Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Contrary to All Appearances, My Kids are Not Cocker Spaniels

When my first child was a little over a year old, my husband and I planned a trip that included a 2-day ferry ride. Although I knew that I would be with her at all times and that the ferry’s railings were virtually impossible to slip through, I was overcome with a feeling of dread when I thought about my little girl toddling about the ship. I could not stop visualizing my child somehow falling over the side of the boat into icy waters below. So I bought a safety strap and attached it to her whenever we stepped out on deck. She never ran away from us, and I didn’t really even need the strap, but I felt better knowing I had a good hold on my daughter. I don’t recall any sideways glances or snide remarks from fellow passengers; I suspect seeing a little girl on a boat harnessed to her mother provided them a sense of safety as well.


safety strap disguised as puppy tail
Years later, when I walked with my little twins through a mall, people weren’t as understanding. One guy attempted humor, joking about my children being dogs. Hilarious. A woman muttered “leash,” perhaps hoping to shame me. Sorry, but ever since the incident when my daughter disappeared at Sea World and I started running around like Shirley Maclaine in Terms of Endearment screaming at the top of my lungs for someone to help me find my baby, I have no shame left.

Evidently some people believe it's inhumane for a mom to place a safety strap on her toddler. I suspect that these people are not parents, or maybe they are the proud owners of a single well-behaved child whom they can control by verbal command. I, however, am the frazzled mother of two disobedient preschoolers, and if you want to talk inhumane, just drop me in the middle of a crowded public place without my safety straps.





I'll be the sweaty, stressed-out woman chasing after two mischievous ragamuffins.































Dinner last night: kalbi ribs, mashed potatoes and gravy


Exactly two years ago:







10 comments:

Mother Mayhem said...

Just keep smiling! ;o)

Michele said...

I NEVER would have used a leash on my children.

Then I had Brian . . .

My sympathies. Let those snide comments roll right off you, sister. As long as you go home with the same number of children you left with, you're doing alright.

Helene said...

Screw those people and their opinions. They have no idea what it's like to be in our shoes. I had harnesses with Cole and Bella and I happily used them with Garrett and Landon when they finally learned to walk/run.

One mom came up to me at the park and told me how cruel it was to make them wear "dog leashes" and I said, "Uh, no....real cruelty would be letting them run into the busy street over there and letting them get crushed by a car."

Dianna@KennedyAdventures said...

Oh, girl .... I tried the purse/leash thing with Rachel when I was PG with the twins, and I wanted to cry. It was like walking an extremely bad puppy. She'd go one way, and I'd go the other. I'm sure the folks at Target thought I was nuts.

For me, it was a good idea in theory, but just did not work for us.

Joey @ Big Teeth and Clouds said...

I parent a single well behaved child that is easily controlled by verbal commands. And I confess that I'm guilty of sideways glances when I see the kids on leashes. I can't imagine though how you could keep twins together in a crowd (like SeaWorld) so I agree. If that's what it takes, do it. Safety and sanity are more important than public opinion.

Katherine said...

I have that exact same safety strap.

And I too have be shamed, or attempted to be shamed by other people. People who say they would never treat their child like a pet (but funny how they treat their pet like a child.) But one trip to DisneyLand where you lose your child and you are sure they have been kidnapped by a creepy man who lives in a van and the strap is completely worth it.

Karen Peterson said...

I never had an opinion about harnesses until a year ago when I was dating this guy and we got into a discussion about them. He thought using harnesses or safety straps or whatever was a horrible excuse for poor parenting. I suddenly became defensive and said that I have seen enough unruly kids to know that sometimes they are necessary, no matter how hard the parents work to instill discipline.

Now, I have a very strong opinion on the subject. :-)

Danae said...

I'm of the opinion that if it keeps the kids safe, and mom sane, it is probably a good thing! (Although I could never get my hubby to go for it.)

lilmansworld said...

I wanted to purchase one for Jacob a little while back, but Kevin just laughed. He said I can do what I want, but I could tell he didn't want to be caught dead with a 'monkey on his child's back'. So now I'm the one who grins and bears it as my child writhes in my arms as we leave any public place. Lucky me!

Andrea @multiplemama said...

Could not agree with you more! In fact I keep my twins b/g on leashes all the time! Love the picture of them climbing the fence! Man these critters can be industrious!