December 6, 2023

Kid Leash?

Kid Leash? I just walked past this little scenario at Dulles International Airport!
Kid Leash?

I just walked past this little scenario at Dulles International Airport!

I’m en route from the Adirondacks to the Sangre de Cristos. You follow me so far? Exit Essex; enter Taos. Only, the transition’s not that slick…

First there was a ferry ride across Lake Champlain. Spectacular! Warm, breezy and bluebird skies. Then there was a leisurely picnic with my bride near Burlington, Vermont. At the edge of a pond. With cattails. And dragonflies. Perfect. Then a smooth flight to Dulles with a fascinating seat mate who’s sailing through the Mediterranean then across the Atlantic and around the Caribbean with her husband. The flight vanished instantly. So far, so good.

Then a layover at Dulles waiting for the flight to Albuquerque. Dinner. A walk. And then this. A pet child being taken for a walk! I’ve seen it on ski slopes. I’ve heard of it in malls. But a father walking his son on a leash? Never before. Still processing it. Good? Bad? Ugly?

Update: I posted a reddit link to this post (“Kid Leash: A father walking his son like a pet Pomeranian… Good? Bad? Ugly?”) which has generated some of the expected reactions, but also a few frustrated/angry commenters. For the record, I wasn’t excoriating the man in the picture above or users of baby leashes in general. I was surprised. And I asked readers to share their reactions. Turned out to be a more sensitive topic than I anticipated, provoking some defensive emotions. But mostly some interesting conversation. And a link to Gadling’s “Dont use baby leashes” with a video that ties in nicely!

But wait, there’s more! If you’re still trying to make up your mind if baby leashes are good, bad or ugly, then here’s another little scenario to set your gray matter gears in motion. Or your emotion in motion…

A woman was in last week with her one year old son. He was wearing one of those child leashes disguised as a cute monkey back pack, you know where the tail is the leash? … his mom wanted to try on shoes so she tied him to the sale rack. Yes, she TIED him to the sale rack… The sale rack is near our handicap ramp, which all kids think is a playground. So naturally the baby wanted to play on it. He heads for ramp and almost gets there but he’s leashed, so he starts to stretch. He makes it to the rail and starts trying to flip over it to get to the ramp. He’s so close yet so far, and this is so dangerous because the sale rack could fall on him if he gets any further… (Awful little monkeys)

The subsequent conversation between sales supervisor and mother is less startling to me that the scenario itself.

For the record, I well recognize the merits of a leash. In fact, it’s occurred to me that an adult version could be marketed to husbands/wives with a tendency to wander! But I’m also inclined to see a dehumanizing quality in a leashed baby or spouse. Perhaps it is primarily symbolic, but a leash seems like a convenient way to circumvent the sort of “hands on” parenting that ideally nurtures and educates and guides a child during these formative years. It replaces a verbal, tactile and cognitive guidance with a merely physical surrogate. I’m not a psychiatrist, nor do I pretend expertise in infant development, so I’m not denouncing the use of people leashing. Certainly those wiser than I will set me straight!

True Luxury? Staying Kid Free

“Sometimes, children are the last thing travelers want to see (or hear) on vacation…” – Jennifer W. Miner

In my research for kid free hotels I came across many offers for hotels where Kids Stay Free! I immediately navigated away from the family friendly chains and discovered that there are several couples only accommodations and gay-friendly sites for me and my one-and-only. Some looked fancy and some required rubber sheets and participation in the daily wet T-shirt contests, but most childfree places catered to a more curious traveler. Swingers we are not!

It is no coincidence that my favorite hotel in the world is adults-only. It is peaceful and rejuvenating and expensive. But what price would you pay for the true luxury of lounging poolside without the words “MARCO” and “POLO” ringing in your ears?

At this magical hotel, let’s just call it Heaven-on-Earth, the pool is quiet and there are no flying Frisbees or nap time tantrums. Sometimes there are  boobies but not the breastfeeding kind. Once in a panic a few guests entered the pool area in horror when they spotted several young teenagers. The management was swiftly notified, and the guests miraculously disappeared. (Even some loud adult guests were asked not to return.) Many of the guests of the hotel had children and spoke openly and guilt free about loving their childfree vacations. I met some pregnant guests who mourned the fact that they wouldn’t be able to return for some while. Everyone agreed that the childfree policy made the hotel a perfect repeat destination. The hotel is consistently booked far in advance even with its crazy rates.

So why don’t more hotels offer adult only options? The huge baby boomer market is made up of empty nesters, and the childfree by choice market is growing, and many gay couples have Double Incomes and No Kids. Several Four Seasons Hotels offer adult only pools and a few hotels in Cyprus are childfree for the summer season. Unfortunately, search for upscale adult only hotels came up pretty short, but it is my mission as a ‘Why No Kids?’ founder to take one for the childfree community and search out and find these oases of serenity and share them with our readers. (Who says childfree couples are selfish?)

As DINKs we need to tell hotel chains that we want adult only options with pools and even sections of the hotels or kid-free-zones. If we vote with our wallets just maybe the proprietors (aka huge corporations) will listen. Unfortunately, it seems like the opposite is happening. Today, hotels primarily cater to families with children with their cartoons character tie-ins, day-care activities and adventure areas that are reserved for kids only. Even the cruise ship market is capturing the kid’s vote. What happened to the idea that a vacation is a place of respite, relaxation, and calm; free from the noise and commotion of everyday life including screaming, splashing kids and crying babes? And what happens when you and your partner slip from the little ones for some much needed peace and alone time, and arrive at your destination to find that it’s not an escape at all? Can an argument be made that parents, not non-breeders can derive the greatest benefit from a few days of childfree lodging?

Fellow DINKs do you have a favorite childfree destination? Parents, do you take kid-free vacations? Why or why not? Inquiring minds want to know…

For a list of hotel ideas check out:

Top Five Adults-Only Luxury Resorts in the World

Recommended Hotels with “No Children” Policies for Quiet Vacations by Jennifer W. Miner