I have a harness for Talia, though I've only ever used it twice, in airports. Honestly, she got such a big kick out of it. It's a leather harness with bells - I think it was intended as a toy, but I loved it when I saw it at a toystore so I bought it.
I very rarely see anybody using leashes, either the wrist kind or the harness kind. So, maybe they're not so appalling to me because I haven't seen them abused.
Originally Posted by DestinysMama
If we're crossing the street though she has to hold my hand. Carrying your child all the time is stifling? Do you really belong on this board if you believe that?
Oh, please, did this really have to degenerate into insults?
Yes, carrying a child who doesn't want to be carried all the time can be stifling. How is it AP to force a toddler who wants to be down exploring to be carried? Sometimes that may be neccisary, but in what way is it respectful of the child's needs and desires? AP is about respecting a child's needs. For a baby, that means keeping baby close as much as possible. Thus, slinging instead of using strollers and other devices. But, a 2 or 3 year old doesn't *want* or *need* to be attached to Mom's body 100% of the time, and it's hardly respectful to force that.
And, in the case of many toddlers, how is it reasonably comfortable? I occasionally sling my 35 pound three year old to keep her from running off on me. She sometimes enjoys it... and other times she fights the idea of being carried. It's hard enough on my back to carry/sling her when she's complacent. When she doesn't want to be up, there's little chance of my keeping her up there. And most of my friends consider me to be a workhorse for slinging her in the first place. I don't think most people could sling/carry a 35 pound toddler for, say, 1/2 mile from the ticket counter to the gate at an airport, or four blocks from the car to the museum, or all the way through the grocery store. I certainly don't think most of us could keep up a 45 pound 4 year old like that.
If your toddler is happy being carried all the time, lucky you. Mine isn't. She is too free spirited. And it's awfully difficult to carry a baby in a sling and a diaper bag on my back while carrying a 3 year old. Add in a car seat and another carry on bag loaded onto a luggage dolly in an airport, and the fact that the 3 year old wants to check out every giift shop in the concourse and go rip open the sugar packets at the tables in the Starbucks, and suddenly travelling with that three year old is vaguely reminiscent of many old Hollywood farces.
Talia was happy with the harness - she loved making the bells jingle. She liked that she could explore, and I liked that I could keep her within a few feet of me. I liked that I didn't have to literally chase her and pray that eventually we'd make it to our gate, or take her by the wrist and drag her crying to get there. I liked not having to worry that if I looked up from her to keep from bumping into somebody or to adjust her sister in the sling, she wouldn't disappear into the crowd just that fast. It's simply not possible to literally keep my eyes on her 100% of the time in a situation like that, and she is a bolter. In the three seconds it would take me to apologize for running into somebody because I was busy watching her... she'd be gone. Heck, even if I *do* keep my eyes on her 100% of the time, there've been times when she's decided to take off through a crowd that I couldn't navigate quickly because I'm much bigger than her, especially with a baby slung on front of me and a diaper bag strapped on back, and I lost track of her quickly.
Boundaries? What kind of boundaries can you expect a three year old to have learned? Go read the GD forum some time. Kid's don't develop impulse control until somewhere between 4-5 years of age. Yes, all that while, we're busy teaching them the rules that we hope they will apply readily some day. But, we can't count on them applying those rules until they're a bit older. Sure, Talia knows she's not supposed to run from me in a crowd. Sometimes she'll even be in a mood to stay close to me. But, do I really want to count on her being in a complacent mood when we're in such a crowd? Sometimes I do. Even though I know it'll be stressful for me, I let her run freely in most places because, as was said above, I do need to teach her those boundaries. But there are certain places where it is simply too dangerous to be working on those lessons. And in those places and with my particular child, a harness leash is a very reasonable option.
I do not disagree that leashes can be abused. So can anything. Honestly, so can a sling, when you consider that sometimes a toddler doesn't want to be carried. Just because some people could and probably do use leashes inappropriately doesn't mean that it's not a great tool in appropriate situations.