Waking the Walker

A mother's quest to survive her son's "zombie" years – aka his teens.

Tag: walker

Fear of the Unknown

We all experience fear in some way throughout our lives. It’s a normal human emotion. With every stage or rite of passage in our lives, apprehension can set in, it’s all part of the growth process.

As children our fears tend to be simple and easily eased by an adult. As we age though, the things that make us pause become a bit more serious. These are the things that are tied directly to our future.


A wrong decision could change the course of our lives forever, which is why I completely understand my Son’s apprehension when it comes to driving.

By our teens, fear of the unknown can be extremely polarizing, preventing us from moving forward and possibly stunting our emotional health. To be honest, polarization can happen at any age, and again, we’ve all probably experienced some level of it at some point in our lives. As a parent though, it’s my job to help guide my Son through these polarizing experiences so he can move forward.

The question is how to do this without seeming pushy or prying?

Read the rest of this entry »

Fear the Electronic Lure

OK, so here we go again, another school year has begun. And, although we made it through Freshman year in high school, we were not completely unscathed. As I anticipated, there were certainly times when I would have preferred a Zombie Apocalypse (Zombie Apocalypse vs Freshman Year in High School) to the battles I endured with my son. The bulk of the battles were related to the transition into high school and lack of effort on his part, which I have touched on in quite a few of my posts. (Two Steps Forward, One Step Back; CHANGE; Give It Your All; and  Summer Safe Zone?)

Zombie TeenAs you can see, these are ongoing issues, so you’d think by now I wouldn’t flinch, I’d just take a sink or swim attitude about things. Unfortunately, when my Gifted IQ Child behaves more like a Brain-Dead Walker and can’t seem to learn from his repeated mistakes, despite stating that he gets it, I find myself grasping for any new trick that just might strike a nerve. I do however, continue to hang on to hope that Sophomore year and my son’s sixteenth birthday will bring enlightenment and maturity thus creating advancements in these critical areas. (I keep hearing from teachers and other parents that this will come. They all can’t be wrong. There has to come a point when my walker awakens and sees things as they are, not as his hormone riddled brain imagines.)

Beyond the lack of effort issue, my most challenging struggle continues to be that of my son’s extensive use of all things electronic. A hoard of walkers is much more welcome then the daily battle over his excessive gaming and computer time. Over the summer I retreated a little, having to except defeat in some areas, but, with the start of school, the daily rant about house rules in regards to electronic usage time is upon us. I am continually reminding him that all school work and chores need to be done before play time can begin. Reinforcing this is the daily checklist that was implemented last school year. This list is displayed in a prominent spot as a reminder for my son to use, thus, hopefully becoming a habit.  We teetered on the precipice of this happening toward the end of last school year, but summer vacation wiped this queue from my son’s memory banks and has to be reinstalled. In addition, the NO GAMING Monday through Thursday rule took effect when school started, but that will take some vigilance on my part to be sure my son abides by it. He has found many ways to disguise his playing, plus he has found a loophole in which he’s not actually playing, but watching videos about playing. As long as he’s within his time limited, it’s hard to fight this one. (His skill with things like this concerns me. He seems to be a lawyer in the making. Some days I think I need a law degree just to be a parent.)

I have always felt that my son was a bit too obsessive in the gaming area, even to the point of addiction. As I stated in my previous post, “It’s a Matter of Trust,” I regret the day I allowed a gaming device to enter our home. It’s been a slippery slope with walkers biting at my heels from the beginning. As he’s gotten older, the angle of the slope has gotten steeper, particularly because the bulk of his gaming is on his computer now and is not as easy to monitor. Although, he does more group playing on-line using a headset, so sneaking up on him is getting a bit easier. Plus, he can get loud sometimes, so, that’s an indicator that he’s getting overstimulated and it’s time to intervene.
electronic junky
Concerns about my son’s possible gaming addiction lead me to do some research, which only helped to escalate my concerns. Gaming addiction is a growing issue, not just in teens, but in adults, unfortunately, there is no set diagnosis and suggestions for treatment vary. There is however a list of symptoms, most of which my son either has or comes close to. The most obvious ones being overextending allotted playing time, a pre-occupation with gaming/games, and spending too much money on games or game related items. He constantly reminds me it’s his money. And he’s right. I just thing one day he’ll regret this, especially when he wants a car.

My son gets completely lost when he’s playing and has no clue what time of day it is. He even forgets to eat lunch on the weekends. (Skipping meals is another symptom.) Even if he’s just watching videos he can do the same thing. Getting him to the dinner table has become a battle of epic proportions. If he’s not reading or researching about something gaming related, he’s rattling off details about games that just make me glaze over. Read the rest of this entry »

The Monster Within

Recently I had a major meltdown. The yelling, throwing things, mad at the world, feeling sorry for myself kind. The kind I’m embarrassed to admit I had the day after. The kind I try hard to control, but, when the circumstances are right, like I’m stressed from the day-to-day and over-extending myself, can get the better of me, and I blow. Fortunately, the bulk of this one hit after my son was in bed and no one else was in the house. I could have buried it and pretended it didn’t happen, but I knew better. When everything builds up and pushes me over the edge, I have to face it head on. Especially when my son witnessed the beginning of the meltdown and was stunned because it came out of left field. He even said “What happened? You were fine a minute ago.” What kind of example am I setting? How can I discuss self-control with him, when I’m not exhibiting it myself?

The Monster Within

The Monster Within

I have outbursts here and there. Usually brought on by my son’s extraordinary button-pushing, but this wasn’t that at all. Those are quick and they don’t linger like this one did. This was something deeper taking over. To be honest it scared me.

The morning after the meltdown, my son told me he was genuinely concerned. He too knew this wasn’t the norm for Mom. I told him I felt like Rick from “The Walking Dead” just before he ripped Joe’s throat out with his teeth and although this actually helped to get my son out of bed faster that morning, I knew that wasn’t good. I knew the monster inside was winning and I had to get a grip. Read the rest of this entry »

Zombie Apocalypse vs Freshman Year in High School

With the start of my son’s freshman year in high school this month, I couldn’t help but wonder which is easier to survive, a zombie apocalypse or freshman year in high school? Looking back at my son’s three years in middle school, especially his sixth grade year and the end of eighth grade, I would have to choose the zombies over freshman year. At least they are a bit more predictable. Devouring you from head to toe is their only goal, not slowly driving you to the brink of insanity. (Although, the isolation of the apocalypse certainly did just that to Morgan, but that’s a whole other subject.) Plus, one good shot to the head and you’re done with them. It’s not that simple with your teenager. Granted, dealing with a horde of zombies would be more than frightening and overwhelming, but, having chaperoned band trips, I can confess, so can a bus load of teenagers.

The Prison Gang

The Prison Gang

As I have learned from watching “The Walking Dead,” the key to survival during the zombie apocalypse is perseverance and preparedness. Don’t quit, give up or give in, is their modus operandi. Preparedness not only involves having the right supplies and weapons, but enough sense and skill to thwart off any dangerous situation before it overcomes you. And in this show, the humans can pose more of a threat than the walkers, so, common sense, instincts and skill can sometimes trump the weapons. A prime example of this is how the gang at the prison outwitted the Governor and his army during their second attack on the prison. The prison gang knew they didn’t have the people or weapons to out battle the Governor’s army, so they used a smoke screen, literally and figuratively, to make them believe they had given up and left the prison, which lured the Governor’s army into the tombs, where walkers and explosions were waiting. This spooked the army and they ran back out, where they were ambushed by the small prison gang as they exited. The prison gang refused to give up or in and used the resources they had, both wits and weapons, to overcome those threatening the sanctuary they had worked so hard to attain.

I’d have to say the same can be said for facing freshman year in high school. Although there have been many times when my perseverance has been tested over the years, giving up was never an option. My son on the other hand, is constantly willing to throw in the towel when the going gets tough, (yup, he’d be walker bait for sure) which is why I worry with every new challenge. He definitely has a bit of a doomsday mentality, which sometimes presents more of a challenge than the challenge itself. When he triggers, I have to pull him off the precipice of the walker pit and show him how unrealistic his thought process is. Generally this settles him down, but, by this point we’re both worn out by the process. I had hoped the glimmers of maturity that I witnessed through middle school were a sign that this would subside. Although it has a little, when it does flare, it’s worse than before because now his teenage hormones are raging. So, knowing I may be up against a walker bait mindset, I try to look for the signs when his “quit, give up and give in” attitude is triggering. This is the instinctive part of my preparedness, which at times has been my life saver. Read the rest of this entry »

We’ve all got jobs to do.

Literally waking my walker is a huge challenge. He has truly hit those “sleeping” walker years. At minimal, it’s a 30 minute process, ending only with counting (yes, like he was a pre-schooler) and threatening to take something, like his electronics, stash of Nerf weapons or, the biggest of all, the right to stay up Sunday night to watch the new episode of “The Walking Dead” live, not recorded the next day. (Note, this last threat is only effective during the new season and we’re down to the finale this Sunday. Ouch!) My now taller than me son knows these threats are not idle. I will follow through with them. As evident with the marking period long electronics ban because of a poor report card.

This weekday morning ritual is exhausting and on the days I’m running late, can be very stressful. Oh how I look longingly back at the years when my son woke up ahead of me and would play and sing to himself in his crib till I came in, at which time, he would greet me with great joy, excited to start a new day. Now I’m greeted with groans and hands clawing in the air, hoping to chase me away. No such luck for him. Mom doesn’t give up or give in that easily.

The waking process starts out sweet and gentle. I open his bedroom door, greeting my sleeping walker with a cheery good morning, push up the blinds and turn off the fan he uses for white noise. (Note, his clock radio has already gone off and is blaring top 40 music. This might not wake my sleeping walker, but it would most definitely attract the walking dead.) The sleeping walker lump in bed groans and rolls over, attempting to ignore my presence. Ten minutes later the hall light comes on along with a time reminder. Another groan from the walker and a blanket over the head maneuver. This won’t do, I approach the lump. Out come the claws or sasquatch feet or both. I back away, but not without grabbing a foot. I then apply a tickle hold, which gets the lump to squirm. I release my hold, give another time reminder and walk out of the room, flipping the bedroom light on as I exit. Now the groaning echoes throughout the house. Along with “I’m trying. My eyes won’t open.” Yes, the eyes have a mind of their own and they are in control, not my won’t go to bed on time over tired walker. This is the “King of Excuses, Procrastination and Dilly Dally” at work here. He’s another one I have to figure out how to tackle, but for now, I just want my walker up and getting ready for school, so he has time to eat at least a banana. “Brain food,” you know, not brains.

Saquatch feet and claws

Sasquatch feet and claws
Illustration by Pam Danko-Stout

My recent defense in the “waking the walker” morning challenge is the reminder that “We’ve all got jobs to do.” and his is to go to school. He hates this phrase, not just because it’s true and he knows I’m right, but because these are words of advice and counsel spoken by Hershel Greene (Scott Wilson), one of his most beloved characters from “The Walking Dead.” And, as it turns out, one of his teachers. (It’s a conspiracy. All those darn adults ganging up on the kids, reminding them to be responsible citizens. Why can’t they just leave them to run amuck?) Read the rest of this entry »

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