Parenting Is All About Decisions

Christmas is a time for spending quality time with family and close friends. For that reason we always choose to spend Christmas at home. This may of course change in the years to come, but for now it works well for us. This year however we had some new challenges. What to do with the Christmas tree? And of course the Christmas presents? In the past, this was a no brainer, but this year, we had a very active little toddler to keep in mind. An active toddler who’s quite capable of climbing, scrambling and tugging. So I ended up not compromising on a tree, but ensuring everyone’s safety by buying the tree (and gifts surrounding it), it’s very own playpen! It turned out rather nicely – well I thought so anyway ROFL!

In all honesty though, who would have thought that parenting would involve SO MANY decisions!? Naturally we all want what is best for our babies and kids. These delightfully cute little sleep-stealing beings, who all but about consume our thoughts, often have us second guessing ourselves 24×7. To make matters worse, as soon as you join the “parenting club”, it almost seems as if everyone around you starts to scrutinise your every parenting move and pass judgement. So I know what I’m about to say will most likely evoke a combination of outrage / horror and I’m hoping also some support. After much deliberation and careful thought I decided to get Alec a safety harness for when we venture out. I’ve never been a big fan of kids in harnesses, but I’ve had to rethink my views.

For those who may not know, although I’m a full time mom, I also work in animal welfare on a voluntary basis. For those who do know, you may be thinking that I’ve completely lost the plot and I’m treating my son like a dog by putting him in a harness. Let me add here, that there are many people who have said they would want to come back as one of our dogs if they ever got reincarnated, as our dogs have a pretty darn good life in our home and as part of our family. However I digress somewhat … Much like all of our dogs, who wear harnesses when we go out in order to keep them safe from harm, I came to realise that I had to do something similar with Alec. He essentially started walking from the age of 9 months (holding onto 2 hands), by 10 months he was doing single hand walking and gaining speed, by 11 months (although still holding onto a finger) he was a proficient and strong walker (almost no wobbles). At 16 months our son is now changing direction in a blink, going up / down stairs and running full tilt within 1.5 seconds – I kid you not. He’s also incredibly active and wants to engage with the world, but too young to follow instructions like “stay close to mommy”. When we go out to run errands in shopping malls or supermarkets, this combination means he cannot be restrained in a push chair / trolley for very long and wants to be walking around. At his age he is easily distracted, doesn’t understand the consequences of his running into the next isle or out of the shop and is also too small to have his arm raised above his head holding my hand for too long, as it puts strain on his shoulder and of course only leaves me with 1 free hand. As I discovered, a certain little man is quite capable of gapping it out of a shop door in the time it takes me to sign a credit card slip, leaving me no choice but to abandon everything (handbag, wallet, credit cards etc …) to go after my high speed cherub, who by now was making his way through potential kidnappers and heading towards some escalators. The only solution was to get him a harness, where he has the relative freedom of movement and walking, without putting any strain on his arm/shoulder and can be kept safe and tethered to me all of the time with no risk of a shoulder dislocation or elbow dislocation, getting lost, falling down escalators or being kidnapped by some stranger. Yes, these paranoid thoughts do cross my mind now that I’m a mother!!

It’s been a great investment and a HUGE relief for me and great tool that I simply cannot live without now! Call me a lazy mom. Call me an incompetent mom, or call me a mom who’s only concern is that of the safety of her very active little boy. I even managed to find really cute harnesses which include an animal backpack – we went with the lion :-) .

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