Monday, August 25, 2008

Never Say Never

OK, so here's the thing. Noodle is a maniac. A gorgeous, kind, lovable, sweet, angelic maniac. The kid has a thing for danger and excitement that has Tony and I a little afraid for the future. He is so going to be the kid that accepts any dare without much thought. Thankfully, the kid was blessed with copious amounts of intelligence, coordination and strength, so he will probably be fine. But in the meantime, we find ourselves duking it out with him daily (OK, several times daily) over the hand-holding while walking in public thing. He simply will not do it. And he hates the stroller, which we use as the "OK, fine--don't hold my hand. Back in the stroller you go, buddy" alternative. He's going to be two in a couple of months, so I don't blame him for hating the stroller. He's been strapped in and pushed around for 22 months. A boys gotta get out and move about, ya know?

But here's the problem. I spend all day every day with the kid and I am sick of this fight and I think that the stroller is a lame option for a kid who has so much energy. So I am considering putting his butt on a leash for some outings. Not all, but some. So we can go for walks and let him join us without the fear of having him zip off and end up mashed inside some SUV's wheel well. Which is so hard to say, since I used to be SO against kids on leashes. But, I beg you, walk a mile in my shoes and you will see that this may just be right for him.

Tony is SO AGAINST the idea. (This is such an understatement. He is downright adamant about the NO.) He has quite honestly forbidden me to tether the boy. And I see his point. It is kind of lame. But, I think the idea warrants consideration. The way I see it, we need to examine what the best option is for this particular kid.

So I Googled "leashed children" and I dialed up some (surprise, surprise!!) Internet craziness. Whole websites and blogs devoted to the debate, and some just devoted to showing photos of leashed kids in point & laugh fashion. And after browsing several message boards, I stumbled along this one thread that was just so idiotic that I could no longer hold my tongue. Or fingers. Whatever. Every pro argument was articulate and specific. And every against argument was written by...well, by people like Kim here.

Says Kim: "Why the hell can’t people just hold their kids hands? Don’t demeanor your children they are not dogs. I work at a daycare and it is not that hard to hold you kids hand…plus children benefit so mutch from human contact."

To which, I had to pen:

"Hey, Kim....pardon me, but I find it difficult to value your well-stated opinion. Sorry to "demeanor" you, but I don't think "mutch" of people who have a hard time expressing themselves in writing at or above a third grade level. And, Sweet Jesus, you are teaching children. Oh, I'm sorry. Correction: You teaching children. Poor things.

Harnesses are perfectly acceptable for preventing catastrophic accidents that so easily happen to rambunctious toddlers. Who cares what others think of what you are doing to protect your own child? Each intelligent and involved parent knows exactly what methods will or will not prove effective in the raising of his or her own children.

I have two boys, a four year-old and an almost two year-old. The baby is minutes away from being one of the many harnessed children in America. He is naturally willful and strong and curious--qualities I both admire and appreciate. Having him stay put in the stroller on outings benefits only my older son, who has freedom of movement. The baby has no fun this way and gets no exercise and is generally unhappy with being left out of the action. Take him out of the stroller, though, and he thinks he should be allowed to roam freely and refuses to hold hands with an adult. He would rather throw a screaming tantrum for miles than to hold your hand for one city block.

I think a harness would solve this dilemma by giving him the illusion of freedom, while satisfying my need to know that the threat of him darting into traffic is gone. And yes, it is like leashing a dog. I do that too---to keep my dogs safe, not to demean them. Judge me all you want. Hell, I'll be laughing at the fact that my lunatic kid is so willful that he had to tied to me with a cord. But I will know he is safe, so who cares what you think."

And I don't really care what you think, but I sort of would like to know anyway. So if you do have an opinion, share it here. Especially if you know Noodle personally.


meg said...

ha! nice retort.
i've always been slightly horrified by the tethers, and yet, i've never had willful kids. my kids ask permission to wipe their butts (exaggerating slightly for effect).

anyway, it sounds like a good option for you right now. john would probably agree with tony. but i'm guessing you are the one who is with them 24/7 so you have a little more say in this?

good luck!

Granny Stance said...

I wish ALL children were on leashes.


Mrs. Brown said...

thanks, meg. tony swears that if i were to purchase one he would chop it into tiny pieces immediatley. which i find slightly shocking, since he and i used to always wish for other peoples children to be caged before we had our own. (kidding, like you, nancy.) we'll see how this pans out. i tend to be a bit persuasive, but tony is the single most stubborn creature on god's green earth, so at this point it's anyone's game.

Danielle said...

right on! i mean, some kids, even adults, have to wear helmets - i'm just sayin'. (sarcasm is so hard via the blog world)

Danielle Stone said...

Isabella has a tether. It was $10 at target and is called a Harness Buddy. It looks like a little teddy bear backpack. She is a runner and it has saved my sanity on many occasions. My mother had one for me as a child as well. I see nothing wrong with them so go for it. Mike was dead set against it as well until i got it and we used it one day.

Mrs. Brown said...

that's the kind i got for noah! i let him choose which one, and he chose the Harness Buddy puppy dog one. i think it is going to work out great. i went the extra mile and got a budget $2.99 wrist tether to keep in the diaper bag for just-in-case times. we haven't used the Harness Buddy yet, but plan on trying it on our next outing.
i tried out the wrist one today and it ws fantastic. noah loved it. we were able to take a walk around the block in the rain....magic made possible by galoshes, umbrellas, and a baby leash. usually, angus and i can take rain walks & puddle stomps only when tony's home to watch noodle, since he can't be trusted to stay to the side of the road 9our hood does not have sidewalks). but today he was such a little big kid and stayed right theere with us, never trying to dart away. he knew he was safely attached to me, but was loving his big kid freedom, too. genius, i tell you.

gonzomama said...

okay, first i was cracking up at what kim said before i even read your response. i knew it would be good.

my sis and i were just talking about this issue recently. before i had henry i thought those leashes were awful. now i get them. he's usually pretty good about holding hands (he hates the stroller too - it doesn't get used much) but we do have the occasional battle and at those times i think having him strapped to me would be a good thing. especially b/c my stomach is so freakin big right now i can't easily bend over and scrape him off the floor when he is having a fit.
i say go for it. it's not like you will need to do this long term. he needs to be safe while he's learning his boundaries. he'll learn them quicker if he's happier too.

gonzomama said...

oh yeah. that picture. too good. he's gonna be a bad-ass for life.

gonzomama said...

meant to leave this too.

Mrs. Brown said...

LOL! thanks so much, jessica. that clip was hilarious! spit out your coffee funny. man, i love that jon stewart.

and also, thanks for sharing your views about the tether. my kids are two years apart and i remember the stage you are at. my big fear was that angus would get ahead of me or away from me and i wouldn't be able to waddle after him quickly enough to keep him for danger.

and i'm telling you, this tether idea was the right choice for us. it was like noah knew that he had what he wanted AND i had what i wanted yesterday when we went out for our trial-run walk with the tether. there was an understanding. for the first time, i was relaxed enough while letting him walk with us to actualy enjoy the experience. normally, i am stressed about making sure we all stay together, the baby within arms reach because that sucker is FAST. and he actually didn't try to run off for the first time ever, so i think we have a winner.

and you're right...this will be a short phase. he is a smart boy and will want to gain more freedom bu doing well with this.

M Green said...

I'm glad you decided to go with the leash. Now I'd like to suggest a new name for it... freedom rope. It's all about spin. People don't like the thought of their children on leashes, but a freedom rope, now that's a whole different story!

Mrs. Brown said...

and there you have it.... a freedom rope it is. i love it. :)

wanna come walk my baby with me?

or just go get some frosty beverages?

Unclepullmyfinger said...

heh...Freedom Rope

Mrs. Brown said...

well, the freedom rope is a bonafide hit with the kid. we went to carytown and did a round of the toystore/ ben & jerry's combo and the Harness Buddy ruled it. noah was so stoked to be a full-time upright walking citizen of planet earth. three people stopped us to tell me what a great idea it was to let yout toddler have some freedom to move instead of being strapped in. my thoughts exactly.

all hail the FREEDOM ROPE!!!