22, 2001 - Monday
When Harry was less than a year, we tried very hard not to deter him from any but the most serious and dangerous pursuits. That's gotten a lot harder as he's become more mobile and more dangerous to the house around him and it's now often a struggle to not continually say "no" to almost any curiosity he has. It's a concern I was just talking with Harry's mother about this afternoon: that we not give Harry a complex that everything he does is somehow wrong. I tend to think that our greatest disappointment should be reserved for bad attitude rather than bad behavior, especially when that behavior is something he may not understand to be bad. Sure, there will be times when Harry deserves strong reactions and he gets those when he gets too close to the wood stove, but generally I think kids need more direction than correction as they learn.
So, less than four hours after this somewhat self-praising theoretical discussion, we were all in the kitchen getting ready for dinner and I heard a large wooden building block land on the floor. It made the predicable loud noise and I immediately turn and said "Harry!" in a rather animated tone. Harry's head flinched in my direction, his body tightened, and his little face blanked with the apprehension of guilt. For the last several months I've been teaching Harry to throw and now he threw a block and I was yelling at him. I knew immediately that he didn't really understand the difference between throwing balls and blocks and I tried to explain the trouble, but I also knew immediately that I had completely broken my own rule.