There is a game that Cruz likes to play with mommy. As far as I know it is only with mommy, but that is because 99.99% of the time I am the one that is here with him when he wakes. This amazing game of his starts with a smile and a few 'mama' 'mama's on repeat. And then suddenly a switch gets flipped. It's as if there is a referee inside of his head yelling, "On your mark, get set..." and he hears this mystical gun shoot and that happy smile immediately melts into a frown. Just like a runner off the starting block he uses all of the energy he can muster to start screaming at the top of his lungs coupled with shaking his head back and forth. The screaming only shifts to 'no, no, no, mama, no' occasionally. The real fun of the game begins when I am tasked to figure out why he is crying, which on average lasts one to two hours. I am a little bit more prepared to do this after his nap in the afternoon. I am awake, I know its coming, I can have all of my strategies ready on the sideline. However, early in the morning at like 6:30 when I am sound asleep is a different story. There is nothing quite as jolting as a good scream in the face while you are asleep, especially if there is head butting involved. I hadn't ever been awakened like this until Cruz came along and I am not sure how he knew that I would so thoroughly enjoy it. (It may be paybacks for all of the pranks I pulled on my college room mates....maybe) If I could package this fun game up, throw in some dice and a board, I would probably be able to sell it to Parker Bros and market it to children as a fun way to torture your parents. Just roll the two dice. Oh great, it landed on a head butt and scream, quick run into your parents room and do it before the timer goes off. Oh, your roll landed on throwing something across the room and then throwing your body on the floor, hurry go. If you can get mom out of bed in less than ten seconds you win another roll of the dice and get to bring the game into the next room. The game turns into a real nail biter as mommy pulls everything she can think of to make the screaming stop. Its like an old cartoon episode, or I love Lucy. I don't break eye contact with him but my arms move like an octopus pulling out all the stops. I have to keep staring at him to see if there is a slight change of expression to know if I am on the right path. The super fun game that happened this morning started bright and early. After about an hour I realized it was about a ball. He needed a specific ball. I tore this house apart and pulled out every freaking ball you can imagine from every single room. My family room looked like a carnival with different colors and different sizes of balls scattered around the room. He had slept with the small orange ball and lost it during the night, underneath the mattress that he sleeps on, on the floor behind his door. We finally put a mattress on the floor after catching him just sleeping on the hardwood floor instead of his crib. So anyways, first thing when he came into my room he signed 'ball' and then immediately signed 'milk'. So I went to his room and got a different ball that was on top of his mattress and brought it to him. Then we went to the kitchen to get milk and thats when the screaming began. Not once during our hour of fun did he sign ball again, but that's the mystery of the game. I get to think back over the hour to what he could have been trying to tell me without actually telling me. Once I knew it was a ball I asked him if it was big, small, white, blue, red, etc., but he just kept screaming. He had several time outs and one spanking. He was offered milk, juice, water, cereal, tylenol, blankets, fan on, fan off, lights on/off, hugs, deep pressure, swinging, tubby, we sure did try everything. As soon as I found that dang ball, the screaming faded and slowly stopped. He hasn't let go of it since then. Not even when he has fallen in the yard, had his diaper changed, was swinging on the swingset, or chasing Frank and throwing rocks at him. The adrenaline has settled, mommy gets a to have a water break on the bench. Until he decides to restart the game again. Its just so exciting because I never know when its going to happen. It never fails to happen when he wakes up. But there are some other days when he decides he really wants to play the game multiple times over. I am sure the screaming is because he is so frustrated he doesn't know how to communicate what he is wanting/needing and sometimes I don't think he even knows what it is. But man, it sure is a wild game that keeps us on our toes. I am working on getting my time down to improve my scores but I could use a coach on the side giving me some tips. Of course I am not sure who would want to get the call from me at 6:30 in the morning with a screaming kid in the background. And let me just add that its not the whiny cry (thats another game) but this one is like 'I just chopped off my finger and it is laying on the ground staring back at me' scream. I wish there was a parents manual for this game that gave me secret pointers on how to advance to the next level... but instead I will just breath deeply, stretch, and listen for the whistle to blow signaling, 'game on'.