Of Wandering Toddlers and Harnesses
I never thought I’d be the type of dad who’d harness his kids. I’ll admit it. I always used to look at kids on a leash and think “Boy, does that look demeaning. What kind of parent would do that to their kid.” Now I know. The kind of a parent whose kid insists on wandering off!
Last week, JSL gave us a scare. We were in the mall picking up some photos. My in-laws had taken NHL with them to another store and B and I were watching JSL. When we were done, we started walking off. I let JSL stretch his legs and walk with us. He did well at first, but then I saw him duck between some clothes racks. I quickly went after him, but he was gone! B calmly noted that the coats were moving. There he was in the middle of the coats “playing hide and seek.”
Later that same day, as we were leaving the mall, I was getting coats on everyone. NHL and JSL were nearly all set. I zipped up NHL’s coat and off shot JSL away from us. I calmly called him back, but he didn’t listen. Then I walked after him. He went about twenty feet down the store, turned down an aisle, looped around, and was going to go down another aisle before I caught him. Clearly, had I not chased after him, we would have lost him completely.
NHL had always insisted on holding our hands when he began walking. This was likely a byproduct of his hypotonia causing balance issues. Holding our hand helped provide stabilization. Even if he took off on his own, he wasn’t too fast so we could easily grab him.
JSL, however, is a little power walker. Seriously, he swings his arms like he’s power-walking now. It’s amazing the speed he can get and how silently he can slip off. So I’m doing when I never thought I’d do and shopping for backpack harnesses.
So far, I have two in mind. The Eddie Bauer Harnes Buddy looks interesting and is kind of cute. On the other hand, the SafeFit Boy Backpack with Harness seems a bit more functional, if not as cute. Any suggestions for giving a little walker the freedom to walk without letting him get lost?