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Giving Babies the Best Start in Life

by Ruth Mason
November/December 2007
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Article Link: http://exchangepress.com/article/giving-babies-the-best-start-in-life/5017802/

Eighteen month-old Balasz is having a bath. He is reclining on his back, bouncing his long, thin body up and down, splashing water everywhere. His caretaker, Tunde, who is supporting his head with her left arm, is leaning away from the bath (which is at waist height) her body concave, the front of her tee shirt and cotton pants soaking wet. The bathroom floor is flooded. But Tunde pays no attention to all of that. Her gaze, her smile, her focus is solely on Balasz, enveloping him in affection. She talks to him in a relaxed manner, joining him as it were in this activity as he keeps splashing away, his buttocks moving rhythmically up and down. This goes on for long minutes.

When she takes him gently out of the bath, Tunde tells Balasz what she is doing, even though he is hard of hearing. Born prematurely at only half a kilo, Balasz is also mentally retarded and blind. Tunde wraps him in a soft, white towel and places him gently on the changing table adjacent to the bathtub. Before she begins drying him, Tunde leans in close and talks to Balasz, her voice soothing, gentle. He coos back, his non-seeing ...

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