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Playground mishap triggers clash of parental philosophies

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It was midafternoon on a cold December day, and the suburban playground was full of bundled-up kindergartners recently sprung from school. Mothers stood at a distance, chatting in groups and keeping a close eye on the children. All but one of the women belonged to nature's most vigilant species, the first-time mother. The sole exception was (and is) a friend of mine, a battle-hardened...