December 29, 2001 - Saturday
Harry had another Christmas today, since my siblings, Harry and Jeremy's aunt and uncle, couldn't meet on Christmas earlier in the week. We gathered and exchanged a few gifts at my parents' house this afternoon and the first present Harry opened was his show-stopper. On Christmas, Harry finally received a backhoe. It was just a small toy backhoe, only the front bucket actually moved and not the backhoe bucket itself, but it made a big impression. His mother exclaimed at the time that Harry had "his very own backhoe" and ever since that's just what he's been calling it: "Harry's very own backhoe." So, today, Harry was absolutely beside himself when he started to open a much larger backhoe from his Aunt Jane. Once he saw what it was, he physically could not open it fast enough and desperately enlisted my help. I thought he might actually start to cry when I realized I needed scissors to cut the plastic ties that held the big yellow truck in its display box. Fortunately, Grandpa had some in the next room and Harry got to play with his new toy. He also got some other wonderful toys, including a lovely trio of yellow capital equipment miniatures - a dump truck, a bulldozer, and a front-end loader - each with moving parts, but I had to do the unwrapping while trying to wrest Harry's attention from the big backhoe with batteries.
Harry's 14-month old cousin, Ben, was impressed by the backhoe, too, and that caused Harry a little distress. Where Ben is younger and not quite as dexterous as Harry, he pawed at the backhoe a lot more than Harry, who was doing a good job figuring out how to work the levers to make the loader bucket go up and down and swivel. At first, Harry was as gracious as I could hope for from a little boy with a new toy. With only mild encouragement, Harry let Ben take his turns, but as I watched I could see Harry's frustration building. I dare say Harry knew it was his new toy and he wanted to play with it and eventually Ben grabbed once too often and Harry burst into tears. I'm pleased that Harry's reflex was to move away with his outburst rather than go toward Ben. I also believe that his tears and anguish were genuine, though they subsided fairly quickly once Ben was lured away by his parents.
"One more talk" is Harry's stock phrase lately for trying to get me to stay in his room a little longer at bedtime and he used that a few times tonight as I sat up to get ready to go. Harry said he wanted to talk more about the backhoe. So, as I organized his bed and moved his stuffed animals into place, I suggested Harry tell his pig about the backhoe. And, he did, almost immediately.. It was the cutest thing. He turned and looked right at Piggy and said "I saw the backhoe, Piggy. The big orange excavator on Birch Hill Rd., Piggy. Digging a hole, Piggy. New house goes there, Piggy."