I just realised that for the past six months I have been playing an RPG.
When you have a baby, you start with a very uneven character. Evolution has put all his points into charisma, and you have to start from scratch with everything else. Instead of wandering the deserts and forests looking for minor baddies to fight, you have tummy time and reading and singing. Like working on your RPG character, it's often boring but oddly compelling. And when he levels up - the first time he reaches for a toy, or turns the page of a book, or smiles - you feel an immense sense of accomplishment and excitement. And then it's back to the deserts and forests to work some more. But as his strength and dexterity and intelligence meters go up, the game gets more and more fun and interesting.