Dominoes

A two-year-old entry from my old blog.

I would never thump him. Unless he’s asking for it.

When thoughts of interaction with a tiny shrunken guy began to increase in intensity some years ago, it was—and is—practically impossible not to be affected by his size in a way that provoked me to think him the perfect play partner. I used to come up with game after game to the degree that I figured I would never leave him alone. I took pleasure in thinking work or other obligations would take a second place to spending time with him, showing him just how tiny I had made him, and how much fun and gratification could be derived from our difference in sizes.

I would get that playful gleam in my eye I imagined he could see hundreds of [his] feet away; I would tell him, “Let’s play a game of mine this time!” and watch him run for cover while chirping, “What do you mean ‘this time’? We always play your games!” He would then try to find a place to hide, usually diving under an upturned slipper, or a heap of nylons I’ve abandoned on the floor, pretending to be messy, because I’ve left them there on purpose, since looking for him is always half the fun of finding him, his eyes shiny with expectancy, his wee body coiled with the gleeful desire to flee again, whilst knowing he may never escape my quick grip.

At least a couple of times I have read or been asked a hypothetical question, “What do you see in such a small man?” I see quite a bit. I see games, plenty of games I’ve come up with that we love to play. Board games or not, with or without rules, one thing is for sure… they are a blast to invent, to imagine, and to write down, as I did years ago when I wrote the following.

* * *

On lazy Sunday afternoons, my Little Man and I fetch my canvas bag of dominoes… rather I fetch it while he watches, his sweet face smiling at me from the floor. I then sweep him off his feet with my scooping hand, and take us both down to the living room floor, the most spacious in the house on which to build our project.

I begin building row after row of domino pieces by standing them on end with only a small space between them. My shrinkee plays a very important role in this game, working hard at sabotaging my efforts, and tipping the first domino he can reach to cause all others to topple.

My job is to spot him in time (no matter how hard I’m concentrating on erecting my rows) before he has the chance to destroy my work.

I take great delight in casting glances at him from the corner of my eye as he walks around with his hands clasped on his back, whistles and adopts a virtuous look as he approaches the first domino piece. The change on his face to self-satisfied achievement when he succeeds (despite my efforts to stop him) diffuses my indignation, and we laugh.

When he is thwarted in time, his face is one of shock when his field of vision is suddenly encompassed by my reaching hand. He knows a disciplining squeeze from my fingers is in order.

Sometimes he decides to cooperate, and takes several turns lifting a large black piece on its end, and balancing it on the floor. It isn’t long before he falls over from exhaustion, and again I have to make sure I catch him between fingers before he tips the nearby dominoes.

The best part is when he plays a domino piece himself, standing tall (well, short) at the beginning or middle of the long row. I smile as I watch him stretch his arms, readying them for a great push as I count down, “3, 2… 1!” And as he lurches forward I clap and cheer at the visual feast of watching him initialize the collapse of our row. We celebrate its fall by dancing.

* * *

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