Behind starburst eyes

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a kid on a leash!

on June 13, 2013

imagesCA0TBJHUWell tonight I finished modifying N’s little blue backpack into a harness style backpack complete with a “tether strap” as it’s called when one is selling it apparently. (I looked online but figured why pay that much money for one when I’ve got everything here to convert a regular toddler sized backpack instead) In reality it’s a leash and it’s attached to my child via the backpack. I have fought doing this for a while, and each time we went out I would faithfully ensure I had the stroller and he was buckled in. Once in a while I’d walk holding his hand, but with his aversion to touch so often holding hands is NOT something he’s in to doing, and letting him just roam and hoping I can catch him when he darts out onto the street in less time than it takes for a car to hit him is NOT something I’m cool with. In fact it terrifies me, and while I KNOW I’ll get the inevitable backlash for “treating my child like an animal” (trust me I had this reaction with C, and I hated it. I hated that no one could see I JUST wanted to keep him safe.) And I know I’m going to upset people with doing it with N.

Here’s the thing though, I can’t NOT do it. Well I’m sure I can in fact, but my heart is pounding from the moment we walk down our front steps. I’m sweaty and nervous as I carefully grip his wrist/forearm (he won’t hold hands at all) I’m watching every direction, frantically looking all around us and trying to watch him at the same time. All the while I’m still holding onto him for dear life. I try to get to our destination as quickly as I possibly can get him to go, and frequently ask him if he wants me to carry him. Why because he doesn’t understand danger, and that makes me terrified. He runs towards moving cars because he’s so fascinated with cars in general. And trying to just say “No” or “Stop” does NOT work with him. especially since he’s often overloaded auditory wise and covers his ears, but doesn’t ever stop moving.

Now, tonight we went on a little walk with his new modified backpack. I held his forearm while he was walking down the stairs and then I let him just walk. He got to choose where we went because I was just enjoying watching him finally have the opportunity to discover his neighbourhood at his own pace. We stood at one point and watched a cricket and I told him about how the cricket makes music. He loves his backpack, and insisted we put cheese in it for our walk 🙂 He’s not upset by it, even when he tried to dart towards the street and it stopped him (he didn’t fall or anything, he just couldn’t go any further than a few feet from me) he just looked back at me and then pointed at the cars speeding past and smiled saying “brooms!” which is of course his word for cars. So yes I loved the peacefulness with which we were able to just “be” together, in each other’s space, experiencing an evening walk together, marveling at all the things that I would have forced him to miss in my haste to get him somewhere safe prior to his new backpack.

Alright dear readers, I’ve taken a deep breath, let me have it.

4 responses to “It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a kid on a leash!

  1. margaret says:

    Good for you! I am a strong believer in keeping kids safe over listening to foolish interfering people who put their two cents in. I am a mom of a child on the spectrum and we had to use a harness. I am also a home daycare provider. I have up to 5 kids at a time I’m trying to keep safe and when I get a toddler who is impulsive, they get a choice….harness or stroller. Their parents also get a choice. Safe or not. Easy choice. Keep it up, friend! You. Are. Awesome. 🙂

  2. stepmommary says:

    My fiancé and I saw a kid with a leash backpack at the zoo the other day. I told the mom that I really liked her son’s backpack and that it looked really neat. As we were walking away my fiancé said “I think that was a leash…I think they disguised a leash as a backpack…” at which point I mentioned this very post and explained how it was very helpful to you because he had freedom but you didn’t have to worry about upsetting him. He hadn’t thought of that before (and before reading this post, honestly, neither had I.) Then we joked about how even though his two boys (my step sons) don’t have autism, maybe it’d be easier to keep track of them with one… But I just wanted to let you know you helped both of us see things a bit differently. =]

    • That’s so awesome! Thank-you for taking the time to let me know how my post made you see this situation differently 😀 It means so much to me to know that I’ve had a positive impact, and I can believe that mom you talked to was thrilled to hear positive things about her son’s backpack, instead of the negatives we often hear.

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