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Detachment parenting

Some days (not today, thank goodness) you just can't win. Charlie starts crying, so you pick him up and he starts crying louder. Offer him a pacifier, he screams. Offer him a bottle, and he screams while arching his back into a semicircle while whipping his head from side to side like the lead in some devil-baby slasher flick.

Swaddle him, rock him, sling him, shush him and all you get is more evidence that his lungs have recovered from RDS just fine. And why did you spend all that money on the NICU when you were just going to murder him anyway, he asks in tones that might well reach downtown.

So rather than throwing him across the room or tearing him limb from limb like he says you're doing, you put him down and step into the next room just to get away from the screaming.


You step back in, very softly, and there he is lying on the changing table or the couch, gurgling quietly and looking up at ceiling. Waving his arms and legs a little. In that mood the books call "quietly alert". What he really wanted wasn't food or a return to the white-noise confines of the womb or "non-nutritive sucking", it was for you to stop goddam bugging him.

Our local doctor once commented that ICSI babies tend to be developmentally delayed, because their parents never put them down. If that were really anywhere near true, it would be a wonder that any survive...