Bug Walks and Harnesses

Yesterday my mom and I were in Old Navy doing a little shopping.  Normally, I hate Old Navy.  I promise it’s not because I’m a clothing snob.  90% of my wardrobe comes from a mixture of Sam’s Club, Target (not the cute stuff) and The Good One’s school fundraisers.

As you can imagine, I’m quite snazzy.

While at Old Navy, I found these pants and shorts that are easily the most comfortable things I’ve ever worn.  They have a wide elastic waistband and when you put them on, it feels like heaven is caressing your butt.  So if you can get past the fact that you’re now sporting elastic-waisted pants that are likely incredibly popular with the retirement village crowd, you will thank me for helping you find the most comfortable clothing ever made.

So, as usual, that is not even a little bit related to the point of my story.

While in Old Navy I got a phone call from The Beast’s preschool.  I always get a knot in the pit of my stomach when they call because I figure one of a few things has happened:

1.  They lost him.  This has actually happened.  They eventually found him hiding under a table eating one of his classmate’s cookies.

2.  He escaped out of the window.  This has also happened.  His classroom, thank God, is on the first floor of the building.  His teachers had the window open because it was such a beautiful day.  He, being an evil genius, saw the escape route, climbed a bookcase and was out the window before his teachers realized what had happened.  Fortunately he was quickly apprehended and returned to his class.  I kind of expect this to happen again in the future but instead of a preschool it’ll be a jail, and instead of teachers finding him it’ll be prison guards.

Same difference.

3.  He’s run away from the playground and jumped into the lake.  This has NOT happened, but I figure it’s only a matter of time.

Well, his teacher called to tell me that they were going to take a bug walk and they were concerned about him running away from them because of his nearly superhuman speed and his desire to perpetrate all manner of evil.  Honestly, The Beast alone in the woods could mean forest fires.  You really never know.

His one teacher told me that The Beast’s other teacher had a backpack harness and they wanted to know if they could put the harness on The Beast so that he didn’t run away from them near the lake.

Now, I have no idea how you feel about harnesses/leashes.  Before The Beast I was very anti-harness.  It thought it looked funny and I didn’t understand how parents couldn’t just force their child to stay with them.  I threw about phrases like “Children aren’t animals” and “That’s inhumane.”

Karma, being the psychotic bitch that she is, remembered these statements of judgment and decided to bludgeon me with them.

So, I adopted The Beast and realized that sometimes, even if you’re the most awesome mom on the earth (if you discount the heavy reliance on tequila and the desire to smack your child in the head with heavy cookware), you cannot make your children listen to you.

Virginia Slims Man and I talked about harnesses and leashes, and I just can’t bring myself to buy one.  I am not judging you if you use a harness.  I WAS judging you about 4 years ago, but now I get it.  And honestly, if toddler shock collars were legal, I’d be all up in that business.

I told The Beast’s teacher that she could put a harness on The Beast so that he didn’t kill himself in the lake or start a forest fire.  I’d rather pick him up from school alive than dead.  And since I have no idea how fast his teachers can sprint, I didn’t trust that they’d be able to catch him if he decided to go for a swim.

My mom and I got a big kick out of imagining The Beast with a backpack harness.

Way back when I liked my pets and didn’t fantasize about them being carried off by large birds of prey, I had this dog.  Her name was Scout and she was a sweet dog, but she had this penchant for running away from us when we’d go for walks, so we’d put her on a leash.  The instant that leash was attached to her collar, she’d throw herself on the ground, roll onto her back and become a large, fluffy, white sack of cement.

You could not get her to stand up for anything.  She would let you drag her around by her neck, but under no circumstances was she going to condone this humiliating ritual of control by walking while being attached to a leash.

I kind of expected The Beast to be like this.

When I picked him up at the end of the day, I asked his teacher how the walk went and she said that the other teacher was only kidding about having a harness.  So I asked the other teacher and she said, “I would never put harness on him.  I just told him he had to hold my hand and he did fine.”

So I still don’t know how The Beast would do with a harness.

As we were walking to the van, we walked by a mom who was getting her twins out of her car.  They were about 18 months old, and low and behold, they each had a harness.  The little girl twin sported her harness proudly, like it was a designer purse.

The boy twin screamed like he was being assaulted, threw himself on the grass and became a sack of cement.  He absolutely refused to stand up with this leash attached to his cute little monkey backpack.  His mom tried to drag him by the backpack but he just screamed louder.  She eventually picked him up and carried him into the school.

So I think I’ve decided against a harness for The Beast, because as bizarre as it looks to see a kid walking while attached to a leash, it looks even weirder to see a kid being dragged by a leash.

And I feel relatively confident that The Beast would be a dragger.

22 thoughts on “Bug Walks and Harnesses

  1. My now 23 year old cousin was much like The Beast and after having him hide in a mall and run into traffic, my aunt finally gave in and got a harness. He never really minded it and it is probably a big part of the reasoin he is alive today. but hoo-boy did she get abuse from strangers. She would normally respond to the “you are treating him like a dog” comments with “At least I know my dog will be going home with me,” but eventually she juist barked at people when they said that. It worked and they went away.

  2. I don’t see any problems with them, it might be a way to begin to teach him that he can’t run away from you because, quite simply, he IS NOT ABLE to run away from you with one on. I used one briefly when my son was in the “I don’t want to ride in the stroller” stage, but before he was old enough to understand that he has to stay with me. They have all sorts of fun ones now, with characters and stuffed animals and stuff on them, you never know. I say it can’t hurt to try.

    • Okay. I’m seriously reconsidering and I might try the harness. Maybe he’d be less of a dragger if he realized that he could walk without holding hands. He HATES holding hands. I mentioned this in someone else’s comment, that I should get one that I could attach to my own backpack, then I’d have two free hands and instead of it looking like I’m walking my child, it would look like we’re walking each other. 🙂

      • You know, in all seriousness, someone commented below about using a dog leash. At first I thought that sounded kinda strange, but if you got a longer one, here’s what I’m thinking: You could wrap it around your waist, like in your beltloops, then put it back through the handle part (the part you hold if you were actually walking a dog). Then clip it to his backpack, or his back beltloop- the one he CAN’T reach! lol. He’d be anchored enough by your waist that you would be able to feel him tugging, but you’d have both hands free. This would probably even work at The Good One’s games- with one of those really long ones, he’d have the freedom to run just a little bit, but couldn’t make his halftime show debut in the middle of the field!!

  3. I’m pretty sure my cousin wouldn’t be alive today if it weren’t for his mom putting a harness on him. I swear you could be looking at him and he’d disappear in front of your eyes. She decided she’d rather be that mom that everyone judged because of the leash, than judged because her son got hit by a car. He’s in the Army now. Probably heavily camouflaged.

    • See, that is what I’ve learned. Sometimes, for their own safety, you must just deal with the looks of other parents. I’m learning that more every day. I’m not going to be surprised if The Beast ends up on a harness before too long. He’s wanting to take walks on the street with me, and I just don’t trust him to not dart out in front of a car. And he’s not a good hand-holder.

  4. I am considering a leash — excuse me, a harnessed backpack — for my son (17 months old) because I only have two hands, but I have three children. The 5yo used to be a flight risk, but she’s matured. I would actually trust her to walk her sibling.

    • See, I would not judge you one bit for the lease/harness. I told The Beast’s teacher that I want a children’s backpack harness that attaches to my backpack, then I’d have two free hands and no need to carry a purse.

  5. As humiliating as it sounds, it is actaully liberating for the child. They get both hands. They get to walk at their own pace, they get to explore the word in a 4 foot radius without much supervision. I am all for them.

  6. I never needed to use a harness with my older 2 kids until my son came along. I have the plush monkey backpack looking one. He’s now 5 yrs old and hasn’t used it for 2 years but it was a good buy. It kept him safe and gave him a little bit of freedom. Not one person (that I know of) ever said anything negative to me about him wearing it. They actually thought he looked rather cute with his monkey backpack. Even when he’d drop like cement in protest. 🙂 I still have it and will consider using it with our youngest.

  7. My boys are now 15 and 17 and I wish they had a leash for cars! If only I could be certain my oldest could only drive in the radius of 3 miles surrounding my house, within a certain speed limit, without texting or looking at his phone – I’d be a much calmer and less stressed out mom 🙂 Alas, I have to believe he follows my rules (yeah, right!).

  8. I, too, am sort of disappointed that the Beast didn’t get a leash. I used to be a judger on leashes too, but I think that my judgment days are over. Sigh. Those wonderful days when I felt good about myself and could judge freely.

  9. Use the Beast’s desire to be an animal and make it work for you. My daughter wanted to be a dog. She named her dog self “Rosie”. I LOVED ROSIE! Rosie was obedient and when you said “sit” she sat. When you said “Come” she came. All I had to do was call her by her dog name and suddenly she listened! Her back leg even shook when you rubbed her tummy!
    All this to say, let him pick out his animal name and whether dog or vicious beast (they need to be tethered too) make it a game. Make sure you practice his animal tricks at home without a leash. If you have a dog leash they clip quite nicely to belt loops and overalls.

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