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A Manner of Speaking Sep/Oct '92

by Bonnie Neugebauer
September/October 1992
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Article Link: http://www.childcareexchange.com/article/a-manner-of-speaking/5008748/

Waves gently lapped and swirled as the baby did an eager knee-toe crawl to the water's edge. Just as the baby's fingers reached for ocean foam, his father swooped down, scooped him up, and dangled his toes in a gentle swing in and out of the water. Returned to the safety of the sandy beach, baby immediately headed knee-toe to the shore. Again, just as the foam licked his small fingers, his father scooped him up, dangled his toes in the water, and returned him to the sand. Over and over, father and child replayed this scene - the baby ever eager, the father ever vigilant.

As I watched I felt myself rooting for the baby - disappointed each time father's arms descended. I wanted baby to feel the cold slap of the water against his face. I wanted to see his look of astonishment. And I wanted to know his reaction. Would he gurgle with delight? Would he cry?

I never found out. When father tired of the exercise, baby was snuggled in his mother's arms as she stood ankle-deep in the surf. Blanketed from the sun, he remained ...

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