Sunday, June 9, 2013

Leashes and Tazmanian Devils and Why These Go Together...

You know, it's a nice perk when the town in conjunction with the school district offers free lunches during the summer! It's a chance to get the kids out of the house, it's free (not for adults - but that's okay), and it keeps us Moms from having to make anything. I like that, because I like a clean kitchen.

That said, if they're holding district wide summer school at the elementary school where you can also go for lunch (well, at least for K-8 Summer classes...I don't know about High School), your toddler poses a risk to the well being and peaceful learning environment. 

I'm in the cafeteria Thursday with the boys (Mikelle is in Idaho and Wyoming having bonding time with her Grammy, Aunts, Uncle and 5 younger cousins...) and X-man grabs a pencil out of my purse and started running. Well, that's a sharp object and if he fell, that can be bad news. However, the more you pursue him, the more he runs. 

Yeah, look at that face. You know he knows better!
It's such a game for that little turd - I mean, sweetheart.
So I casually started to follow him hoping to cut him off at one of his turns. That technique works most of the time. However, this time he ran out of the cafeteria instead of turning and took off down the hallway where the classrooms were. I picked up my pace, but not before he darted into a classroom with 7th Graders, takes a football that's sitting by the door, and takes off again down the hall.

I'm sure the 7th graders just loved the interruption and baby drama, but I doubt the teacher did. I apologized and returned the football promptly despite X-man's loud objections to the contrary.

So the following day, instead of going for the free lunch, the boys and I went to McDonalds. The play area was more contained! 

Similar to this Monkey
It looks like I may have to use the cute Monkey backpack "leash" for X-man next time we're at the school. 

Sure, there's the arrogant and holier-than-thou "leash haters" and those that judge and look down their noses at us "leash parents". These people equate the use of leashes as the same as dog leashes. They call parents who use them stupid and even abusive.  They claim leashes are because parents are too lazy to hold the kids' hand. 

They clearly don't get it.

They also never had children that did what Christian did at age 2, and what Alexander now does. And anyone that has seen first hand my boys in action in their toddlerhood knows exactly what I'm talking about!

If these holier-than-thous did experience the toddlers that I have been blessed with, they would change their tune real quick! 

A lot of arguments I also hear are: "My kid never needed one of those."

Well, good for you! Is your kid the symbol of all kids? No. They're all different. We didn't need one for Mikelle either! But we did with her brothers.  To say, "My kid never needed one of those," is as stupid as saying to a parent, "Why is your kid wearing glasses? My kid doesn't need them." 

 Sounds stupid, doesn't it?

We purchased a leash for Christian when he was two years old the same day we lost him at the Renaissance Festival for a few minutes (more than five, I think).  It was terrifying. Earlier that day when he bolted, we nearly lost him but he ran smack into a older child and that stopped his momentum.  (I was grateful the other kid was there to get in Christian's way. The other kid wasn't hurt, but his mother must have eaten too much Meow Mix that morning). 

However, later, Christian did it again and it was really scary until we found him! 

What? You weren't watching him?  
Yes. And we were watching him as he took off, as we went after him and as he disappeared into a crowd. 
May 2006 - when Christian was 2. Just a few months younger than X-man is now.

And the leash turned out to be a behavior changer for Christian, because he hated that thing so much, we only had to use it about 4 or 5 times after that. Just the mere threat of bringing out the leash shifted Christian's behavior. 

Take that, leash criticizers! It helped him make better behavior choices. 

Leash Boy 1 - Age 2
Leash Boy 2 - Age 2

Alexander is even more dramatic with the leash. He flops down, plays dead and refuses to move because of the leash (and when I say refuse to move, it  includes "walking"). Well, too bad. If he's going to play games like he did in the cafeteria Thursday, he's wearing the Monkey! 

Sure, what happened Thursday wasn't exactly a safety concern in the technical sense (except for the pencil in his hand) compared to when Christian terrified us at the Renaissance Festival. But Alexander is constantly running around. When we were sitting and eating, he wants to jump on the table, or forget that it's time to eat and just run. This leash inclusion will hopefully be a similar behavior modification as it was with his brother, because I know Alexander knows better. Like I said above, it's all a game to him. 

Wish me luck! And those that want to criticize me for using a leash, I invite you along one of my outings with Alexander that includes trying to sit and eat.

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