I put my child on a leash: And I liked it

Saturday, May 25, 2013

I know, I know, I could be opening a big ole can of worms with this post, but that is ok. I'm confident and happy with my choice as a mother!

I have what is called in Motherhood land 'a runner' a very, very fast moving little boy who is still learning boundaries and dangerous situations. He is not yet two, and has been walking over half his life, and is quite proficient at it. I, however am getting less proficient in my walking skills as this baby sinks lower into my pelvis and gives me that ever so attractive pregnancy waddle. Running is out of the question, unless a life or death situation presents itself, of which I've had a few in the last weeks where I've had to sacrifice my own health and wellbeing to chase down a runaway toddler heading towards a parking lot or a waterway.

Not today.

Today I opted for the leash. It is a very discreet leash. It' s attached to a very cute Monkey backpack by Skip Hop, but it is a leash, or you may prefer the word tether or harness. Whatever you fancy. But it is what it is.

I had to go to the shops to do a big grocery stock up, so I strapped the backpack (with tether) on the little man and off we went. Crossing the road was a breeze. Walking through the shopping centre and avoiding the aptly placed Thomas the Tank Engine ride was easy as pie. Getting him to stay with me whilst I wrangled the trolleys that always seems to jam together, was no problem at all. We wandered around the shop, me feeling confident and in complete control. I found I was able to communicate more, and Ezra was learning to listen more, because he was still close to me. I was able to teach him to hold onto the side of the trolley whilst we shopped, rather than chasing him down the aisles, getting angry and frustrated. Of course he still tried to grab everything, but that I can handle.

Actually, everything was going swimmingly. Until he plopped down onto all fours and began crawling down the aisle, whilst barking. Yes, Barking, like a dog.

Insert mortified Mum face.

Can you imagine? My little boy, growling and barking down the aisles, and theres me wondering if I should just let go of the leash or just bust up laughing, 'this looks really bad'. It isn't the first time he's acted like a dog, in fact copying the dog is one of his favourite things to do, including trying to lift his leg to pee on trees, and eating food with his mouth straight off the floor.

 In reality I think it was quite hilarious, and I had tears of laughter streaming down my face when recounting the story to my Mum when I got home. Of course he decided to do that, of course he thought it was appropriate supermarket behaviour. But, at the time I did not want anyone thinking that I was treating my child like a dog. I had to keep repeating ' quick get up, onto your feet, stop that.' It happened multiple times, during our little shopping trip, I'm sure we helped some other shoppers to brighten their day just a little.

I used to look at parents and utter the judgemental 'tut, tut, tut' when they had a leash on their child. Now, I can completely relate. Some kids (like mine) love to walk and explore, and hate being strapped into a pram all the time. They need to release some energy, but they can also be a danger to themselves.  This way, he can walk around and enjoy his outing and I can communicate clearly with him, and teach him that he needs to stay close. I'm not tugging at the leash and pulling him back like I do with my dog, I'm talking to my child and telling him to come back. Yes, I could just hold his hand, but that is difficult on all of us, and he HATES it, and I have heard that you can do damage to children's arm and shoulder ligaments when they tug or pull profusely, or suddenly drop to the ground (which happens a lot in our case). In the end, I would rather be confident that my child is safe and secure and within my grasp than to be to scared to do it because I am worried about what people might say or think. Even if I wasn't pregnant, I would still use it. Not all the time, just in situations that are potentially dangerous or I could lose him.

But, still in this post for some reason I feel the need to justify it, so annoying.  I really believe that you just have to do, what you have to do as a parent. Nobody knows your child like you.

So, have you used a toddler leash before?

Karen xx

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10 comments on "I put my child on a leash: And I liked it"
  1. oh yes. Madison is the same way - does not sit still for long unless we're bribing her with treats - so she has a little fuzzy bear backpack with a super long "tail" that works as a leash. i think it's going to get a lot of use this summer ;)

  2. Ha ha...I definitely would giggle if I saw a toddler on a leash acting like a dog...it makes perfect sense really.
    Luckily our little guy is still fairly happy to be in his pram...usually because I load it up with his trains and whatever else is keeping him entertained at the moment before we set off.
    I can just see myself having to use a leash at some point though...the dog leash in my left hand and the toddler leash in my right!

  3. I've always been a fan of the leash, long before I had Punky. I just don't get what is so wrong with wanting to keep your child safe and out of harm's way. It's exactly the same as holding their hand and they don't mind it anywhere near as much as they do hand holding! I haven't actually bought one for Punky yet but it is on my pre-PJ#2 To-Do List as there is no way I can run after her (she's a runner too!) as I get bigger, and once the baby is here, even with her in the carrier its gonna be a bit hard to run after a toddler with a baby strapped to my chest so a leash it will be. If it saves her from running on the road or anything else I don't care what others think.

    And I would be mortified if that was Punky acting like a dog while wearing the leash but I would also be trying not to wet myself laughing as well!

  4. It just makes an outing more enjoyable and relaxing for everyone!! That is a great thing!!! Those teddy backpacks are so cute!

  5. My mum didn't have a tether for me or my sister, but my brother was a runner and she used one for him. When you have multiple children to look after I think it is a must. You're trying to keep them safe - people don't 'tut tut' people for using a capsule or getting vaccinations so why should they 'tut tut' a tether.

  6. I wish I took a picture of it, or even better video!! I bought one of those Houdini stops to stop pram escapes but he just cannot handle being strapped in if
    I stop moving! At least the dog can teach the toddler how to walk properly on a leash ;)

  7. I haven't used one, but i get the use for one. My pram has a lead type thing for using as a tether(for the mummy arm) when you are not using brakes on the pram. I have always taught Izzy to use this to hang on to when we cross the road. Kids are so unpredictable. Plus I have the mummy nightmares that someone will steal my baby when I have gone to chase my toddler. Crazy, I know, but a mother would understand.

  8. It was a fine line between cracking up laughing and being so embarrassed!!
    I can barely take Ezra anywhere at the moment because he is just so fast, it saves us from being cooped up inside!

  9. Every child is so different, I'm hoping my next one LOVES to hold my hand haha! Good points about the capsule and vaccines, so true!!!

  10. I think it will come in handy when I have the baby too! What do you do when you have a runaway toddler and a pram... eeeek I don't even want to think about it!!