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I’ve Created a Monster

Ronan Computer
This is the clearest image I could get with my cell phone camera
as Ronan moves rapidly to enjoy typing on my laptop

So there I was, happily working on either one of my websites, a project for my MFA in Television, or just surfing the web.

And Ronan saw me.

Which would be fine, if he hadn’t completely noticed everything I was doing and committed it to memory so that I could bask in the first imitation of my life by my infant son.

Computers are pretty important in our house. Terry uses them all the time at work, and we own three. Technically our apartment is three rooms and a hallway, so we technically have a computer for every room in the place. But we keep two of them in one room and the other one is my laptop, which I use more since Ronan was born because I can take it from room to room and keep working while he’s sleeping or playing.

The first sign of impending imitation was a few months ago when Terry was working on her computer in the back room while I held Ronan while sitting my office chair. My computer was off, but Ronan happily banged away on the keyboard anyway, constantly turning to see if Terry was typing along with him. Warning bells should have gone off. Ronan was aping our behavior. At the time we dismissed it as a cute quirk.

Since becoming somewhat mobile, he has come to love banging away on my laptop to the point that he screams and cries if it’s taken away from him. He has no idea what he’s doing; in fact, he’s discovered a few key combinations I didn’t know existed. He wrote his first email to Terry, which consisted of a few jumbles of letters and “---------------.” The repeat function when a key is held down is fascinating, but he hasn’t quite realized that it works for every key. Which is a great thing if you’re less than one year old.

The keyboard’s tactile suface, which makes small noises when I type on it, makes even better noises if you pound on it really hard. So after a few gentle swipes at the trackpad, he will commence to serious banging on the keyboard while laughing hysterically. I attempt to corral those outbursts of enthusiasm, which earns me a distressed cry every time.

In fact, if I even attempt to position the computer so he can access the keyboard more easily, he thinks I’m taking it away from him and he cries. If I remove the power cord so that he doesn’t play with it, he thinks I’m taking the computer away and he cries. In fact, while he’s pounding on my $3000 laptop, pretty much any movement I make he interprets as an attempt to remove the computer from his use and causes a meltdown.

Which is a little confusing to me. He beams – positively radiates joy – when he’s pounding away, writing nothing. He constantly looks to me and seems to want approval for attacking the computer. So I concluded, perhaps egotistically, that he is emulating me. Which means that I’ve been spending too much time on the computer, and that even at less than eleven months he watches me and wants to do the things that I do. Which is great and scary all at the same time.

When I was on the phone talking to my Mom, Ronan pounded so hard my shift key flew off and landed on the floor. I wasn’t aware of its location immediately, which led me to conclude that Ronan had eaten my shift key and kept right on going, smiling, pounding away, looking at me to see if I was proud of him.

Thankfully I soon located the shift key, and after exploring parts of my computer I never expected to see, I reattached the shift key and it’s working fine. It doesn’t even come off if I turn the laptop upside down. Yet.

When I was fantasizing about becoming a parent, I would promise myself I would stop drinking Dr Pepper, exercise, brush my teeth three times a day, floss, clean house regularly, all to teach him good practices. When Ronan was actually born, Dr Pepper’s stock went up from my consumption to stay awake for hours at night, I haven’t exercised (besides walks in the park) in over a year, I found floss in the medicine chest I thought I finished years ago, and I still brush far too little. Terry just implemented a new house cleaning chart; we’re both a week behind in our chores, but the house is cleaner than before, because previously we stopped cleaning. After he goes to sleep it takes all our energy to stare into space and mutter, “I have so many things to do,” over and over again.

I have to stop using my computer so much. When it gets warm out, I have to take him out every day. I have to teach him to floss and brush his teeth three times a day.

Crap, I have to start being a stay-at-home Dad full time. Who said parenting gets easier the older they get? They never had kids.


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Comments (1)

Tansal and Erika:

Sounds like Ronan is ready for his first computer.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 21, 2008 3:04 AM.

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