Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Best Mom Tip #150: Resist the urge to put your kid on a leash

I will admit that I have recently been fantasizing about putting my son on a leash.

That boy runs off every chance he gets. He always comes back, but it's like watching a cartoon--he runs as fast as he can, then creates a giant arc to run back toward me. He also laughs the entire time.

He hides in clothes racks at stores. He giggles as he runs headlong in a direction opposite that which he is facing. He runs into things a lot. He refuses to look at me when I call his name--my eyes are somehow his disobedience kryptonite. "I could run forever without guilt if only I could avoid Mommy's look."

I thought about just attaching one of those extendable dog leashes to the belt loops on his pants. I would probably be investigated by protective services, but at least I could focus on choosing produce at the grocery store without having to constantly look up to see if he has climbed the meat counter yet.

It turns out, however, that there is actually a rather large market for this kind of product. Based on my non-scientific study (which consists mostly of looking at people at Target), the most popular kid leashes look like a monkey.  You can see one on Target's website here: Monkey Backpack Harness

Technically, this is called a backpack harness, but the monkey's tail is attached to a long handle that the parent holds. Looks a lot like a leash. The particular one I have seen is made by Eddie Bauer and comes with pockets for toys or snacks. Not that your kid could reach them because they are on his back.

The thing that gets me the most about this item is that it is a monkey. How does no one see the irony of putting a literal monkey on your child's back? Every time I see it I hear George Michael singing, "why don't you do it, why don't you set your monkey free."

I have this image of my kid in therapy one day saying, "well, I knew I wanted to become the next Unabomber the day my mom saddled me with a monkey leash filled with goldfish crackers and apple juice. I. Just. Hated. That. Monkey."

If I could get past my aversion to harnessing children I think that I could make some money here. When my oldest was about 2 we used to joke that we needed to "run" her so that she would sleep at night. Probably other parents feel this way. I could get 6 or 7 monkey leashes, hook up the neighborhood kids, and walk them to the park. Sure, they might run around each other's legs and get the lines tangled up, but they would get fresh air and I could make a living as a kid walker.

I am resisting the urge. I'm going to continue to try to get my errant kid to actually listen to me and stay somewhere in my general vicinity without physical restraint. I think.

I mean, the monkey is cute, right?


  1. I guess at three he's a little too old to start wearing him in a sling! :) My Grace is nearly two and I still wear her nearly everywhere in public (not because she runs), but her church buddy is only one and they already have gone the leash route. I've tried holding that kid; it can't be done.

  2. I used to have all 3 girls in monkey leashes - er, backpacks - and Ty strapped to my front when I went to the mall with all four. (Please don't ask me why I took 4 kids under 4 to a mall. ALONE.) But to confirm your concerns, the kids did get tangled up a lot. So then I had them form a train, with each one holding a tail. This kept them from getting tangled up, but made me look like a seriously disturbed mom / kid-walker. So... I think your business plan might work. Just use the train method, but get used to the looks!

  3. Maybe I can just tie him to the stroller. Surely he'll outgrow this. I hope.

  4. I just discovered your blog - you are funny! I am a dad of two boys under two. With my oldest one (almost two) I have thought about the merits of a leash, but I'm like you - I just don't think we should leash the kids!