Will she not hold your hand out in public? What kind of public situations are you referring to? Can you give an example?
Dana, mom to Kevin (10/24/01) and Jason (10/15/04)
I remember when DS was 2 1/2
I find that at the mall the only solution IS the stroller.
Are you interested in carrying her or in letting her walk which it sounds like she wants to do. If you want to carry her then I would look in to a mei tai. I carried my dd in a mei tai from the time she was 2.5 until she was close to 3.5 and I was too sick while pg to carry her any longer. At that point she was around 43-45 lbs and 40". I have a few pictures of my dd in a mei tai at about 2.5-3 in this folder http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/skristinal/album?.dir=2818&.src=ph&store=&prodid=&.done=http%3a//photos.yahoo.com/ph//my_photos
I'm a lurker coming out for the first time on here. :)
My son is the same age. Once he got his feet under him he's been wanting to walk (or run) everywhere. I'd use a mei tai or ring sling in the back carrier, or if we were out for longer trips (the zoo) we'll use a framed back carrier when he gets tired.
We also let him walk-- much more now that we had our second (3 months old) and she's in the sling more often than not. I wasn't to sure about using a harness but I got over it.The one we use is a monkey like back pack with a pocket on it, and the "tail" is the handle. While he does okay holding my hand he'll randomly dart off-- it just gives me a bit of extra security. I keep an ID card and emergency contact information in the pocket of the monkey just in case anything should ever happen to him. He loves it and asks to put his monkey back pack on as soon as get out of the car.
I know I'm way late to this discussion, but thought I'd put in anyway--my DD just turned three. I have the stroller in the situations you describe, and have a few books and toys and, most importantly, snacks for her if we are in a place where she cannot run around (a department store, say). Then after we have finished whatever we are doing there, then we go someplace nearby (the toy aisle of the store, an open area of the mall, etc) where she *can* walk around on her own. Then maybe we'll do a little more in-stroller business, and then have some out-of-stroller time again. Or sometimes I'll say, "You can walk if you stay right here by me," and if she does, that's fine. If she doesn't, then she needs to ride in the stroller (not necessarily strapped in), and I explain that it's because I need to be able to see her and she wasn't able to comply with that when she was walking on her own. It's also really important to plan these kinds of outings when your child is not tired or hungry, but that totally exacerbates the problem of them being so upset and angry about riding in the stroller.
As far as wanting to avoid "strapping her in the stroller too much," I wouldn't worry about it. In my view, "too much" is putting children in strollers all the time so mom can shop to her heart's content (I can't even imagine that working, though) without having to deal with the child. Or strollering them all the time instead of letting them walk, or having them sit in the stroller instead of on the bench at the park or the curb at the parade or whatever. Using a stroller in the situation you describe isn't misuse--it's what they're for! AP isn't about avoiding strollers, it's how you approach your child, which obviously you are doing a great job with, so let yourself off easy here. You are keeping your child safe. Stroll away!