arms and was happy that I had eaten all the brown porridge from the plate.

I felt tired and fell asleep. When I woke up, my belly felt even worse than before. It hurt and it seemed that a lot of the other porridge came out of me. Everything was wet and my skin itched terribly. I could not scratch because my skin was covered where it itched. I told Mommy that it hurts and she came and took the other porridge away and I could drink her milk.

Today is a new day. My belly still hurts. I drank a lot of Mommy's milk, but it did not help. I feel weak and I only want to be in Mommy's arms. She is agitated and rocks me back and forth as I drink her milk. Then we drive to a nice lady who presses my belly with her hands. That feels good. Mommy talks to that lady and then she cries. The nice lady talks to her calmly and smiles at me. As we come home I can drink Mommy's milk again. I am surprised because it was the time she used to play that game with me. Could she have forgotten? I notice that I feel better and then I awake with Mommy in our bed.

Today is a new day. I'm sitting in this thing I can't get out from with the brown porridge in front. I tell Mommy that I don't want to play with the porridge. Mommy says nothing, but she puts the plate closer to me, so that I can reach it with my hands. I think she wants me to play with it. I take some with my hands. I feels good, soft. I can stir it with my fingers and let it drop. I can decorate the thing I'm sitting in. It's fun.

Eventually the plate is empty and Mommy looks at me. She smiles but I can see something glistening in her eyes. She takes me out of the thing and I can drink her milk. She holds me in her arms and hugs me tight. I drink a lot of milk and later I wake up with Mommy in our bed.

Today is a new day. I feel great. I drank Mommy's milk all night long. When the other porridge comes out of me it feels like before we started to play the game with the brown porridge. Mommy is lovely. She works a little in the kitchen and then I drink her milk while she is playing that game which she usually plays together with daddy. But today it's different. Today I can join in. I can put my hands onto her plate and touch everything. I see interesting things. When I lick the food, I can feel how it tastes in my mouth. At last Mommy has understood. She cuddles me and says that we are through now. I don't know exactly what that means. But I am happy that I can play with Mommy and Daddy at last.

Today is a new day. A few days have passed since we saw that nice lady who pressed on my belly. I drink Mommy's milk every day and the brown porridge did not appear again. I also play the food game every day together with Mommy and Daddy. Sometimes some things from their plates end up in my mouth. Sometimes I even choke a little but it's not as bad as with the brown porridge. Mommy is pleased and I can drink a lot of her milk. I am so glad that Mommy understands me. The thing I couldn't get out of did not appear again either. I now sit on Mommy's or Daddy's lap and we talk, laugh, and play together, every day.

Margarete Schebesch