Fondle

Fondle
:to touch or handle (something) in a gentle way

: to touch (someone) in a sexual way
“like a veil the curly head, seems to fondle and caress” (Morrison, 96)
Meaning in the context: When Sethe was caressing her little baby’s hair, she used her hand to fondle her head.
Source: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fondle

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