Finding Out I Was A Leash Child Changed My Life


Have you seen these poor little kids on leashes? Yes! Tethered to their guardian by a rope like a common dog! Worse off than a dog, in fact, because these days, dogs are carried in purses or wheeled proudly along in rhinestone-studded strollers. Their pristine paws never touch the ground, while the leashed child slogs along on its own two feet — within the allowed circumference, of course.

People stop to admire the dog and pet the dog, whereas a kid on a leash is obviously an uncontrollable psychopath who must be avoided at all costs. People cluck over dogs on leashes, but they cross the street to get away from a kid on one.

I know because I was a kid on a leash.

My mother casually mentioned it to me one day when we were out shopping. “Look, mom,” I’d whispered. “Look at that sad little tot on a leash!”

“I had a leash for you,” she said simply.

“What? You put me on a leash? My own mother? Why, mom?” I cried in anguish.

“You were getting into stuff.”

“I was three!”


Finding out I was a Leash Child changed my life. Well, actually not. It did not change my life one iota except for constantly wondering what else my mother did to make my life more convenient — for her. Was I forced to sleep in a closet? Was I fed leftover cat food? Was one of my feet taped to the floor? Wait, that last one was something I did to my own kid. (Oh, only for an hour or so. We were installing the kitchen cabinets and he kept getting into stuff. Don’t be so judgmental!)

Had she considered an electric fence, for those times I was released into the backyard? Did she tie me to a tree if she only had to run into the grocery store for “a few things?” And what about my brothers and sister? I don’t recall ever seeing one of them on a leash!

The most significant impact this leash revelation had on my life (in addition to the newfound distrust of my mother) was that it explained so much.

It explained why I don’t enjoy shopping online — I want to touch everything.

It explained why I love going around and around in a revolving door — because I can!

And it explained why I was so horrified at the sight of the Leash Child — I could relate.

I decided to befriend the very next Leash Child I saw, and I did. I approached forthrightly, with a big smile on my face. I extended a hand for her to sniff and… She bit me!

“Oh, don’t approach her without warning like that,” her mother admonished when the tug of the leash caused her to look down and see her daughter hiding in her skirts, growling. “She’s not used to strangers.”

Another revelation: I’m not used to strangers either! My gosh, I wonder what other psychological damage that leash caused.

Hey! My mother also made me eat my vegetables! I can only imagine the harm that did!

Wow. And all these years I thought I liked her. It just goes to show how you can never really know a person.