“I’m an ordinary woman with feelings
I’d like a man to nibble on my ear
But I’ll admit, no man has bit
So how come I’m the mother of the year?”
-“Little Girls” Annie
As the spinster of the colony, some of you may be surprised to hear me write a chapter on parenting. I know what you must be thinking: “Miss E, you can’t even find a husband! With your distinct lack of hands-on breeding experience you wouldn’t dare to espouse fully-formed opinions on the proper raising of children.” Of course, you’d be wrong.
In this day and age, many of us are called upon to act as parental guardians for the ever-increasing number of orphans being made. It’s a tough job, but someone should probably do it.
In our group of 26, seven are children and five of those kids are orphans. Little Lydia (aged 5) and Little Owen (aged 15) are the only junior survivors with living parents. Luckily, the other five are in good company since — with the notable exception of Mr. Young Jr., — all of the adults are orphans too.
To help the new guardian, I’ve devised some time-tested ways to help your adopted children survive their childhood so they can become productive, useful members of your survivor group.
Practice separation parenting – Kids today really need to learn to stand on their own two feet. Prepare your child for the psychological rigors of the “last man on earth syndrome” by being frequently unavailable, unreliable and downright unhelpful. How else will they learn to depend only on themselves?
Teach them how to get A+ in self-defense – Of the three R’s, ridding the neighborhood of ghouls is by far the most important subject.The core of all educational efforts should be rooted in the art of self-defense.
Nurture your child’s inner sociopath – Children are such soft, delicate creatures aren’t they? The other day little Cody said to me, “but Miss E, weren’t those zombies people at one point? Don’t you think they feel pain like we do?” (Awwww….developmentally delayed children are so cute!) Now, we want to help free the children the innocent concerns that could adversely impact their survival.
How do we do that? Well, that is why the point of every game we play with the children is to strip away those inconvenient sympathetic barriers. For example, we play “survival soccer” where we use a decapitated zed head for our ball. Because the zombie’s brains are intact, the ball will try to bite the children’s feet throughout the game. While undoubtedly psychologically damaging, this helps children develop important psychopathic skills … and also helps them get some much needed exercise.
Teach children responsibility…. by delegating your chores! – Children should do gender-relevant practical chores so they can learn how to contribute to the overall good of the group. That is why I always make Little Maude do the dishes every night and Little Amanda Rose haul and burn the zombie carcasses that pile up during the day. Guardianship does have its little side benefits!
Children should stay seen but not heard – This is obviously more of a safety issue than anything else. It doesn’t take a scientist to gather that zeds hear much better than they see. Have a child that won’t shut up? This is why I always carry an extra roll of duct tape. Don’t feel bad – it is for their own good!
Know when to cut your losses – Do you remember that idiom, “don’t put all of your eggs in one basket?” This advice really applies to parenting. For example, last week I led an educational foraging field trip. Little Scott (aged 10) ran into the woods alone. Now, did I organize a search party and go into the woods looking for him? Or course not!
Don’t worry, this story turns out well. Two days later he arrived back in the colony, dirty but otherwise unharmed. He was spanked for wandering off and then given one of Mrs. K’s Christmas cookies.
Remember: it takes a village to raise a child, but only one bite to turn that child into a zombino!