August 19, 2003 - Tuesday
I've been worrying again that I'm too hard on Harry, or at least that my reactions are too strong when he does things that I do not like. What happens, and clearly has happened to some extent, is that I hear my same animated tone back from him. It's particularly obvious when he uses it talking to Jeremy. So, over the last couple of days I've been quite conscious of my tactics around Harry when reacting to his less angelic moments. The best thing I can do, I believe, when Harry starts acting in a manner that I don't want to be around is to leave. Of course, just ignoring him without saying anything is hardly something I want to experience in return, so I always try to explain what I'm doing first. That usually sounds something like "Harry, I don't like it when you [act like that] and if you're going to [act like that] I don't want to be around you." He'll usually try to prolong the conversation and maybe I'll say something else or maybe I'll repeat myself, but that will get pretty close to the end of our interaction until Harry stops whatever it is. And, usually that doesn't take very long.
It must be registering with him. Tonight at dinner Jeremy was whining and complaining about something or other (he's almost two). Harry didn't say something animated like "Jeremy, you stop that. I don't like that." Instead, it was an animated, "Jeremy, I don't want to be around you if you're going to act like that."
For better or worse, they are their parents' children.