Chances are, if you're reading this, you have a strong opinion on child leashes. In my experience, I've found most parents can be classified into one of two categories: pro-leash parents, who have found that leashing their wandering offspring in public keeps them sane, and their children safe and secure. These parents have given a collective middle finger to the rest of parental population and their looks of shame.
The second group, the anti-leash coalition, can be further subdivided into two groups, those who were leashed kids themselves and have experienced some resulting childhood trauma and friends of these traumatized adults who have heard the tales of horror and embarrassment.
I can remember the Velcro bracelet my mom wrapped around my wrist that tethered us together with a rainbow-colored phone cord. My mom was perpetually terrified of everything, especially stranger danger. Kidnappers lurked in the most conspicuous places (because apparently, back then everyone wanted to kidnap a snot-nosed little brat). Halloween candy had to be double and triple checked for needle holes ensure they hadn't been drugged by an addict looking to share his stash with a town of unwitting kids. The snow cone maker I asked Santa for when I was 5 - I finally got it when I was 14. FOURTEEN! I didn't care about making snow cones then, I was more interested in boys, drinking wine coolers, smoking cigarettes in the locker room and everything else I shouldn't have been getting into. Perhaps my mom cut that leash a little too soon.
So in light of my own experiences, I say leash your kids 'til they're college bound! You may get some disapproving looks from those who 'know better', but at least you know your kid isn't trying to set the neighbor's house on fire. So when 16 and pregnant comes knocking on your door asking for your son, you can confidently say with a smile, "Wasn't my boy. He's on an eight-foot leash."
I would love to one day meet and buy the mastermind behind the child leash a beer to thank him or her for saving my sanity, and the sanity of all the other pro-leash parents of toddler delinquents. I recently took the kids to the Camden Children's Garden. Before we left, I found myself wondering how I would safely navigate a toddler and an infant through the streets of Camden. We have a baby carrier, but baby girl has been entirely too pukey for me to confidently store her vomit cannon within inches of my face for two hours. I'd be playing with fire. So I busted out the child leash that I found in Target. No more coiled plastic dragging behind me on the floor, no more velcro, no more rainbows. Just a monkey and his furry tail. And Mr. Baby Monkey has my son Danny on lock down. If he were to break away from me and run full speed ahead toward the ghetto of Camden, Mr. Baby Monkey would stop him right in his tracks. No crystal meth for this toddler, thank you.
Danny loves this monkey so much, sometimes I'll put it on him in the house just for laughs. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that he loves it just as much 15 years from now. I kid, I kid. I wouldn't force the boy to wear a monkey on his back when he's 16. What kind of parent would I be??? I'm sure we'll have GPS by then.
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