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Post Info TOPIC: handling small children


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Posts: 139
Date: Apr 6 9:26 PM, 2019
handling small children

I have a question about a curious parenting practice of Demelza's - turning her children over in their sleep:
1) In Demelza, after the quarrel with Ross when she admitted to her role in Verity's elopement:
[Ross] lit another candle and walked over to the cot. Julia had kicked off all the bedclothes. She was lying like a Muslim worshipper, her head down and her seat in the air. He was about to cover her when Demelza came in. `Look,' he said. She came over and gave a little, gulping `Oh,' when she saw the child. She swallowed and turned her over.
2) In Warleggan, when Ross and Demelza come back from Truro, having discovered who their "mystery benefactor" was, and Ross makes an attempt at reconciliation with Demelza in their old bedroom:
Jeremy's breathing was a little more hurried now, as if he were dreaming. She turned him over expertly, firmly; as if knowing the touch of the familiar hand, he settled more comfortably after it.
I do get Ross's reaction to put the bedclothes Julia has kicked off back on her (she might get cold otherwise), but I'm not sure why Demelza would think it necessary to turn the child over. In the described scenes both Julia and Jeremy were about 18 months old - i.e. toddlers rather than babies who may be unable to change their position at night.
So why did they need help with turning over? Is this something people used to do in the 18th century? Or at the time when WG was writing the books?

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