Getting Real with Kira Hazledine
I was such a judgmental craphead before I was a mom. I made so many ignorant statements about what an awesome mom I was going to be and how I wasn’t going to do such and such. This early twenties young woman, who had all the free time, money, and sleep at her disposal, was so annoying. What did I really know back then? And I think about this now as I consider an item for my toddler as my second child grows in my stomach: the toddler leash. I used to look at children on a leash and think “How could they do that? Children aren’t animals!” I thought it was horrible, but now, I get it.
I get the leash and why some kids need it. It’s not just an item of convenience but an item of safety. Some kids are runners. It takes two seconds for a child to sprint off and get hurt, or worse, even less time to get taken. Day-to-day use I hem and haw about, but in a zoo or amusement park they make a lot of sense. At the same time, I don’t know your situation. I don’t know if that leashed child has a disability and can’t communicate if they are lost. So hell yeah, leash those little gremlins where ever you need to.
Although I wouldn’t consider my daughter, Hallie, a runner she is definitely a free spirit. Hallie likes to wander and I’ve given her relative freedom to do so. Rather than fight with her, I’ve encouraged her to learn to stay close. She knows that she can play hide-and-seek with me at home, but never run away from me in a store. Hallie does not have to hold my hand on the sidewalk near our house, but she has to hold hands past the neighbor’s house or anywhere cars might be.
The thing is, once the next baby is born I’m not going to be able to have all eyes on Hallie. Right now, Hallie has my undivided attention. I can let her out of the cart at Wal-Mart (if I’m just wandering and not really focusing on shopping) and make sure she stays close at all times. With an infant on my hip or boob or otherwise attached, there is no way I can give Hallie the attention she needs in public. So my options are to enforce rules that I’ve never enforced (hindsight is 20/20 right?) like stay in the cart or the stroller, or somehow tether my child to me.
So I look to leashes. I like the animal backpack, but I still don’t think Hallie would be the biggest fan. Also, the backpack would require one of my hands at all times. Luckily, there are alternatives that are still leashes of some sort but don’t look like I’m taking my child for a walk. These you can wear on the wrist of mom and child that gives the child room to roam but keeps them close. I’m seriously considering this, not because I’m lazy, but because I know my child. Hallie is fearless and strong-willed, and it’s my job to keep her safe. If a leash is the solution, then bring it on. And I apologize for judging before I knew any better.