Is That Puppy A Toddler?

If you haven’t frequented a theme park, mall or other prime people watching location recently then I strongly suggest you do.  It’s amazing what you can watch while you sit back, relax and enjoy a cup of coffee or a small frozen yogurt.  My favorites are the “nothing fights” that you hear couples having.  I heard a great one during March when I was at Disney.  It was between a young couple who obviously forgot they were in the happiest place on earth.

Working in hospitality, I get to do my fair share of people watching, but I still enjoy kicking back on a day off and just observing the world around me.  Today I had the opportunity to witness a family with 3 young girls and 2 strollers.  Normally that would not strike me as odd until I noticed that the youngest was appropriately 2 in one stroller, but the other stroller was being filled by the middle child who was clearly 8-9 years of age.  That raises the question, “When are kids too old to need a stroller?”  A coworker and close friend of mine likes to debate this with me off and on throughout the year.  Generally we both agree that most of the children we see in strollers are well past the age where a stroller is needed and appropriate.

When I grew up I remember having to walk places.  I know if I was too tired to keep up then it was time to go home for a nap unless I wanted to suck it up and walk faster.  My coworker remembers his childhood in about the same manner.  He’s even commented on how he feels like he got to partake in more bonding time with his dad by riding on his shoulders.  What happened to these traditions?  I see fewer kids on shoulders in the park and many more strollers being rented for families to push around two or three kids who are between the ages of 8 and 13.  Did a study come out that said it is hazardous to the health to carry your child on your shoulders and create a memorable experience?  I just don’t understand when this change came about in society.

The other phenomenon that I see to be very popular is people walking their children on leashes like they are puppies.  Yes, the leash is attached to an adorable plush animal that is strapped to their child’s back, however you’re still walking your child like an animal.  I understand for those with young multiples that this is an absolute necessity at times in a very crowded setting.  To those parents I salute you for doing the best you can with the number of hands that you have versus the number of children that you need to hang onto.  The families with two parents and four grandparents who still need to leash the one child they have with them is what I concerns me.

In my childhood years I vaguely remember having that pins and needles feeling in my hand when I was out with my mom.  I remember it being because I was so small and everyone around me was well over six feet tall.  It wasn’t because my mother was unsure how to control me and felt the best thing to do was to train me as she did our cocker spaniels.  On the flip side I see other families making the most out of their time together and making memories on their vacation.  Those families make me smile and remind me of my childhood memories.  I am not sure when these families became the minority, but I appreciate that some families are still trying to keep these old traditions and values going.


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