Before I started calling around, I hopped online to see what they're calling human leashes these days. That's when I discovered the Eddie Bauer Two-in-One Monkey Harness Buddy at target.com. I placed the call.
"Target White Bridge Road, can I help you find something?"
"Yes, do you carry the Eddie Bauer monkey harness buddy for kids?"
"Would that be in toys?"
"No, I think it would be with the baby supplies."
"Hold on a moment while I check."
"I'm sorry. We just looked, and we are very limited on Eddie Bauer products right now."
"Oh, okay. Well--"
"Thanks for calling Target."
Unsure whether that meant they had a limited supply of monkey leashes or no monkey leashes, I decided to move on to Baby Depot, which is basically a ten foot by five foot section of the Burlington Coat Factory at 100 Oaks Mall. When I placed that call, an incredibly jolly man (possibly Santa working summer job!) answered.
"Burlington Coat Factory, how may I help you?"
"Do you carry any kind of harness for toddlers? It's like a leash that--"
"I know EXACTLY what you're talking about! And I think those harnesses are the best things ever invented! Would you mind holding while I transfer you to the Baby Depot department, so they can tell you whether we have them in stock?"
"Not at all. Thanks!"
A not-so-English-speaking man picks up.
"Yes, I'm looking for a toddler harness with a leash?"
"It's a leash for small children that attaches to a harness, so they don't get lost in a crowd."
"Yeah, I tink I seen someting like that in here one time."
"So, do you have it now, because I'm going to drive out there and buy it if you do."
"It's like a ting what you wear the kid inside?"
"Actually, it's more like a leash. That attaches to a harness."
"Oh no. Let me transfer you someone who know what you talking about."
HOLDING. A woman's voice picks up:
"Hi. I'm looking for a child harness with a leash."
PAUSE. "So, you want to know whether we have it?"
No. I was just calling to share. It's so rare that two complete strangers ever know what products the other is looking for. And I am trying to change all that. "YES, I'm wondering if you have it in stock. Could you check?"
"Ma'am. Yes. We have one."
"Excellent. Do you happen to recall which brand it is?"
"It's made by Safety First, and it's $15.99."
"Thank you very much,"
Conversation with self ensues:
"So, it's not the Eddie Bauer monkey one, but whatever. At least we'll have something for Patrick at the baseball game tomorrow."
"True. But it's Burlington Coat Factory. And you know how shopping at poorly lit has-been stores exacerbates your symptoms of mental illness."
"Excellent point. But Target sort of said they didn't have harnesses."
"No. Target said they were limited on Eddie Bauer products.That was not an emphatic "no." In fact, I bet they have another kind of harness. Probably the same one that Burlington Coat Factory has! And they have shoes!"
So, off we went to take our chances at Target, where it turned out that "limited quantities of Eddie Bauer products" translates to "Eight Eddie Bauer Monkey harnesses, in plain view, ON SALE, for $8.99."
FREAKIN' SCORE! Must buy new shoes to celebrate!
It's worth noting that the product is listed online as "Appropriate for ages 3-12." I know, I know. Patrick's only two, but Larry and I talked about it, and we both feel that he has the maturity to wear a furry monkey harness strapped to his back. And when he is in junior high, he'll just be that much more practiced at it than his peers. Never hurts to give the kid an edge.