Dear readers, please forgive me. I've neglected to mention the ultimate, most heinous, by far the most annoying thing you could EVER do, especially when traveling:
Put your child on a leash.
"Oh look, he's got a monkey on his back!" "Mommy's got the monkey by the tail!" THIS IS NOT CUTE!!
There are a lot of people in my generation who are poppin' 'em out and as soon as the munchkins start toddling, they slap a leash on! I'm sure I'm going to offend a few people that I know and love by saying this: Putting your child in a leash is a form of parental neglect.
I blame Paris Hilton.
Think about it. Paris starts toting that stupid tea cup chihuahua around, and suddenly everyone needs some sort of living accessory. But the problem with having a little yippy dog is that they wander off. That makes it really hard for you to cross the street, talk on your cell phone, purchase goods, or just have a lunch date when your form of entertainment keeps wandering off!
The solution: Put it on an adorable leash. It'll be able to roam, but not too far, and then you'll be able to maintain your fabulousness AND not be considered a pet abuser.
CHILDREN ARE NOT SMALL DOGS! I cannot express to you how sad it makes me to have to type a sentence like that.
Before you start, I realize that I don't have any children of my own, so I don't really understand the challenges young parents face blah blah blah.
I understand that parenting is a full time job in itself. That realization is precisely why I don't have children of my own. I'm not ready to be a parent. I don't want to have to be a disciplinarian 24/7. I don't want to have to sacrifice time with my friends in favor of teaching my toddler important basic life lessons--such as when mommy tells you to stay put, you stay put.
There are a few realities of parenthood that I do realize:
-Toddlers are curious. Yep. It's shocking, but literally every day they experience something for the first time, and it's mind blowing. They don't know why that leaf is moving across the sidewalk all by itself, so they need to chase it to find out. They've never seen that strange dog before, and they need to say hello. As a parent, you need to let them be curious. PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOUR CHILD IS DOING. Yes. That makes doing normal everyday tasks such a making a deposit at the bank more difficult. But you're a freaking parent. That's the choice you made when you got pregnant. Be a parent and teach them that when mommy finishes with her errand, we'll explore the park/sidewalk/bank lobby as much as possible. But until then, you don't go anywhere no matter how much you squirm. Don't put your kid on a leash so they can wander around in a short radius and you can switch off for a few seconds.
-Toddlers fall down a lot. That's literally why they're called toddlers. The beauty of gravity is that it causes you to fall. Toddlers are learning how to deal with that. So yeah, they might fall down some stairs, or get on some gravel and not know how to compensate. Let 'em fall. They'll get bruises, probably a few nasty cuts. BUT THAT'S OK. Pain is a part of life, and they're too young to remember those boo-boos anyway. Don't put your kid on a leash so you don't have to worry about them falling down and getting hurt.
What I want to know from leash parents is if they realize how much people are staring at them and judging them. Do you realize you're treating your child like a small animal? You do realize that the message you're sending is that you can't control your kids and you can't be bothered with disciplining them, right?
I was deeply saddened by the ridiculous amount of leash kids we saw throughout our month of traveling. And thus I felt the need to share my rant with you.