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February 14, 2001 - Wednesday
Each morning so far this week, Harry has complained boisterously when I've dropped him off at daycare. It's certainly not the first time that's happened, but it's not his usual nature. He's done it when sick with a cold, as well as random other times that are often casually rationalized as teething. The question is 'what's the appropriate response?"

While she's not come out and said anything, I've gotten the sense that the daycare provider disapproves
somehow of my spending a few moments comforting Harry, perhaps believing that it ultimately feeds a conditioned response, leading to more complaining. It's a reasonable theory, I suppose.: if you somehow reward children for questionable behavior by hugging and doting, you encourage more of the same.

However, it's not a theory I subscribe to in this case. The way I see it, Harry has some anxiety this week, about what, I don't know. Maybe he really is teething again. He did seem to ease up a little Monday after I massaged his gums, but not today. His mother has often noted that children's routines change when they achieve notable milestones and maybe his very well-received breakthrough on "mama" and "dad'n" has resulted in some greater awareness or desire for more learning and feedback.

Yet, whatever the cause of Harry's current clinging, it seems to me that he's got something in his brain that concerns him and however irrational it may be, it's real to him. Since it doesn't usually happen, it seems like I did to support him in his time of trouble, acknowledging his anxiety and taking a few moments to show him that I care and will stand by him. If these few minutes do anything to help show Harry that we're there for him whatever his trouble, they're minutes well spent. That's my theory. Of course, if he does this next week too, perhaps I'll have to revise my response.

Comments, opinions?