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May 10, 2003 - Saturday
Harry and Jeremy were really pretty well behaved at the music store while I was attending to my purchase and I can't say that I was all that surprised. Harry's a good kid and I think he'll listen in those situations if I call to him and Jeremy doesn't move fast enough yet. And, I figure I can always tell Harry to grab him in case of impending disaster. That confidence with Harry extends to a degree to the parking lot, where I trust him to stand still beside the car while I get Jeremy out or to walk unheld beside me, and maybe even run ahead a little if the coast is clear, believing that he will stop if I said to do so in a convincing voice. It's always worked so far, although I admittedly try to be very conscious of the surroundings.

So Thursday, when Harry started running as we left the music store I didn't think too much about it. He was on the sidewalk in front of the little three store strip mall and I was holding Jeremy's hand (Jeremy likes to walk now rather than be carried). It would have been fine in this tiny and not busy parking lot, except there was a jog, a zig-zag, in building's facade and the sidewalk on which Harry took off running went around a blind corner across before it extended odwn the rest of the front of the building. As he approached this corner, I called to him to stop. He did not, disappearing out of my view and presumably running on down the sideway. I guess since he knew we parked over there it was not an unknown and unfamiliar place that he was going. Yet that, of course, is not the point. It wasn't at all busy in this little parking lot, so I even hesitated running after him for a moment, holding Jeremy hand and walking at his pace. But, Harry was out of sight and I had little choice but to get myself around the corner quickly.

I remember my mother's explanations of why I needed to mind in these situations as being rather hollow. "A car might be coming" never did anything for me as a kid because I could see just as clearly as she could that no cars were coming. I tried to avoid the specifics with Harry, instead just trying to make a more general impression of the severity by grabbing his arm and pulling him quickly toward the car, then, after making him wait while I put Jeremy is the car, telling him sternly how important it was that he listen to me. I think I did OK, especially since yesterday at the flower store he did listen again, even when a friend of his who happened to be there didn't listen to his mother and didn't stop. Still, it's clear that Harry's innocence of youth is waning and that his proverbial leash is already getting longer and frayed.

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