★ Baby’s Ten Little Live Playthings By J K Barry Story:
These ten little live playthings can be held in every baby’s hand, five in one and five in the other and be the baby ever so poor yet he always has these ten playthings because, you know, he brings them with him.
But all babies do not know how to play with them. They find out for themselves a good many ways of playing with them but here are some of the ways that a baby I used to know got amusement out of his.
The very first was the play called “Ta-ra-chese” (Ta-rar-cheese). It is a Dutch word and there was a little song about it all in Dutch. This is the way the baby I knew would play it when he was a tiny little fellow.
His Mamma would hold her hand up and move it gently around this way (Fig. 1) singing “Ta-ra-chese, ta-ra-chese!” Baby would look and watch awhile, and presently his little hand would begin to move and five little playthings would begin the play–dear, sweet little chubby pink fingers–for I think you have guessed these are every baby’s playthings.
How glad Mamma is to find that her baby has learned his first lesson!
Then he must learn, “Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake Baker’s man,” (Fig. 2) and “How big is baby?” “So Big!”
And here are some other ways by which a little sister’s fingers may amuse the baby.
“This the church and this is the steeple, Open the gates–there are all the good people.” (Fig. 3)
“Chimney sweep–Oho! oho! Chimney sweep!” (Fig. 4)
“Put your finger in the bird’s nest. The bird isn’t home.” (Fig. 5)
And then when the little finger is poked in, a sly pinch is given by a hidden thumb and baby is told, “The birdie has just come home!” But you mustn’t pinch hard, of course, just enough to make baby laugh at being caught.
And then there is the play of “Two men sawing wood–one little boy picking up chips.” (Fig. 6) The two finger men are moved up and down and the little boy finger works busily.
Everybody knows the rhyming finger-play:
“Here’s my Father’s knives and forks, (Fig. 7) “Here’s my Mother’s table, (Fig. 8) “Here’s my Sister’s looking-glass, (Fig. 9) “And here’s the baby’s cradle.” (Fig. 10)
Another play is a little act in which three persons are supposed to take part, and it has come down from the old times of long ago.
The middle finger is the Friar. Those on each side of him touch each other and make the door, the little finger is the Lady and the thumb is the Page. (Fig. 11)
The Friar knocks at the door.
Friar. “Knock, Knock, Knock!”
Page. “Somebody knocks at the door! Somebody knocks at the door!”
Lady. “Who is it? Who is it?”
Page. (Going to door) “Who is it? Who is it?”
Friar. “A Friar, a Friar.”
Page. “A Friar, Ma’am, a Friar, Ma’am.”
Lady. “What does he want? What does he want?”
Page. “What do you want, Sir? What do you want, Sir?”
Friar. “I want to come in. I want to come in.”
Page. “He wants to come in, Ma’am. He wants to come in.”
Lady. “Let him walk in. Let him walk in.”
Page. “Will you walk in, Sir? Will you walk in?”
So in he pops and takes a seat.
When each player is supposed to speak he or she must move gently, bending forward and back and when the Friar is invited to enter, the door must open only just far enough to let him “pop in.”
These are only some of the plays with which the baby I knew used to be amused; but they will suggest others to parents and older brothers and sisters. The baby cannot make all of these things himself but he will be quite as much interested when they are made by older hands.
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