On “The Walking Dead,” Lori gave birth to her baby to much anticipation, died, and then there was a short flurry of activity to get everything ready for the baby. What would they feed her? Where would she sleep? What would they name her? Then Little Asskicker all but disappeared. Every now and again she would pop up in someone’s arms, reminding you that she was still there. However, someone always seemed to be available to hang back and take care of her – even when every man (and woman) on deck were needed to fight in a standoff in which they were greatly outnumbered. On top of that, the baby never seems to cry like any baby inevitably would for hours out of the day, bringing all the zombies to the yard.
If you’re in a zombie apocalypse or some other type of doomsday situation, don’t count on your children being so cooperative or convenient. They are going to cry. They are going to run directly into the mouth of danger (perhaps literally). They are going to do everything that kids do that are annoying when you’re just out at the market but that could be potentially life-threatening if you are in a post-apocalyptic situation. Here’s how you can handle them:
Baby WearCradling that baby in your arms may be sweet, but it’s going to severely limit your ability to wield a hatchet or to run. Invest in a good baby carrier now and have it in your emergency preparation kit. Make sure you get the kind with the buckles and not the woven wraps. You can strap the baby to your back just like a backpack, and then your arms will be free to fight off whatever you may need to or to run quickly. Make sure you have one on hand even if you don’t currently have a baby: You never know when you or someone in your entourage may get knocked up and be slowed down.
BreastfeedIf Glen and Maggie had never gone to get formula for Little Asskicker, they never would have been captured and taken to The Governor, and Season 3 would have never happened. The point is that going on any additional runs for supplies can put you and your crew in danger – not to mention the fact that you don’t know if you’ll even be able to find formula in such a situation. Breastfeed: It’s always available, and you don’t have to go anywhere to do it.
Teach Toddlers to Maneuver Small SpacesYou never know when something you need will be just out of reach. However, it may be possible for small hands and small bodies to reach it. By teaching your toddler to maneuver small spaces, you may be able to get out of many a jam. For example, a toddler can fit through a small wedge in a fence that you can’t and can run over and unlock a gate. A toddler can wiggle through a small window or hole in a wall to access a room with supplies that has been blasted shut.
You can also teach your toddler to maneuver small spaces as a survival skill. For example, he or she can hide under just about any car and stay out of reach of zombies.
Use their Natural Energy to Your AdvantageWhen you’ve been on the road all day in search of food or have been running from cannibalistic bandits, you are likely more than a little beat by the end of the day. If you still have to take care of chores, supply runs or other physical tasks, you may not have the energy. You can tap into your children’s natural energy here, asking them to do what they can. They’ll still be go-go-going while you can preserve your energy for the important tasks of fighting, hunting and foraging for another day.
Use them for the Sympathy CardYou run into a gang of sociopaths who want to rob your whole crew of all your food rations. You point out the babies and children in your group and plead for their case. Or maybe you run up on a rescue station, but there are only a few spots left. You plead to be admitted with your child, who’s so young and so helpless.
The sympathy card might be able to get you out of a great number of jams. Use it wisely.
Whatever you do in a post-apocalyptic situation, it’s important not to do two things: DON’T eat your baby, and DON’T allow your children to become gun-wielding sociopaths who will kill you later in a fight for the fittest. In the meantime, learn how to manage them to the best of your ability so you can get you and them through the whole situation alive.