Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/744

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be growing, is, I believe, salutary, and to be encouraged. Good fruit is practically within the reach of all at all seasons, and we are probably the only nation out of the tropics where fresh fruit is a staple article of diet every day in the year. The temptation and tendency in the diet of children is toward an over-indulgence in animal and saccharine food, and in elaborate made dishes; and the practice of allowing children to eat at the same hours with their elders, and substantially the same things, is liable to result in a trying regimen for the child.

In regard to fresh air, the youthful citizen of the metropolis is not likely to get too much of it indoors, and the few hours a day spent on the sidewalk or in a perambulator are a sorry substitute for rolling over the grass or tumbling about the door-yard. When the child is a few years older the difficulty is increased. Young children are in constant motion, and this is Nature's method of educating the muscles and nerve-centers in the selection and development of those complicated associated movements and correlated reactions which finally form the automatic groundwork of our life. We are brought by these means into contact with all kinds of natural objects, in order that we may become aware of their attributes and react promptly and advantageously to their stimulation. The city child, however, instead of soil with its diversified coverings, has hard and mostly level floors or pavements; instead of grateful greenish, bluish, or brownish tints, the patchwork surface of our houses and streets; and instead of restful silence or simple and harmonious sounds, the irritating jar of complicated, intense, and discordant noises. We may compare the conditions to which the city child is subjected to the life of a trainman, who is hampered in his movements and at the same time subjected to storms of auditory, visual, and other impressions in unending succession.

I recently had occasion to compare the development of a typical city boy of eighteen months with that of a little girl of fifteen months brought up in a small inland town. The boy was the only child of cultivated city parents; the little girl was the youngest of several children, and her parents were plain trades-people. Though the girl had congenital club-foot and had never walked, she had remarkably good control over the movements of the arms, legs, head, and trunk. She placed her finger on or grasped an object with exactness, threw a ball with force and precision, and hitched herself about the floor with great dexterity and rapidity. All her movements were well planned and well executed, and many of them complicated, such as putting a tin cup upon the end of a stick and shaking it without letting it fall off. She could speak only a few words, but had a great deal to say in her baby language. The expression on her face was placid and contented,