Thursday, April 14, 2011

Why I... Use a Toddler Leash

Vanderbilt Wife has started a new carnival called Why I. I love to explain why I do the things I do, so here goes. In my latest issue of Parents magazine, their etiquette guru, "Judy on Duty" states (apropos of nothing, just a little bonus blurb):
"Leashes are for dogs, not kids. You wouldn't put your child in a crate, or let him poop on the sidewalk, right? If you have a bolter, invest in a cheap umbrella stroller with a buckle."

So this is for "Judy"--why I use a toddler leash. Once upon a time, T was a super awesome shopper. I'd strap her into the umbrella stroller or plop her in the cart and she was a happy camper. {Okay, so I had to give her something new to play with every 5 seconds, but we managed.} Then one day (3 or 4 weeks ago?), we arrived in Target and she didn't want to go in the cart. Always one to pick my battles, I thought Okay, let's give this a try. So I let her walk around with me. Mostly it was okay, but checkout was kind of a nightmare. I was trying to both watch her and pay at the same time, and failing at both.

The next time I went shopping, I was determined to do it my way. She protested going in the cart, but I put her in anyway. And she threw a big fit. And kept throwing the fit. Standing in the cart, wailing, crying, loudly. This particular day, I was shopping for a lamp. We were in the lamp aisle for a long time (still with the tantrum-throwing) so I thought I'll just take her out while we're in this aisle. Again, nightmare, she wouldn't stay in the aisle, she kept wandering off, not conducive to, you know, choosing a lamp.

The next time I went shopping, I tried putting her in the stroller. Big protest. This time my son was with me and I thought, He can hold her hand. Long story short, I'm in the toddler clothes section and T bolts away, L running after her, and I had to leave my cart, including my purse {causing heart palpitations as a native Chicagoan} in the clothes section while I run my pathetic mommy-run halfway through the store to catch up with them.


Now when I shop, T looks like this (except, you know, she's a girl):
And she loves her "monkey" (technically it's a bear, not sure why we call it "monkey") and we survive shopping. She is safe (and not throwing a tantrum) and I am sane (because she is safe and not throwing a tantrum). I think that is a win all around.

But that darn "Judy" is in my head making me feel like a bad mother and I'm paranoid that other moms around me are "tsk-tsking" in their heads. {For the record, I've yet to receive a negative comment. There have been some stares, but a couple "cute" comments (and T is darling) and one older woman said it was a great invention for keeping kids from running off. Thank you, ma'am, you made my day!}

I am angry that "Judy's" judgmental blurb made it past Parents' editors. She must have a really great life that everything always goes as planned. I bought the toddler leash for L to use in airports and zoos, not for T to use on an everyday trip to Safeway, but my life doesn't ever go as planned. And I improvise. So sue me.

Ah, thank you Vanderbilt Wife, for helping me get that off my chest. You can check out and join the carnival here.

Have you ever used a toddler leash?


VanderbiltWife said...

My mom bought me a "toddler leash" to use in the airport. We are definitely planning on taking it to Disney this summer!! I totally understand because Libbie often throws tantrums about being in the cart, too. No judging from this peanut gallery.

Erin said...

I totally support you! As a munchkin, I was a complete scaredy cat. But my family (and me too!) loved to go to fairs and circuses and theme parks. My parents thought it was the height of cruelty to make a child walk around all day with their arm above their head to hold Mommy/Daddy's hand, so we used leashes. I actually had a super cool leash that went from a parent's hand to mine and was stretchy like a phone cord. It made me feel secure, and made my parents feel secure too!

Kacie said...

No judging here, either! You do what you gotta do.

Would those tsk-tsking people rather your kid run wild or hurt herself or bug other people?

Some kids are just wired differently and it is NOT the parent's fault.

I am told that I would stay with my parents well, and I got scared if I stopped to look at something and they had kept moving.

My little sister was a bolter. My dad remembers chasing after her at Home Depot and he jumped over palettes and miscellany to grab her before she could hurt herself.

Some kids are just like that!

Hopefully no one will bug you about it.

Tricia said...

As with all parenting related items, you choose what works best for you and your family. I stopped going to the store a long time because my toddler refused to sit in the cart after having the freedom to roam when dad took her to the store. Now she does a great job following directions, but shopping takes twice as long. I am sure once our next child is old enough to protest the cart, I will be using a child leash. There are just too many scary stories out there.

Miranda said...

Do what right for your family! We live in an amazing, small town where I feel totally safe. I mean it's so tiny, we don't lock our doors when we go inside to shop. My daughter still does pretty good in the cart and if she doesn't want to, I let her walk beside me but I keep a close eye, nonetheless.

Sarah @ Loved Like the Church said...

I've never used a toddler leash but wouldn't hesitate in a minute. So far my girls stay pretty close or bit eh cart/stroller.

I will say, before I had kids I thought the idea of a leash was ridiculous and that the parents were just "bad parents". Then I joined the real world. And now I've discovered that of a leash will keep my 22 month old from dashing out the store while I'm checking out, then a leash it will be. So I wonder if Judy is one of those "experts" without kids. After all, I was an expert before kids too. Haha! :)

And last thing - my mom has 6 kids. She totally used a leash on my older brother. That was 30+ years ago.

Kassie said...

Whatever works best for your family! I would totally use one if the occasion called for it. My mom still tells me stories of when I'd run off in a store and be lost for a half hour or so..I can't even imagine.

April said...

I have been known to use one in certain situations, too. Their safety is more important than what anyone thinks!

sandi said...

YES, we have used one! we have three children and my husband is tall (6'5") so for a young child to hold his hand for any length of time is difficult. last year it was used while we were in disney... not really fair to make the youngest sit in a stroller all day.