talk about it more

a virtual baby book

When she was two, Fiona regularly said "Talk about it more!" to express her desire to know more about whatever we were discussing.

Monday, June 04, 2007


Multiple times I've seen it almost happen, and three times last week it did: Nora escaped my grasp and took off like a bolt of curly-headed toddler lightning. You might think I must have my feet up in a chaise lounge sipping something with an umbrella in it and paging through some magazine, or at the very least chatting with an adult. Nope-- just making my way through the day with two daughters who are three and half years apart in age and light years apart in personality.

Luckily, all three times turned out to be relatively safe, low-stress occasions. I summarily scooped her out of the street when she plopped down in revolt from having her hand held as we crossed at the corner on the way to the park for a birthday party. I collected her when she bolted at both the General Reference Desk and yet again at the Circulation Desk as I paid my fines at the library. Of course, Fiona was integral in these instances. She is like having the eyes in the back of my head that mothers are purportedly born with. She helpfully bellows, "Moooooooooooommmmm! Nora's running again!" with each succeeding occurence. Insert blush (however grateful) here.

So today I did what I never in a million years suspected I would ever do. I went to the grocery store and picked up bread, milk, bananas, and a toddler harness. A soft, smiling, backpack-style harness with a pocket in back that's shaped like an adorable monkey, but a harness nonetheless. I've spent too many years as a dog owner not to feel, as well as see, the connections. I get it. Sigh.

So when our good friends laughingly said, "Oh, all the things we've said about people who've used those things, we'll have to amend that with-- 'except for Jen,' " I knew that I might not be ready to go public with this thing around my wrist. But we were slated to visit the library next, so with last week's indoor bellowing still bouncing around in my brain, I persevered.

Here's the bottom line: many, many people are not comfortable seeing children in harnesses. These people are fairly comfortable saying so, especially when it's not directly to the person using the harness. But Nora's harness is not used to drag her around, or for her to take me for walks à la Marmaduke. It's to keep her from using her new skills, walking and now running, from putting herself in harm's way. It assures that all three of us remain safely together in public spaces.

The tether detaches to become a backpack as soon as she's ready. Won't that be nice for everybody? In the meantime, she's walking around in her environment instead of being strapped into a stroller for all of our outings, and she's safe and secure. And while I'm still feeling a mite conflicted about the whole harness thing, I know I can at least feel good about that.


At 9:15 AM, Blogger Sucero said...

We support your decision!! You do what you have to do to keep that beautiful girl safe and never mind what people think. Honestly, what is more important?
And boy, do we feel guilty about that quote! We are VERY sorry if we made you wary of using your harness. We love you and would never want to make you feel bad. Sorry, double sorry :(

At 9:56 AM, Blogger Sucero said...

Is that Strawberry Shortcake in her hands?? I haven't seen her in years!

At 3:32 PM, Blogger Deborah said...

Jen, those harnesses serve one purpose and one purpose only: to keep your child safe. Anyone who says otherwise has issues of their own that you should just ignore.
Just yesterday on my way home a tiny little boy, probably 3 years old, darted across the street in front of my car, completely oblivious to the fact that he could have been killed. What if another driver hadn't been looking?
I'll bet being in that harness won't affect her a bit psychologically speaking. When it comes to your children's safety, it is entirely your call, not anyone else's.


At 3:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm with you and your wise friends who say Keep Nora safe! love, mom/gran

At 7:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just to add to chorus - do what you gotta do. You are supported. And loved. In grand monkey/chicken fashion.

At 1:54 PM, Blogger Teresa said...

We have one, Jen. In fact, I think it's the exact same one. We didn't think we would use one until we couldn't find Robert in Macy's. The clerk found him admiring himself in the men's dressing room mirror.

At 1:55 PM, Blogger Teresa said...

Besides, it allows her more range of motion that a stroller does.

At 6:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Canada I met a family (Ian may have, too) that lived in a small isolated house near a rural (though moderately traveled) highway. They had a Saint Bernard that went everywhere with their toddler (a dog so large they had to buy a calf collar for him). If the boy started down the driveway toward the highway, the dog would get a little ahead and start steering him in a circle till he was heading back toward the house, often without the lad even noticing.

You probably have the next best thing. It gives Nora freedom of movement and freedom from danger (and it gives you some peace of mind). Also, it eats less than a Saint Bernard and doesn't shed.


At 7:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Nora is normal. When I was little, I'd run off and my mom would chase me down! If those leash things were available 50+ years ago, my mom would have had me on a short one!
Love, Maureen


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