My nine-year-old son for his last birthday received an onslaught of Nerf weapons—all sizes, all shapes.
He hardly plays with them. His birthday, just as a note, was last October. They normally just gather dust.
But as I sat at my trusty pink laptop last night, scanning Twitter and searching blogs (because that’s what I do instead of write novels now days), he decided to pull out the Nerf guns and spongy darts. Then he decided to involve his younger sister in a game called, “You’re a zombie/ No I’m not.”
It kind of went something like this:
The boy: “You’re a zombie.”
The girl: “No I’m not.”
The boy: “Come on, please. Just chase me around and try to bite me.”
The girl: “I’m not playing”
The boy: “I’m still going to shoot you, so just do it.”
The girl: “Why do I have to be the zombie?”
The boy: “Because I have the guns and you don’t.”
Girl moans her frustration (much like a zombie, hmmm). “Can I really bite you?” (This is the part in which a good parent, an observant parent, would have stepped in and put an end to the game. Sadly, I’m not a good parent. I’m just so-so).
I didn’t hear too much more conversation going on as the game got under way. They seemed to be enjoying themselves, running around, up and down the stairs, the dog chasing after them while Nerf darts littered the house. They seemed to be having a good time. A real good time.
That should have been a clue right there as well. (Again, a more observant parent should have raised a brow. These two children don’t tend to play well with one another. Not for long anyway.)
Next thing I know . . .
“She bit me! Mommmmmm, SHE BIT ME!”
Yep, the girl sunk her teeth into the boy. Now, playing the devil’s advocate here, I did hear the boy say, “Chase me and bite me.” (See above transcript of thus said game). So in her defense, he was kind of asking for it.
Me: “You shouldn’t have bit your brother.”
The girl: “But I’m a zombie. Zombie’s bite.”
Me: “I know. But you’re not really a zombie and so you should’ve just pretended to bite. Like this,” (I go on to demonstrate how a fake bite should be by fake biting her arm).
The girl: “Then I don’t want to play.”
She’s a stubborn lass. She really is. But I get her point. She has two older brothers who terrorize her on a daily basis. I had a brother (have, he’s still around) growing up and given a free pass to bite him, I probably would’ve. I would’ve sunk my teeth into him and made him cry and beg for mercy (You don’t know my brother. Don’t judge me).
But now was the time for me to step up and be “Super Mom” and instill some kind of moral-like wisdom and advice on my dear daughter. “Don’t bite your brother,” I said.
The girl: “Why?”
Me: “Because I said so.” Sorry, that’s all I had. Moral-like wisdom is not my strength.
Off she went, the problem solved. (Just to clarify, the boy sustained no visible injuries. Lots of salvia, but no blood or teeth marks).
A while later, these little zombie hunters of mine came creeping into my room, Nerf guns tucked into elastic waist bands of their pants, a clear see-through rifle shoved down the back of my son’s shirt, both of their hands clutching mini Nerf pistols, and proceeded to pelt me with sponge bullets. They had reconciled their differences and found a new target—me.
“Get her!” The boy yelled. “Get the zombie queen!”
A queen? I could get used to that—even if it is queen of the zombies. (Dang! That would be an awesome Twitter name @zombiequeen . . . Dang! Just checked. It’s taken. I’m gonna go follow that person).
So I played my part and chased after them. They jumped on the sofa and called it their “free zone” to which I replied, “There is no free zone. Zombies don’t know what that means.”
They squealed in delight as I blew raspberries on their necks and bellies and tickled them all over.
A fun, yet disturbing kind of game, right? I know what you’re thinking. I do.
Here’s the thing—I’m writing a zombie western romance. All three of my kids know that. Do I read it to them? No. Do they watch zombie movies? Heavens no. Do they know about zombies? Apparently, a little too much.
But it isn’t all my fault, folks. Scooby-Doo has them. Even Barbie (YES, Barbie) has them. Zombies are everywhere.
Was this my best mothering moment? Probably not. But I can tell you, playing a pretend zombie game with my children probably won’t be the worst thing I do to them either. I’m a so-so kind a mom, so I’m sure I’ll screw them up in a completely different way.