Archive for July 2nd, 2010

I get these regular updates from BabyCenter which tell me about my babies’ progress . Which is good. It helps me in some ways in keeping track of their development and what to expect next.
But what grabbed my attention recently (since my kids are toddlers now), was the mention of a device called the “Child Harness”. I guess people in US/UK would be aware of this contraption.
But for me, this was a first, and a shocker at that!!
Apparently, the Child-harness is for mothers who find it difficult to run after their kids. It helps the mothers to mind their kids while out in the park or walking down the street. Or just making sure that their child doesn’t run away . A child-harness looks something like this :-

I'm not fooled by that happy look!!

For some reason, I’m pretty offended .
I’ve read of many mothers explaining why they’ve used it and how it helps them. Some of the arguments even sound reasonable. But frankly, a leash is a leash. Whether it’s used on a pet or a child, it is ultimately a taming device. And frankly, when you start putting your kids at the end of the leash, there is very little difference between them and your pet.
It also made me wonder what these mommas do at home to control their kids. Do they strap them in straitjackets and lock their kids in rooms with padded walls just so that the kids don’t hurt themselves? Do they handcuff the child to the dining table so that s/he stays in one place and doesn’t cause much damage? Do they muzzle them so that they don’t howl and create noise?
Sounds outrageous , doesn’t it?
On similar lines, I’m opposed to cribs. I know they are safe,  I know they are for the child’s benefit, but somehow, I’ve never been able to digest the idea of a child being impounded like that, where they stick their chubby arms out from between the bars and call for attention. Call me dramatic , if you will, but it appears nothing short of imprisonment to me. My kids love sitting on a window-sill in my 2nd floor apartment. We have installed window grills so that they don’t fall out. Though the grill has enough space for them to hang their legs over the ledge, it somehow always squeezes at my heart to see them sitting there, waving their hands from between the grills. Like I said before, I hate to see kids caged up (but that is my personal opinion. I know cribs benefit a lot of kids, specially the ultra-active ones who love jumping off their beds 😀 ) !!
Kids love freedom, they love the idea of running freely where they want, to use their legs to explore new places (specially toddlers). Restraining them is definitely a tough task, at times, even immensely tiring, but tell me, how exactly does the harness benefit the child here? Sure, I don’t want my kid running off in a crowd while I’m busy with something, but then, why should I be busy with something else when I take my kids to places where there are large crowds? Shouldn’t my sole focus be on my kids? As for running after them, it would be a sorry state of affairs if I’m unable to out-run my toddlers. They may have the stamina, but don’t I have legs longer than them? How much will running harm me??  On the contrary, I’d look forward to losing all that excess fat 😀
The only people who may need the harness , are old grannies and grandpas who take their grandkids for a walk/stroll. But then, leaving overactive bratty kids to the mercy of frail grandparents is another new low!
I know we compromise a lot in the name of a child’s benefit. But somewhere, it reflects our own stupid laziness. We harness them so that we can sit in one place and chat with other women all the while sure that the child will not run away. We dump them in front of the television so that they can learn songs/poems through cartoons where as it is a known fact that children below the age of three barely comprehend TV.  To them, it is just a box with lots of lights and noise in it. Also, it is not recommended to let children below the age of two years watch television. We feed them ready-mix cereals (like Cerelac), because we don’t have the time to prepare nutritious meals with fresh ingredients. So you see, the short-cuts are for our benefit, not their’s.
It remains to be seen how long we can fool ourselves into believing we are doing our best for our children!!
Sometimes, I feel we should simply follow our parent’s lead and not make too much fuss over parenthood. Sometimes, we have to let our kids fall and hurt themselves. It is not easy to watch it happen and we would die a thousand silent deaths just by mentally flogging ourselves for not preventing it. But then, isn’t that what really helps the child? Shouldn’t we let them run, play, fall , get bruised and then learn to get up and run again?
Shouldn’t we let kids be just, well, kids!!! 

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