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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET CHAPTER ONE “That’s a frog,” he explains. “A frog is an amphibian. That means it can live on the land and in the water. Can you say, ‘am-phib-i-an’?” At supper that night, the daddy exhorts his child to “tell Mama what you learned today,” and after some amount of coaching, the child repeats the lesson. Both parents beam. Dad is a great teacher. Their kid is a genius. Actually, if the child had to rely on this level of teaching to sup- port healthy brain development and to prepare for future success, this youngster would begin school with the receptive vocabulary of an overachieving chimpanzee. Daddy, in instructional mode, has provided his offspring with a single noun: amphibian. Per- haps tomorrow he will provide another. Fortunately for the child, neither parent visits instructional mode very often. Instead, they remain in communication mode almost all of the time, albeit com- pletely oblivious to the rich language experiences they are provid- ing for their child. During that same evening meal, for example, in communica- tion mode, Mom tells Dad the story about her trip to the mall to return a small appliance. It’s bad enough to discover that a simple piece of equipment is defective the moment it is put into operation, worse yet to endure the tedium of parking lots and lines, but simply unconscionable that the clerk would be rude and would not provide a refund without a receipt. Mom’s sister, by the way, just last week returned some defective merchandise to that same establishment— defective merchandise must be their specialty—and had wrangled a refund from that very same customer service desk without a shred of evidence that she had purchased it there. It’s just fine if the store needs to establish return policies, but they need to be followed con- sistently, and now Mom intends to boycott that place of business because it’s better for the planet to buy locally anyway. 8 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL