Key Concerns of a Teenage Boy
I’ve had the privilege of spending quite a bit of time with Bubaloo in the car over the past month. Back and forth we go to an endless string of orthodontist appointments. We’re not even close to getting his braces on and already I’m living in the waiting room.
Like most teenage boys he does his best talking when we’re doing an activity together or he’s trapped in the car. He tends to be an odd mix of a cerebral and anxious little fellow. I let him kick off the conversation which usually begins with the question, “What would you do if…”
Usually what follows next is some obscure and seemingly random scenario related to his favourite subjects which include war, army men, video games, guns, grenades, nuclear war and the apocalypse. The conversation then is directed to me to respond and I usually give some flip answer that’s highly skeptical of the scenario he’s presented as I methodically debunk all the myths and falsehoods he’s constructed. He then retorts with a “No, you don’t understand” and we go back and forth on the scenario at hand not really getting anywhere but frustrated with one another until we finally reach an impasse.
I’m not so good at the “what would you do if” conversation if there’s no realism involved, and he doesn’t want to understand why the scenarios he constructs don’t have a shred of likelihood in them.
Of late he’s been fixated on zombies. This means that our conversations now begin with the question, “What would you do if zombies…”
Today this question started off something like this: “What would you do if zombies broke into our house? Which room would you want to be in?”
I decided to humour him and gave him my thought out response. If you care to know what it was, I told him the dining room because it had the best windows for an escape route. I couldn’t easily fit out any of the other windows while carrying the baby, and I wasn’t interested in jumping out of a second floor window. This would only work if the house wasn’t surrounded by zombies. Otherwise I’d have to suck it up and get eaten.
I tossed the question back at him and he let me know why his room was the ideal safe haven in our home. I got a run down of all of the things he could use in his room to bash a zombie’s head in, the exact way he would stack his furniture to barricade himself in his room, the various tactics he would use to distract or fool the zombies (notably throwing out a tissue with a speck of blood to trick the zombie to go in the opposite direction down the hall), and his two possible escape routes.
I was only somewhat surprised at how well thought out his plan was. He seems to spend a lot of time thinking about this stuff. And he’s a pretty smart kid.
It was so well thought out that I had to take a pause and ask him about the reality of the situation. Did my son really think that zombies were going to bust through the front door of our house any day now?
Yes, he informed me. Yes he does. Anything is possible.
So I tried to appeal to his rational, less anxious, intellect to deconstruct the zombie myth. I tried to talk about how zombies weren’t really real, and if they were, the probability of a zombie apocalypse happening was pretty slim. Which led me on tangent about probabilities and then giving him some more realistic scenarios that were more likely to lead to the demise of the human race. Bird flu. Germ warfare. Viral mutations.
What was I thinking!?! The poor kid is probably tossing and turning in his bed tonight. I unthinkingly fed him some really good material that was unnecessarily worrisome and totally played into his neuroses. Talk about parenting fail!
I guess I’ll find out on the weekend how epic my fail was when we inevitably play “What would you do if…” as I shuttle him around to his various activities.