Fascinating article, Lisa! I love the idea of using cultural relativity to get the point across--yes, our lifestyles are different but our babies are not!
The idea of their kids not misbehaving is really intriguing--though I have to think some of that comes from the behaviors that they see modeled around them. Americans are by and large selfish and whiny, so of course our children will think that's normal! Even if we ourselves model good behavior for them, they will eventually be enculturated--so I don't think AP can magically create mature angel-children, even though I'm sure it will help.
And hopefully no one will misunderstand, but I have to take issue with this statement:
"Unanimously, they let us know by the clearest signals that they should not be put down at all."
If I read the article right, this is referring to babies up to "creeping age," usually 7-8 months. I have to disagree with the "unanimously" part. I had read Sears and really wanted an AP parenting style for my daughter, and despite a horrible back injury I pursued it with all my will. I thought this meant "constant attachment." But when my daughter was 2 or 3 months old, I noticed that she was occasionally squirmy and fussy in my lap--not hungry, not wet, not gassy, just...well, grumpy.
The solution? Lay her on the floor on a blanket with a couple interesting things to look at, and leave her alone for a while!
Seriously, she was very good at letting me know when she'd had enough contact and needed some alone time. She'd lay on the floor and kick her legs and look around and have a good old time. I was a bit surprised by this, but I went with it (usually I sat close by her so she could see I was there, though I also used it as a bathroom break
). I came to the conclusion that the point of AP was to listen to your baby, not to impose a single, invariant "parenting style" on them for Their Own Good. This is something I think we forget sometimes when we're trying to be good, loving, attached parents--but we have to be willing to accept the baby's message, and every baby seems to have their own story to tell.
Looking at your friend's situation, Helen, it seems quite clear that she *wasn't* listening to her baby's message and responding. I can't blame you for being a bit put off by that. How hard would it have been to sit and talk with you while the baby was on her lap? Sounds like he did need a nap, but I'm sure there was a better way to get him there!! (Although maybe that wasn't her normal way of interacting with him, and she just wanted to talk to you without distractions??) Good luck with your quest!