Gwen Stefani, Kingston Rossdale

FAME PICTURES

What's with all these celebrity toddlers still sucking on pacifiers, being carried and pushed in strollers at 3 years old?
—Weaver

So you want me to spit some snark at Tom and Katie over their parenting skills. Meh. I'd rather spit some snark at Madonna, just because she keeps doing stuff. But you asked, so I answer. The reason for all the kiddie holding, according to current and former Hollywood nannies, is much more innocent and sympathetic than you might think. In fact it's even a bit—gag—touching.

See if you can handle the treacly sweetness of the truth after the jump.

Many celebrity parents do let their children walk about, almost as if they were mortal. But the arrival of paparazzi usually triggers parental protective behavior. The star moms and dads experience a bit of panic—or they see their children reacting with anxiety or fright—and they pick the children up.

"It's a safety issue," says Suzanne Hansen, who, before authoring her tell-all book on nannying, once nurtured Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman's kids. "[Nannies, mom and kids] have been mobbed really badly, and it's a scary, creepy thing. The parents pick up the children because they feel they have more control holding them."

As for the pacifiers and the rest of it, that falls more in line with your standard spoiled Hollywood brat stories, Hansen says.

"These are parents who just can't say no to their kids," she says. "I have a lot of nanny friends who are trying to get their kids away from the bottle, setting goals, doing sticker work.

"And then the parents swoop right in and sabotage it. They want to be the good guys. They want to seem fun."

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