Taking Stock - March 26, 2012

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There’s no prouder moment in a dad’s life than seeing your little one take their first faltering steps.

And so, you can imagine the glee in the Stocks household when Girl Twin, just after Christmas, let go of the coffee table and began toddling around the front room.

Granted, Boy Twin, being of the male persuasion, is a little way behind his female counterpart.

Through a combination of laziness, stubbornness and, I’m sure, some degree of cunning, he’s still refusing to get off his bottom.

I can understand his reluctance.

After all, when somebody’s still willing to pick you up and deposit you precisely where you want to be, what’s the point of doing it yourself.

It’s like driving your own car when you’ve got a chauffeur at your disposal 24 hours a day.

But there’s no stopping his sister.

She’s off, which brings with it a whole new range of complications, particularly when you’ve got two other little ones to keep an eye on.

And so, My Good Wife and I decided it would be a good idea to invest in some means of control.

This was, you understand, not my idea.

Ever one to take the easy path through life, I was prepared to keep our little explorer strapped firmly into her seat in the double buggy.

After all, if I’ve got to push around a two-seater, both of them might as well be occupied.

But, my better half, no doubt eyeing up the additional room for shopping bags gained from letting the little one loose on the world, was most insistent.

So, we decided to invest in a set of reigns.

That’s not quite as easy as you might imagine.

It seems the world of toddler restraints is far more trendy, and expensive, than it was when I was a nipper.

Nowadays it’s all funky back packs (dinosaurs for the boys, ladybirds for the girls).

Having been defeated over my idea to adapt a retractable dog leash, we did eventually stumble upon a good old-fashioned harness affair although, having tried them out along the Prom, I’m not sure the word reigns is entirely suitable for the other attachments.

As a bit of a country bumpkin type I grew up around horses and did my fair share of riding.

Reigns to me conjures up a vision of at least some element of control, although my old riding instructor might beg to differ.

What’s attached to the children, well, that’s more of a lead for parents, allowing the little one to steer mum or dad in whatever direction they might want to go.

Attempts at course correction appear to have no impact whatsoever.

Others to halt progress have, so far, ended with one, or both of us, landing on our bottoms.

Of course, for a one-year-old, this is hilarious, not least because they can sense the panic as you head, at full tilt, towards the edge of the sea wall.

For dad, well, one is hard enough to handle, I can’t imagine what it will be like when we’ve got two little toddlers who want to head off in separate directions.

That’s why, pride put to one side, I’m happy for my lad to leave it a while longer before making his first steps.