Tag Archives: young apprentice

Welcome to Parenthood: Eleven Months

Happy Lad
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It’s been a while since I wrote much about my young apprentice. Contrary to some ugly rumors, this is not because we keep him confined to the crawlspace beneath our living room.The name “crawlspace” certainly implies that this area would be ideal for Kyle, given his current mode of transport. Nonetheless, he remains blissfully unaware of the space and its grisly history. Laura and I have had some discussions as to when Kyle should be made aware of it. Laura seems to think that I’ll send him in to retrieve various stored items as soon as he is able to walk (a reasonable assertion, as I have to fold myself in half to maneuver through the crawlspace). I, on the other hand, am of the opinion that the existence of a hidden room beneath our feet is something that ought not be revealed until the boy is old enough to appreciate the threat of exile to said space when he misbehaves. He lives among us, exploring his own personal microcosm (which is approximately eighteen inches high and spans across the living room, dining room and kitchen), except on those occasions when he rides atop my shoulders, something he enjoys a great deal, if the shrieks of delight and excited fist pummeling my cranium are any indication.There was an unfortunate incident involving rather a lot of vomit and my cornflower-blue shirt last week. Kyle didn’t seem too bothered by the contents of his stomach suddenly spilling out onto my shirt and pants, the wall and carpet in three distinct hurls, but I learned an important lesson: when it sound like he’s gonna puke, it’s probably because he’s gonna puke. Also, don’t put a sick boy on your shoulders; he may puke.

Until recently, the Xbox, DVD player and home theater receiver were all within Kyle’s microcosm, protected from his eager little fingers by a baby gate across the front of the entertainment closet. We were all too aware that those little fingers were capable of reaching through the gate and pressing buttonsKyle is particularly fond of turning on the Xbox (which pleases me) and he removed the shuttle knob on the DVD player (which didn’t please me so much).but I put off addressing the situation until last weekend, when I was watching Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and Kyle began cycling through the surround sound options. He flipped from stereo to all-channel stereo to Dolby Digital to orchestral and so on, and so I scooped him up, plunked him down in the Pack-n-Play and spent an hour and a half wrestling with the tangle of cables necessary to connect the various components to one another. The end result: Kyle will not be able to reach the Xbox until he is able to stand; the remaining components will remain out of his range until he is five or six years old.

After the cable-wrangling was complete, we watched The Incredibles and then played Marvel Ultimate Alliance for a while. I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit that Kyle figured out how Spider-Man’s web-swinging ability works before I did. This shame is only somewhat alleviated by the fact that the Kyle-controlled Spider-Man spends much more time running into corners than he does web-swinging.

Speaking of super heroes, one of Kyle’s favorite toys is a plush Spider-Man with flat, rubber, chewable hands. Kyle has been teething on and off for several months, so anything that can be chewed will be chewed, and Spider-Man’s wacky hands are perfect.

Just yesterday, Kyle was introduced to another super hero: Batman. Miscellaneous G™ gave him a two-foot tall Batman pillow, complete with cape. Batman is a bit taller than Kyle, and he looks very stern, but the important thing is that he’s soft and cuddly (not exactly the image the Dark Knight was going for, I’m sure). Check him out…
Batman Pillow

Kyle was very pleased with the gift. The only thing he needs now is his own Robin costume. A billionaire benefactor wouldn’t be bad, either.

Election Day 2006

The morning Laura and I went to our polling place and cast our votes using the ES&S iVotronic, which is not nearly as nifty (or portable) as some other iProducts, specifically my Apple iPod. I was mildly amused that the machine must be activated by briefly inserting an “electronic ballot” cartridge — roughly the size and shape of an old SEGA video game cartridge — prior to each vote being cast. I was hoping that the ballot screen would be replaced by Road Rash 2, but instead of being able to beat motorcyclists with tire irons and chains I was presented with candidates for Governor, Attorney General, State Auditor and so on. Worst. Game. Ever!

Also amusing was the Republican candidate for Secretary of State, Greg Hartmann. They say that name recognization plays a big part in elections; if so, poor Mr. Hartmann will likely be denied the office, as his name is associated with a politician who drew an Ace when exposed to Xenovirus Takis-A and gained the ability to manipulate the emotions of anyone with whom he came into physical contact. Gregg Hartmann (D-NY) created an alternate persona, Puppetman, who fed off negative emotions and psychic pain from those he touched. Though this Hartmann appeared to be a kind, compassionate humanitarian, he was actually a deceitful, calculating sociopath who used his abilities to further his own political career.Leigh, Stephen. 1987. “Strings” Wild Cards (George R. R. Martin, editor), Bantam Books

So, yeah, there’s a bit of a stigma attached to that name.

In related news, Kyle has shown an early interest in the democratic process, and he came home with an “I Voted Today” sticker on his cap. He voted on a modified ballot that included such proposals as fewer naps, later bedtime, decreased border security between the living room and the dining room, and mantadory petting periods with the kitties.

Welcome to Parenthood: Nine Months

Kyle: Happy in the Hood
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When my young apprentice emerged from his growth chamber, we made an agreement: if, after spending equal amounts of time inside and outside of said chamber, either of us felt that further gestation was warranted, he would immediately be returned to the growth chamber for a period to be decided at the time of demergence.I know, “demergence” isn’t a real word; but it sounds better than “re-insertion”.

Per our agreement, Kyle and I conducted our nine month evaluation on Friday the 13th of this month, and we have both arrived at the conclusion that no further gestation will be necessary. Laura received this announcement with no small measure of relief.

Weekend Wrap-up: Labor Day

I’ve got a few things in the pipeline just waiting for me to finish them up, including reviews of Ultraviolet, the season finale of Who Wants to Be a Superhero?, Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the second season of The Venture Brothers on Adult Swim, and a long-overdue review of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. Last but not least, if you listened to the latest episode of The Round Table you know that I gave myself a homework assignment to determine whether or not Snakes on a Plane follows The Hero’s Journey.

This may simply be a case of too many irons in the fire, but I just haven’t been able to focus on finishing anything over the past couple of weeks. I obviously have strong opinions about the movies and television shows I’m watching, not to mention the books I’m reading (currently Orwell’s 1984), but sitting down and writing about them has been difficult recently and I’m not sure why.

This weekend, I didn’t even attempt to write anything for the site. Instead, Laura and I spent three days watching the first season of 24. A co-worker loaned me the DVDs and I figured the only way I was going to be able to watch the series was if Laura watched it with me. After we watched the first two episodes on Saturday afternoon, she was hooked; we watched eight episodes on Saturday, eight more on Sunday, and finished up the series last night. That may seem a little extreme, but each episode is roughly 40 minutes without commercials, so it works out to just over five hours of 24 each day, leaving nearly nineteen hours a day for sleep and…

  • Dragon Sword, a wonderful study in anachronism (think Legolas’ rail-grinding in The Two Towers) and misplaced accents (think Kevin Costner in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves) starring James Purefoy, Piper Perabo, Patrick Swayze, Michael Clarke Duncan, and Val Kilmer (sort of).
  • Ultimate Spider-Man for the Xbox.
  • LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy, also for the Xbox.
  • Ice cream at the Kurlee Kone in Fairport Harbor.
  • The Chili Meltdown Grillburger from Dairy Queen. Instant food review: the chili is too sweet.
  • The care and feeding of my young apprentice, who now has four teeth (two up top and two beneath) and a growing appetite.

Welcome to Parenthood: Six Months

The Young Apprentice

Kyle is six months old today, and it’s true: he has no job. I’ve been trying to help him with his résumé, and I’ve come up with a fairly impressive list of skills:

  • rolling over (back-to-tummy)
  • grabbing own feet
  • grabbing daddy’s glasses
  • drooling/slobbering
  • burping/barfing
  • assorted cuteness

He is also working on becoming fluent in babble and is taking a class to master tummy-to-back rollovers. His short-term goals include achieving mobility and getting a good grip on daddy’s beard.

Welcome to Parenthood: Happy Father’s Day

My first Father’s Day as the honoree has come and gone, and I’m quite pleased. Kyle gave me a big smile when I came down in the morning; he always does that, and it always makes me feel fantastic, but yesterday it was a Father’s Day smile, and that made it even better.

A big smile wasn’t all I got for Father’s Day, either. I also received:

  1. Membership in the William Shatner DVD Club: William Shatner has “assembled a series of films that run the gamut of Sci-Fi, Horror and Fantasy, including underground hits, genre classics, and even some gems pulled from the far reaches of independent cinema.” Each month, one of these gems will be delivered to my mailbox. The long and short of it: more movie reviews.
  2. A pair of Arizona Jean Company Rapids: Sandals to replace my current pair, which have served me well over the last several years and taken a lot of abuse. The new pair is very nice, but I won’t be getting rid of the old ones; they’ll be relegated to lawn mowing.

I’m pretty sure that Laura helped Kyle with the selection and purchase of those items.

To escape the heat and humidity of the International House of Johnson, we fled to the Manhattan Deli for breakfast, then assembled at my in-laws’ air-conditioned abode for a day of Carpocalypse, Ultimate Obstacle Course and drag-racing.Kyle and I also watched a show about the bloodline of Dracula on The History Channel, but we both fell asleep on my father-in-law’s comfy recliner about halfway through. Our involvement was fairly passive, but it was Father’s Day, and I understand that it is my duty as a patriarch-American to sit on my fat ass and watch TV all day.I’m very good at my duty.

After an afternoon of watching television, we enjoyed shishkebab for dinner, followed by homemade strawberry shortcake. My in-laws gave me a Superman Returns alarm clock, a picture of which I’ve been unable to find on all of the Internets.EDIT: It would seem that my searching of “all the Internets” was a bit lacking in scope. In fact, I did only a Google Image search. Thanks to my other apprentice, an image of the alarm clock in question has been located. Laura, Kyle and I gave my father-in-law a new, wireless Microsoft optical mouse.This was my suggestion, and a fairly selfish one, as my primary motive for giving the gift is that I don’t like cleaning the mouse every time I sit down to run maintenance on my father-in-law’s computer. He really did need a new mouse, though.

Late in the evening, we returned to our sweltering abode and I closed out the day by taking out the garbage and then shooting some filthy Communists. Not bad for my first Father’s Day. Not bad at all.

Welcome to Parenthood: Five Months

Five months have passed since my young apprentice emerged from his growth chamber, and I am most pleased with his progress thus far. While not yet able to roll over, sit up without support, or do a proper endo, Kyle’s advancement is nonetheless most impressive. Just look at these stats:

Name Kyle Abraham Johnson Level: 1 Class: Neophyte Age: 5 months
Race: Human Alignment: Chaotic Cuddly Size: Small

My Young Apprentice

STR 5 (-2) Special Abilities & Equipment
DEX 4 (-3) Enhanced Spit-up
CON 10 Improved Grab
INT 16 (+3) Infectious Giggle
WIS 15 (+2) Stinky Feet
CHA 17 (+3) Baby Blues

The physical stats may seem dismal now, but I expect them to improve rapidly. I’ve already seen significant advancement in both Strength and Dexterity after only five months. The boy’s Charisma cannot be overstated; friends, relatives and strangers alike fall under his spell, reduced to grinning, babbling fools with a mere smile.

I get chills when I think about the power those blue eyes and the soft, cooing voice have over people. With Kyle at my side — or in the Snugli — the possibilities are endless. We will rule the cul-de-sac as father and son!

Non Sequitur: The Other Apprentice

When I speak of “my young apprentice,” I’m referring to Kyle, who is now eleven weeks old and has decided that he likes diaper changes very much. This is a relief to Laura and I, as Kyle used to pitch an unholy fit whenever we began the process of changing his Tinkle-in-me-Elmo undergirding. He also smiles a lot now, and not just because he’s got gas. He smiles when I do silly things like playing the alien greeting from Close Encounters of the Third Kind on his nose, cheeks and chin.

It occurred to me yesterday, however, that I currently have another apprentice — though perhaps “protégé” might be a better word. This other apprentice goes by the name of Stuart (or s2), and I am in the process of transferring my current duties to him so that I can pursue other opportunities. If the phrase “pursue other opportunities” sounds like workplace jargon, that’s because it is. Generally, when people use that phrase, they mean “find another job,” which is not the case with me. I’m just going to focus on different types of projects once the brain dump to s2 is complete. I could probably be more vague, but obfuscation is a lot of work, and I’m on my lunch break.

One of my apprentices (apprentici?) cries and fusses when he’s hungry, has a tendency to stare at lights and occasionally spits up on himself; the other is a cute little baby.

There you go, s2, you’ve been mentioned in the blog. You can stop pouting now.