Before the Peanut was born, I sat up here very haughtily on my high horse and silently castigated the parents that I would see on the streets. From my golden perch made of moral rectitude, I would point out all their many flaws and declare them as examples of the kind of parent that I would never become. Silently, I would witness their behavior and cast judgment on their erroneous actions.
I think you know I'm kidding. I think you also know that I'm hardly one to be judgmental. I've always thought people were better off minding their own business. Unfortunately, it's sad how rarely this occurs. Especially when it comes to parenting, I've always believed that there are many "correct" ways to raise a child. And if we're to believe that our children will become the sum total of their experiences, than I tend to also think we're not going to fuck them up too bad with our individual and multi-varied approaches.
But I will admit that one thing that always got me semi-riled up was seeing kids with leashes on them. Now don't get me wrong. You want to put handcuffs on your girlfriend or a dog collar on your husband, you go right ahead. This is America, people. Land of the free and home of the brave. But leashes on kids? Man, I always thought that was unduly obdurate behavior. The entire concept just seems so Abu Ghraib-ish.
Don't get me wrong. I can see the chain of events and dialectic reasoning that could lead one to believe that it's perfectly logical and acceptable to leash ones kid. You see, my little 9-month old daughter, the Peanut, has proved to be an amazingly fast crawler. Extraordinary, considering the fact that she just learned how to crawl a few weeks ago. Now? Not only can she crawl but she can stand herself up and, with the help of furniture, can walk around the living room. We're only slightly exaggerating when we say that we're terrified that she's going to be able to walk by herself within the next few weeks. But my point is that, right now, she's like a little kitten on steroids. Turn your back for a second...and she's gone! The adjustment has been tough for me and the BossLady.
A few days ago, the Peanut was by my side as I was washing some of her bottles in the sink. I look up a second later, only to see her putting dog food in her mouth and splashing the water from our dog's water bowl.
Yesterday, I put her on the floor to go get her bib. I think I turned my back on her for literally 10 seconds. Next thing I know, she's crawled about 20 feet over to the living room and pulled down a stack of DVDs.
So yeah. On the one hand, I could probably child-proof my entire existence. Or, on the other hand, I could just put a leash on her. But I'm afraid that this type of reasoning could lead too far. What's next? Crate-training? Electronic collars? Halters? Exercise pens? Muzzles? Choker chains?
We live in a dangerous world, my friends. Kids run into traffic, get abducted or fall down wells every day. So I understand and empathize with any parent's concerns in regard to his/her child's safety. If anything, ensuring our child's safety and well-being should be any parent's paramount concern. But, in MY opinion, leashing my kid just doesn't feel right. It feels cruel and barbaric. And I don't like the implications of it. So for now, if I need to employ extreme diligence and concentration in order to keep a constant eye on my daughter, that's what I'm going to do.
But, having been a father for only 9 months, I have yet to experience the stress of chasing after a 4-year old Tasmanian devil. So who knows? In a few years, it wouldn't be beyond the realm of my imagination to see me at Prada, inquiring whether they make child leashes in black suede. As always, when it comes to parenting, I reserve the right to change my mind at any given moment.
But I'm curious, internet. What do you think? Am I being naive in thinking that leashing a kid is somewhat bizarre behavior? Will I change my mind in a few years? Do you leash your kids? How do the kids feel about them? Does the dog get confused? Let's hear it, folks. We haven't had a good old-fashioned, hash-it-out melee since that whole spanking debate. Let's bring it on.