Leashes…Love ‘Em or Hate ‘Em?

   Before I had a child, I thought leashes were only for dogs, other small animals, and at times, husbands (just kidding, ha ha). But now, I’ve been exposed to a whole new world…leashes for children. We all know how hard it can be to keep kids from running around all over the place when you’re in a store trying to shop. There’s only so many times you can say “no”, “get over here”, “don’t touch.” It also gets annoying if you have to go and chase them down as you’re rummaging through a clothing rack to find a size medium (not everyone is small or large people, they need to make more mediums…but I digress).
  There are a few solutions to this problem, A). Put them in a shopping cart if it’s a store that has one. B). Bring a stroller. C.) Leave them at home. “C” would be the best solution, but it’s just not practical. You can’t drop off your kid every time you have to run an errand. There’s also D.) Try to control them the best you can and deal with the outcome…or my least favorite E.) Put them on a leash.
  My husband and I were shopping recently and saw one woman who opted for choice “E.” From the looks of him, I’d say the child was about four years old. The mom was holding the leash which attached to an ever so stylish teddy bear backpack and harness. By adding the teddy bear, I guess it’s supposed to make the kid feel as if it’s fun to get walked like a dog.
  She was walking her child through the parking lot just as if she was walking her Doberman. I joked to my husband that I knew we forgot something at home. I looked down and was so thankful my daughter fell asleep. We opted for choice “B” that day. By the grace of God, our little one passed out in the stroller and we were able to do what we had to do.(Trust me this was just a fluke.)
   Getting back to the leash lady,  I have to say the little boy didn’t seem to mind. He surely didn’t go anywhere his mother didn’t want him to go. It just looked so wrong to me to put a harness on a child and control his every move. I know a lot of people may disagree with me and think the leash is the best route and convenient. But, I think kids need to learn that in the real world, you need to control yourself. Adults don’t walk each with leashes, and parents shouldn’t walk their kids with one either.
   I compare this concept to the “cry rooms” in churches. One of the churches I used to go to has a cry room. I used to take me daughter in there so we wouldn’t disturb the other parishioners. The only person I ended up disturbing was myself. My daughter thought it was happy hour and went to socialize with everyone in there. There was no way I could possibly pray, except to hope mass would be over soon. Other kids were doing the same thing though. It was like a daycare, with some Alleluias thrown in every now and again. Even the parents were chit chatting. Now we go to a church without a cry room and she behaves 100 percent better because she knows she has to. Sure she turns around and waves to people and makes some noise. But 90 percent of the time, she’s occupied by the toys I bring and the simple surroundings. I think the same thing is true when it comes to leashes. Teach kids that they have to behave without a leash and they’ll learn that’s what people in the real leash-free world do. You can’t put a leash on them forever, so what happens when they outgrow them? Do you teach them self-control at that age? So many questions, but one simple answer…save the leash for Fido.

The Need to Nest

  It’s here…the need to nest has arrived and I’m rolling out the red carpet. I remember during the first pregnancy, I suddenly had the urge to organize all my clothes and my husband’s too for that matter. I wanted to organize utensil drawers…and anything else I could get my hands on. Someone told me my nesting phase was started. I didn’t know what the heck that meant. I’m not a bird. But then I learned it’s the urge pregnant women get to get things organized. It supposedly helps us prepare and feel ready for the baby. I read up on it and learned that it sometimes can be a sign that labor isn’t too far off. But, some women do get it early on in their pregnancy too, and maybe some women don’t get it at all.

   People who know me, know I can be a bit of a neat freak by nature. It’s just in my DNA. So, add a little nesting instinct and you’ve got Martha Stewart on a Charlie Sheen party binge. Unfortunately, I’ve had to let go of a lot of organizing after having my first child. I’ve learned mess is not necessarily best, but sometimes you have to suck it up and deal with it. But, now the need to nest is trying to take over some of the clutter and shake me up a bit.
   During the first pregnancy, I went on a nesting binge only to have my husband come home one day to find all his clothes folded and put away nicely in the drawers. The clothes in the closet were organized too…all the long sleeve shirts were together, while all the short sleeve shirts and pants had a new home. All of my clothes followed similar orders. Everything was organized…at least for awhile!
  This time is turning out to be no different, but with just one exception…finding the time to do it all. The little men in my head are working overtime with all the projects I want to complete before baby number two enters the world. Besides organizing clothes, there are pictures that need to be put into photo albums, cabinets that need to be rearranged…files that need to be fixed. Don’t even get me started on the stuff I want to organize for the new baby! But, there’s also a little two-year-old girl that also needs lots of attention and love, so I’m not sure how much of that is going to get done. I think the key is to have her help me! Although I don’t know how well that would work out. All I know is my nesting need is ready to hatch.

Marking Milestones

   Graduations, weddings..they’re among the milestones that parents cry and sigh over. I know those are way down the road for me, but there are some little milestones happening right now that are already getting me a little misty. My daughter just turned two and she’s doing so many things on her own now. I know, I know, it’s part of life, but I don’t want to see her grow up! Parents who have already gone through these things can relate I’m sure.

   Before I became a mom, I used to roll my eyes when I heard other moms talk about milestones like first steps, first words, etc. Sure they’re great I thought, but nothing to grab the Kleenex box over. But, now that I have experienced those things I can totally relate and can’t believe what an idiot I was. Those are really BIG deals. I’ll admit when my daughter took her first steps, I cried. When she first said “momma” I screamed really loud. I was so excited that she knew who I was and could verbalize it. Now, she won’t stop saying it, which is a subject for an entirely different blog!
   Now that she’s two, a lot of my duties are done. My job of feeding her is basically over. I just cut up her food and put it on her plate and she eats it all by herself. This milestone is a great one, because I can now actually eat my food while it’s semi-hot. Not necessarily one to cry over, but still a change that signals she’s no longer a little baby.
   Gone are the days of loading her up in the baby carrier and bringing her to and from the car. No more trying to balance her and bags and keys and whatever else may be in my hands at the time. Now, I just get her out of the car seat and watch her walk to the door and wait for me to open it. Again, not a particularly bad thing going on here.
   But one thing that really pulled at my heart strings happened about a month ago when we put the toddler rails on her crib. We just kinda figured it was time and we should do it. The minute they went on and she realized she could climb in and out of bed herself. It was a whole new world. She now has a big girl pillow and knows she can sleep like everyone else. By getting out of bed whenever she wants, she is getting her first taste of freedom. No more waiting for mommy or daddy to come in and scoop her out of the crib.  She also knows she can fall out of bed if she’s not careful. And she did, but only once. I don’t think she liked that part of it very much, But I think she does enjoy getting up before us and running into our room as we’re still trying to figure out what time of the morning it is. Right now it’s a quarter past my little baby is growing up. Soon it will ten till she gets her license and starts liking boys (God help us!). I know we have a ways to go, and there are so many more milestones to mark before we get to that point.
  I’ve come to realize that having a child really gives you a true grasp of how precious time really is. One minute you’re holding them in the hospital and the next they’re ready to say bye-bye. So, I think we shouldn’t just mark milestones, but try to mark minutes, hours, and days because you’re never going to get them back.