Today, I was doing some online birthday shopping for Liam. Down at the bottom of the page, they have those “you might also be interested in” links, and I saw something that I had completely forgotten about: leashes for children.
I used to be judgemental about people who leash their children . . . until Benjamin started running away from us, giggling madly, when we were walking outside with him — a behavior which peaked (not coincidentally, I’m sure) when I was about 8 months pregnant with Liam and incapable of keeping up with him. After a few heart-stopping incidents, I completely rethought my no-leashes-on-kids philosophy. This is just one of those things that you can’t understand until you have a child that might require one. I didn’t give in to my passing desire to tether my child whenever we were outside, but I definitely stopped judging people who do. (I do, however, still question the sense of those who leash their child and carry their dog . . . )
But, I had honestly completely forgotten about kid leashes until today. For one, Benjamin’s temporary need for one has long since passed, but more so, because I just don’t see them here. I literally have not seen one since before we got on our plane at Dulles.
I wonder what an Austrian would say about a leashed child. The kids here, some barely older than Liam, rocket down the sidewalk on bikes and scooters. They seem very aware of the dangers in the street, and, as a whole, extremely well behaved in this regard. As a point of consideration, the culture with dogs and leashes here is subtle — it’s required that dogs be leashed nearly everywhere, but most people ignore the law most of the time . . . except in very specific situations (in stores, in restaurants, on public transportation) where there is near 100% adherence. The Austrians speak their minds when they see something they don’t agree with, so I imagine that anyone trying to walk their child on a leash in Vienna would get a stern German lecture — even in a restaurant or on the subway.