Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Leash For Mr. Brown

I've talked about him before but let me properly introduce Mr. Brown.

When Catie was born her cousin Riley gave her one of his Teddy bears and he became known as Mr. Brown.  One day Catie carried him to bed with her and I didn't take him away.  Since them she's slept with him and is very attached.  The original Mr. Brown wasn't very nice though, he was cheap and kind of gross and his hair fell out and he smelled and I couldn't handle him any longer so we took Catie to Toys R Us one day and let her choose a new stuffed animal.  We really wanted her to love something unique like the adorable pink pig we pulled out but she showed an obvious preference to the classic brown bear.  We switched the bears, retaining the name and her love for him only grew.  Now he's essential for nap time and don't you dare think of stealing him because it will cause a meltdown.

We have a strict rule that Mr. Brown only gets played with at bed time and diaper changes (she's a really wiggly girl, Mr. Brown helps).  The one major exception to this rule is long car rides.  We go to Calgary often which is a couple hours drive and Catie hates the car.  Mr. Brown helps make the trip more bearable for her but there is one huge down fall to him being in the car.  She often drops him or when she gets really frustrated throws him repeatedly.  That means I'm left to awkwardly reach back to retrieve him to hopefully put an end to her screaming.  By the end of our drive I'm super frustrated and so is she.

I thought of this solution some time ago but only implemented it in time for our last drive this weekend.  Mr. Brown got a leash.

This picture shows attempt number 2.  Attempt one was much too short and involved Velcro, which isn't nearly strong enough.

I took a strip of fabric that matched the car seat and made a long tube.  Then I threaded elastic through the tube.  I made one loop at the end (without elastic) and then I made a second loop at the other end (with elastic).  Before I started I had carefully measured out the three parts I wanted, a loop to go around the seatbelt, the length between Catie and Mr. Brown and then a loop to go around Mr. Brown.  Sadly I didn't think about how much my fabric would shrink with the elastic, in the end I needed to make a second tube to attach the the first.  I had initially pictured the loop going around Mr. Brown's neck but I was a little worried about the chance of decapitation so in the end I made it go around his waist.

So here's how it works
The loop without elastic wraps around the seatbelt strap and the strip of fabric pulls through the loop.  Then the large, elastic loop goes around Mr. Brown's waist.  The strip isn't long enough for any sort of choking hazard, it just keeps Mr. brown from falling (it's actually slightly longer than I would like and may be shortened at some point).  

It worked just like I had hoped and made for a much more enjoyable trip.  I loved that I didn't ever have to reach back for him and Catie loved that he was always close.