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Old 01-16-2013, 10:03 PM   #1
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jam's mum
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Toddlers on a leash

Since we're in the mood for controversy

I think having a toddler on a harness or a leash is completely fine, and my friends - who don't have kids - think it is absolutely disgusting, and were shocked. We went to a busy mall last Saturday, and had forgotten the Beco thingy; we went into a children's shop and asked if they had any of those back-packy harnessy things, and got a MAMMOTH lecture about it.

To my mind, a toddler on a leash has a lot more freedom than a toddler in a stroller or baby carrier, and I have an extra hand to do stuff with. So the concept of "restraint" doesn't make much sense to me.

The only thing I can think of to squick me out is, of course, that we walk dogs on leashes. But then I think - well, our cities and institutions are made to accommodate adult humans, not dogs or children. And while I think that public spaces should accommodate our youngest citizens more fully, right now they don't. The fact that we walk dogs on leashes is a testament to dogs' position in our society as companion animals in a world that isn't made for them - if there's a resemblance in the way that we treat dogs and children, it's a symptom of, an indictment of, the way that our public spaces are constructed. Not an indictment of the way that I think about my child.

And furthermore - as I wish I had said to the lady - a leash is an indicator of external control. If my daughter holds my hand uncomplainingly, that's an indicator of internal control. I find the concept of a toddler subordinating her own natural curiosity to the inscrutable intentions of her mother more worrying, frankly, than a toddler tethered.

Now you! Where do you stand?
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Mama to my sweetheart, Jamila (5/2011); wife to my mensch, Josh. Eleanor to you
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