Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Next thing you know... I'll be using Flea Shampoo on him....

I loved all the harness comments. I’ve really been thinking about it and here is what I’ve come up with…

1. Yes, of course, it is about Sweet Boy’s safety. But it isn’t ALL about his safety. It is also about convenience for me. I admit it. I hate fighting with him to stay in the stroller when he really wants to stand behind the stroller and push it. I’d rather let him push the stroller but know he is connected to me in case he starts to wander away.

2. Sweet Boy doesn’t like to hold hands in public places. (Just like a man, I know.) He views hand-holding as an excellent reason to throw himself towards the earth. Call it an experiment in physics and gravity. Very educational, yes, but it might be difficult to explain the dislocated shoulder (really, he throws himself at the ground so dramatically) to the ER attending as a science project. And, again with the selfish mommy thing…. I’m tall. He’s short. Trying to hold his hand for long periods of time is uncomfortable for both of us.

3. I don’t buy the whole “it is demeaning to treat your child like a dog” theory. For one thing, my dog is treated like royalty. He has nicer toys, better treats and fancier shampoo than any other member of the family. Issues of manners, control and restraint are for his safety and happiness…. I’m ok with applying that theory to my child too.

4. And if you really want to make that point…. Criticize me when my child is eating dog food, chasing cats & playing in the dog waterer.

5. Note that he responds to the commands sit, stay and foot, please.

6. Am I ready to handle the stares, comments and criticisms of perfect strangers? Back to dog analogies…this is a long one….. when Gunnar was a young dog I lived in Boulder, Colorado. (PC capitol of the world) Gunnar is half Jack Russell terrier which means he has a strong neck designed for shaking rats to death. This means taking him on a leash and expecting him to be responsive to normal “collar rules” is unreasonable so I bought a “haltee” dog halter. It looks kinda like a tiny horse halter and works by tipping the dog’s nose down when you pull on it rather than by trying to restrain them from the neck. Neat. Works like a charm. No more sore arms from sawing on Gunnar’s neck trying to get him to heel. No more listening to him make choking, wheezing sounds while he tries to drag me along. (The dog thought I was the slowest human on earth and that he was doing me a favor by dragging me places.) The haltee has some other unintended but interesting results…. People wouldn’t let children come up to my dog because they thought it was a muzzle. Anyone who criticized me for muzzling my dog or for taking a dog who required a muzzle to a public place was told that, indeed, the dog could still bite them…. Get a little closer and test the theory out. It didn’t really bother me because I think people should in general assume a strange dog will bite their child and proceed accordingly. I was more than happy to explain the contraption was actually very humane to anyone who seemed genuinely concerned for Gunnar’s welfare. I can’t count the number of times I had to show concerned but unobservant individuals that, yes, the dog can actually pant & drink while wearing the haltee. Just another example of how being a dog owner prepared me for parenthood.

7. I hate to brag (oh, you know I’m lying…) but the kid is advanced…..well, he’s physically advanced. The prehensile lizard brain…the one that has all the preservation instincts…. It isn’t so well developed. He loves to run. Playing “chase” is a fun game and Sweet Boy doesn’t understand the concept of “dangerous” places yet and, honestly, I’m in no rush for him to learn that lesson.

8. It doubles as a backpack. That means he can carry his own snacks & sippy cup & sunscreen stick. How cool is that?? I promise right now to not let it become my purse…. I vow I will not put my wallet, lip gloss or sunglasses in Sweet Boy’s backpack.

9. I’ve really been thinking about appropriate situations for child restraint. I don’t plan on tethering him to the clothes line any time soon… although radiator installation plans are in the works so I will have something to chain him too when he is a teenager. I don’t think a leash is a replacement for proper supervision… but I do think it might work out the next time we are in a large crowded place.

10. Hello?!?! Where's the hate? Surely someone has something negative to say? Come on. Bring it. I need to hear the criticism as well as the support. Although, of course, if you present the criticism in a nasty manner I promise to be nasty right back.... it will be fun.


McSwain said...

I don't know about you, but I get REALLY dirty looks when the Sweetie Pie goes running down the aisle in the grocery store, nearly knocking over old ladies and putting his little hands everywhere they don't belong. And I got NASTY looks when I used to put him in the cart and he'd howl and cry all the way through the store. At least if you have a leash YOU'RE happy, and so is Sweet Boy. You can't please all of the people all of the time, so you might as well please yourself.

Sorry, I have nothing hateful to say.

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Susan said...

Do it. You have good reasons. And you have reminded me of all the hundreds of times that Henry bolted when he was Sweet Boy's age--I think he took a decade off my life.

And those people who will criticize you for wanting to keep your child safe and yourself sane? Bite me.

Oh, is this a family blog? Sorry.

No hate for the Homestead, please!

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SierraBella said...

No criticism here either.
No matter what you do with your children in public, there will be onlookers with opinions.
I see you had to resort to the word verification... me too.

M&Co. said...

I uploaded this just for you. I think he looks exactly like a pointer.

LadyBug said...

Okay, first of all, you totally cracked me up, overanalyzing, listing your reasons for using the harness. You are too cute.

Secondly, as I said before, I used a harness or wrist-leash with both of my girls, and I NEVER got one negative comment from ANYONE. In fact, the only comments I ever got were positive, such as older folks saying, "Boy, I wish we'd had something like that when OUR kids were little!" I think most people - especially those who have children - understand that the harness is about the SAFETY of the child, as well as the SANITY of the parents and the general public.

Lastly, your post about the harness reminded me that I needed to pick one up for Big Boy, now that he's walkingwalkingwalking everywhere, and no longer wants to be held or pushed in the shopping cart. (And he USED TO do the pushing-the-shopping-cart thing, but now he's figured out that hey! He can just WALK AWAY from the basket. And Mom will CHASE HIM! And hey! That is SO FREAKING FUN.)
The harness we had for the girls was a lovely shade of PINK, so I gave it to someone who had a girl toddler (who needed a leash more than any other kid I've ever seen. This was my way of dropping a gentle hint, without actually, you know, saying, "Hey, tie your damn kid up already!" And yes, I know that sounded really ugly, but you'd just have to know the kid.)
So, anyway, WTF was my point? Oh! Big Boy and I were shopping yesterday, and all I could find was a stupid Elmo harness, and Elmo freaking drives me insane, but I thought, hey, I'll just get it anyway, because we need SOMETHING. And then I looked down and THERE IT WAS. The cute little plush-toy-backpack-harness thing! It had to have been just like what you're talking about. They had a puppy and a monkey. Big Boy liked the monkey the best, so I got that one. It's SO DARN CUTE! And such an adorable alternative to the nylon harnesses. I strapped it on him at the house yesterday (without the leash), and it didn't seem to bother him one bit. Now we'll just have to see how he likes it when I've got the leash attached, and he's trying to run off!

Of course, the only problem now is, how do I stop myself from making jokes like, don't you just hate it when you feel like you've got a monkey on your back?

Oh, and, is this the longest. comment. ever. or what?

sarah lz said...

You know, it's really what's going to work for the two of you. I'm learning this: I've really got to create the ideas and opinions that my family and I are going to be ok with. (As long as no one finds out that we're ok with the kids being in the dog kennel while we take a break from them.) Lots of mixed comments from people when my Babe is on the leash. "Oh my God, is that a leash?!" "Where did you get that? I NEED one!" "I think it's great you can do that, I wish I could." I don't know, leashes work. I just have to remember that there will be times when I pull up on it and tell him to "heel" and that he won't always obey and there will be those people who will look at me with disdain because my child isn't trained like there's.

Homestead said...

Cheryl- Sweet Boy likes to STAND UP in the cart. And don't tell me to strap him in... he IS strapped in. He's such a little snake-body he can just stand up anyway.

Susan- A family blog? Does that mean I'm getting a time out for titling more than half my posts with profanity?

SB- I have to remember to tell the story of when I was pregnant (for Halloween) and the opinions I heard while drinking and smoking in a bar.... Um, does the fact that it is Halloween and I'm wearing a bathrobe and have a fake black eye, hair curlers & a pack of Misty Ultra Lites on the bar not clue you in? It's a COSTUME.... not a very pc or good one, but a costume.)

m&co.- He is so CUTE... it hurts.

LadyBug- Yeah, yeah, that's the one. We can't get the monkey one because of Hot Stuff's aversion to monkies.... And if you think I over-analyzed this one you should have seen the inner monologue and debate over putting him in water wings at the pool.

Sarah lz- Is a kennel really all that different from an exersaucer? I just hate it when my dog is better behaved than my son. And what do you mean your child doesn't heel? Have you tried the shock collar?

mrtl said...

Get your dog leash and go out ready for a fight. lol

I did the same thing, though I haven't used Bug's in months. No one has ever said a word to me about it. It's also a secondary thing (she must hold my hand or hold onto the cart/stroller). The harness is more for moments like at the register, when she most loves to get that devilish look in her eye and run around and "hide."

I don't know what happened to my link to your blog. You commented today, and I'm all like -- huh - don't recall reading anything there! Gah!