As a woman who is not yet a mother, but hopes to one day raise my own small village of children, there are a few inner vows that I have declared over my not-so-soon-approaching motherhood.
One is that I can never possibly drive a minivan. Growing up, my mom swore by her blue Dodge Caravan, and I used to hate everything about it. That isuntil I spent the majority of my high school and college years hauling kids that I nannied in and out of vehicles. Now, a minivan is the only vehicle I plan to haul the little Lamm babies around in.
Another thing Ive always sworn I would never do is put my child on a leash. But after reading Clint Edwards post about his daughter Aspens backpackI may have been persuaded.
The daddy-blogger of No Idea What Im Doing shared a photo two weeks ago of his daughter, on a leash, at the farmers market. And you dont have to tell him, Clint already knows that he immediately became THAT parent.
We were at the farmers market. No shame. I put this kid on a leash.
Clint says the three-foot piece of nylon material has already kept Aspen from running out into the road, and prevented her from sticking her hand inside an ice cream machine. Beyond both of those safety measures though, its kept Clint and his wife sane.
The real difficulty with having a wild child is that you are damned if you do, and damned if you dont. Because the fact is, if I didnt put Aspen on a leash while at amusement parks, the zoo, a crowded mall, or the farmers market, shed be the lost child announced over the intercom. Shed be the kid popping up in every Facebook feed for wandering into a shopping center parking lot, unattended. She could be the child climbing into the tiger cage. Because I cant, for the life of me, keep her from moving.
And he says he doesnt want to. Aspens curiosity is one that most adults envybeing so excited about everything in the world around you is an innocence that many wish they still had. The trouble with her curiosity, though, is that it makes parenting much more difficult.
Her curiosity is incredible, and for only having a 12 inch stride, she moves faster than any Olympian.
Clint acknowledges that hes aware of the smirks and comments and dirty looks from strangers. But he says theres only one thing he cares aboutand its not the opinion of others.
Im keep [sic] this kid safe while maintaining my piece of mind, and that is 100% worth it. Because the reality is shell calm down. Shell figure it out, because all kids do. But until that day comes, Im going to do whatever I can to keep her out of danger, even if it means a leash.
Aspen calls the leash her backpack, and has never fussed about putting it on. Not only does it protect her from dangers that her curiosity might lead to, but it also keeps her body safe. Aspen is prone to nursemaids elbow, which is when a toddlers elbow actually dislocates when yanked by an adult trying to keep them from wandering off.
The backpack is keeping her safe, and still giving her the freedom to be curious within the parents comfortable parameters. Experts say that the leash is a great way to control the childs environment, rather than controlling the child.
Its one of those things that a lot of parents say theyre never going to do until they have an active kid, so they go for it, Clint says.
To those who take it upon themselves to judge another parents decision to use a leash, Clint has just a simple message:
If you see somebody using something like that, its for a good reason. Dont make assumptions. Im their parent; I know this child well enough to know that I need this. So trust us.
If a child-leash company isnt already paying Clint Edwards for endorsements, they should get on that ASAP!
But in all seriousness, his post is an awesome reminder that its nobody elses place to judge anothersparenting.
As for my small villageI may just be investing in a few backpacks one day.
Never say never, right?
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