Kennedy, I must apologize for the mish-mash and jumble of thoughts earlier regarding your article on reason.com about attachment parenting. It was shocking to read a description of what my family is doing, that was so contrary to reality. It was almost as if I was reading a joke. Your mockery of Attachment Parents was bizarre, because my wife and I have read The Attachment Parenting Book, by the Sears and haven’t faced the complications you outline. Also, we chose to adopt this parenting style out of love for our child, not guilt.
The Family Bed
Sex is good, sex is great, yeah sex. I learned that in High School. No, not in the way you’re thinking; that is the motto of the Pan Sexual Peace party, and now that I have been married for approaching three years, I am all about towing the party line. I also am an Attachment Parent, and my wife and I have never suffered from having our baby (18 months) sleep with us. Does that mean we’re nasty, uncivilized heathens who make that beast with two back, as our youngling is off in dream land? No. Believe it or not, our under 1000 square foot place is big enough to move the precious snow flake when she needs to be elsewhere. I’m not trying to defend the Sears, but they even suggest in the book, that when it’s time for loving, the baby can scoot; it is no sin to have sex post partum. I believe they actually encourage making time for making babies, as a vital component to effective parenting; unhappy parents are no use to a child.
Allergies and Sensitivity
Along with the family bed, my wife is still nursing our child. I know, GASP! That’s icky and gross! No, it is natural, it is what people did long ago, it is effective and logical: great nutrition for the baby, great for soothing her, as well as countless other benefits that are supposed to emerge in time (we’ll see about straighter teeth, better speech abilities though she can and does say a lot of words). One of the supposed effects of the nursing is improved immunity from the mother, as well as subtle introduction to the potential allergens, which should not become irritants due to how they are introduced. Not only are “we” nursing, but we also are doing child lead weaning, and insert-technical-name-here-for-when \-you-just-have-kid-eat-what-you-eat-and-don’t-force-feed-them-so-they-learn-how-to-eat-for/by themeslves, and thus far she has only had a very slight “allergy” to something. I don’t remember what it was, but with withheld it for a week and reintroduced it with no reaction.
My wife and I are also kosher-eating pesc/dairy/egg/vegetarians, though I have chicken a few times a year (Matzah ball soup!!!) so while we don’t let her eat meat really, we also don’t force it down anyone else’s throats. We are fine eating around normal American omnivores, and feel no need to judge them for their choices.
Equality and Banishing Inequity
I’m full of prejudice and judgement. I believe that everything deserves scrutiny, and while I also believe that judgement is good to make in one’s mind, I also don’t believe that gives anyone the right to troll and be vicious. Do I think that AP is a superior form of patenting? Yes. Do I think everyone should do it? Yes, because if it can produce well-adjusted kids who are warm and caring, and recognize the value of society over the individual, while maintaining a solid understanding of their own intrinsic value deserving of respect, I think the world would be a better place. I am willing to bet that happy kids become happy adults, and will fight for that happiness, whether it be against oppressive governments, philosophies, or people. Do I believe that if everyone nursed their kids (ecologically, not culturally) we’d have less of a drain from low incomers for food stamps and birth control/more food stamps for the kids they incessantly have? Yes, and the kids would probably be healthier too.
If you are an adult who is comfortable with your autonomy, then the Sears’ guilt-tripping (what guilt-tripping?) which had no effect on me and my wife shouldn’t “force” you into making this lifestyle choice against your will. You should be able to use all your sacred independence to say “No, I’m not going to do that, that sounds dumb.”
I can not speak for other Attachment Parenting authorities, but from my reading of the Sears’ book and your column, you are grossly misrepresenting what they say, and taking away people’s ability to make an informed decision about the subject. You are free to write, and say whatever you like, but please have the dignity to honestly to accurately depict both sides of the issue. No body likes the Nut-Nazis or the Sans-Score sports enthusiasts, but that doesn’t mean it is correct of you to use them, and their ilk, as the straw men to furnish support for your argument against Attachment Parenting, which seems to be founded more on negative anecdotes (of people who don’t sound like AP parents to me) and not what the “creators” of AP say about it, and how it is intended to be executed.