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March 22, 2001 - Thursday
Harry and I went to the hardware store again this morning. In the past I've used these excursions to pass a little time before bringing Harry to daycare and I suppose that was partly the goal for today. But this time, I also had a couple of specific items to pick up and that meant I wasn't going to just let Harry run freely in the store. Unfortunately, from these once harmless excursions with Harry, back when every new place was a distraction, he has ceased being completely captivated by visual wonders and now finds greater fascination in more tactile pursuits. Admittedly, this behavior is charming, especially in a hardware store where he can find designer-colored plungers to carry around, one in each hand. But, his growing sense of entitlement in any store we visit, that every item is his for the playing, has found increasing drawbacks when his mother and I are more seriously trying to shop.

So this morning, I hesitated letting Harry run unfettered right away, instead holding him as I looked over my cable connector options. Harry, clearly disturbed by this unfamiliar routine, made his case for being put down and quickly won on vocal determination. I put him down. But, no sooner was he off and running than he found a collection of small florescent bulbs. I had no choice but to return to plan A, simultaneously struck by the realization that our little hardware store jaunt might turn into a rather brief visit. Sure enough, Harry protested for the store to hear.

Yet, what happened next was a very pleasant surprise. It took a telling or two that he shouldn't whine, but Harry soon acquiesced and quietly waited quite patiently for me to make my choices. After I was all set, I figured Harry had been so good that he deserved at least a brief visit to the plumbing aisle and off we went for the plungers and the toilet floats before heading off to daycare.

A couple of weeks ago a new boy started at Harry's daycare who seems to be somewhat less sure of himself. Poor Timmy is often crying or whining and, not surprisingly, pushing the daycare provider to her professional and personal limits. And, I know that she has often been firm with Timmy, sitting him on the sofa and being direct to try to stop his whining. As I dropped Harry off and saw Timmy there on the couch again, longing for his mother or some other unknown security, I wondered whether Harry's learned response in the hardware store had anything to do from witnesses his daycare provider's unease at Timmy's complaining.

Comments, opinions?