As I mentioned before (see the death of rule #178) i used to have lofty thougths of what my life as a parent would be like. My YCS (younger, cooler self) was an idealistic girl who thought she would always be in control. She believed that all it would take to achieve excellence would be to set goals and be consistent in her expectations and behavior. The thing is, that silly little bitch poorly informed young idealist, never considered that the time would come along when she would grow tired. Very, very tired. And that those rules that she envisioned herself upholding, even in the face of monumental opposition, would someday be rationalized away as having been poorly planned in the first place. And so, I give to you…
The Death of Rule #37- I will never put a leash on my toddler
I have to say, for those of you who’ve done it, I’ve always looked at you with contempt. I always thought that to see a toddler in a leash was the absolute in dehumaizing. In my mind the choke chain and quick tug on the leash weren’t far behind (although I do advocate them for teenagers and husbands. Just saying).
Recently we took a family trip to Denver. After being in the car for a few hours, and ending up in a hotel where I strategically rearranged the furniture to prevent his access to certain areas of the room, we strapped that 18-month old back into the car seat and drove to the Downtown Aquarium, took him out of the car seat and strapped him directly into the stroller. Two hours later, I strapped him into the car seat and we drove to a resteraunt, strapped him into a high chair, ate, back to the car, back to the hotel with limited free space to run. And run he did. He must have covered the few square feet he had available to him a hundred times before I placed him in his next area of confinement, the Pack and Play crib.
The next morning went something like this: strapped into the car, the highchair at the restauraunt, the car, the stroller…and as we walked up to the zoo I realized this poor kid has had NO chance to run (but being that the number of carnivorous animals on the property exceeded the number of fleet-footed parents, it wasn’t really an option to just let the little heathen run wild). We set him free a few times (near the slow moving, vegetarian animals), and each time he tried to escape.
I realized that the poor kid needs some independance and that he would have gotten more out of the outing if he had been allowed more exercise. I also realize (yes, it’s selfish, but I never claimed I was otherwise) that he would have been WAY more tired and slept MUCH better if he had had the opportunity to walk the entire way (and maybe I would have gotten lucky in that hotel room–it’s really been a while since a hotel has paid out for me!).
So, I am now keeping an eye out for one of those toddler leashes, the one that looks like an animal backpack with a tail for the leash (that’s right, it’ll look like an animal is humping my toddler and I’m pulling it off by the tail!).
Oh, and while I’ve re-evaluated my stance on keeping a toddler on a leash at zoos and amusement parks, etc. I do still think that if you can’t carry your toddler through a store or mall, your just being a lazy-ass!