Mountain, ITA about putting a stop to rampant consumerism. Geeze, it's crept into the AP world, too, where some of us (inc. me
: ) have given into the notion that we "need" 5 different slings (or more!) and 50,000 cloth diapers . . .Thankfully, my DH's unemployment and some FlyLady reading have helped me curb that attitude. (I wasn't actually buying much, but I was really into window shopping!)
However, I do think certain gadgets are actually useful tools. The tools that are necessary for one family may be completely useless for another, but I don't think any of us are so all-knowing that we could possibly imagine or understand everyone's situation.
FTR, I have never used a leash on my daughter, but when you mentioned simply holding a child's hand, I had to LOL . . .if only it were that simple, I'd be thrilled. My DD shrieks when I do this and tries to run away more. I then have to restrain her physically with my arms. The sling helps, but when it doesn't (I think it's too confining for her) she prefers the stroller. I don't feel so AP that way, but then I remind myself that AP philosophy is about meeting a child's needs and that's what I'm doing.
And regarding leashes for dogs . . . I live in Chicago. We don't have woods here that I can legally let my dog run around in w/o a leash. A dog without a leash here is illegal, and for good reason (the dog's safety as well as others' safety). I used to own a fox terrier and there was NO way he'd stay alive off leash or even come back to me. See how situations can be so drastically different?
I do agree with your overall message, but like I said-- until (as if!) I become all-knowing, I'm going to refrain from judging what another person needs.