I said that I would never do that. Of course, my daddy told me Lane we say never”. He was correct.
I remember observing someone walking their child with a leash. I scoffed like a judgmental asshole. It looked absolutely ridiculous. At that time, I didn’t have kids. I said that I would never have my child walking around like some pet.
I stuck to that sentiment as I began having kids. Then, the twins came along. I noticed Joshua’s inability to comprehend. It was always there. I started noticing Julian’s inability shortly after. He had started regressing. Still, when we went out, Donnie and I kept all of the babies in 2 different strollers. It was a lot of work, but we managed.
I purchased three harness leashes in early 2018. I wanted to ditch the strollers during our upcoming beach trip. It just made things easier. I just didn’t want to overload our van with suitcases and strollers.
It was a disaster. First of all, I was embarrassed. I didn’t know what others were thinking as they were staring at me. These were some of the same stares that I gave to other parents before I actually became one. A lot of people don’t understand autism, so it’s easy for them to say “That’s child needs to be whooped”. A lot of people stare. Rarely, I will get sympathy from another understanding parent or caregiver.
Relying on the harnesses was a disaster. That is why the pessimism in me told me to also purchase handcuff leashes. The clips on Joshua’s harness broke. Julian and Joshua had the worst meltdowns whenever we walked somewhere. Jessica actually did a great job with the harness. She did so well that I allowed my other kids to hold the leash while she walked around.
I was definitely missing the strollers. They would be apart of any future trips that we would take.
After going through the appointments, assessments, and therapies, with the boys in 2019, I decided to keep them in strollers. I finally had answers as to why I noticed delays and regressions. Also, it was much easier to tote around heavy strollers than to deal with a bunch of stares and judgment in public. I still used the leases at the ocean though.
As Julian and Joshua grew, it was difficult to find a stroller big enough to accommodate them. They are 4 and 5 years old, at this point. The strollers were either too small or too expensive. I settled on a double jogging stroller. That will probably buy us two years, until we have to come up with another option. I will probably have to buy a wagon.
There was a delay in shipping, so their stroller didn’t arrive in time for our zoo trip, earlier this month. Jessica could walk freely, without being tethered to someone else. That’s as one less stroller that needed to be packed. We still used the double stroller that I bought for Joshua and Jessica when they were born. The boys looked ridiculous in it.
Julian threw a big tantrum when we stopped for lunch. Normally, the boys will cry if the stroller stops moving. They always like to be on the go. I thought that was what was wrong with Julian. Donnie pushed the stroller around, but Julian was still not satisfied. At that point, I concluded that he wanted to be free of the stroller. We weren’t in a store, where he could knock things over. Why not? I pulled a handcuff leash out of the diaper bag and put it around Julian’s wrist. To my disbelief, he did a great job. I still had to tug the leash a few times to get him in the right direction, but Julian did really well. He seemed to really enjoy the walk. True to form, he started crying every time we stopped walking.
Joshua stayed in the stroller. He would have rolled all over the ground instead of walking.
Though I had my apprehensions at first, I don’t regret using a harness or leash for my children. My pride is less significant than their safety. I’m not trying to make a fashion statement, although, I do have some cute colors. Thanks Amazon!
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