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December 4, 2002 - Wednesday
The last time we went to the Rainforest Cafe Harry just loved it. The huge fish tanks, the life-size model animals on the walls and ceilings, and all of the sounds were more than enough excitement and entertainment for a little boy and almost kept him from eating dinner, save the bribery of getting back to the fish tanks. But, he was just over one year old at the time. The return this evening was less perfect - well, for Harry, that is. Jeremy, now just over one was probably just as happy as Harry had been two years ago. But, Harry, poor Harry, is just at an age where he's starting to know that bad things can happen and just as we walked into the restaurant the thunder audio sequence started playing and all of the robotic animals on the wall, particularly the gorillas and monkeys, started wailing away. Harry was distressed and was distressed for the entire meal.

I was so looking forward to taking Harry back there, too. I thought he would love it again. I was wrong. He was terrified of the loud noises and was not appeased when I pointed to the monkeys on the wall happily waving there arms. Instead, he identified the monkeys as the noise makers. He did gain solace in the fish tanks, one of which was mildly removed from the sounds and decided, I think, that the leopard sitting in a tree branch right above our table was a friendly leopard and that his growling was warning the other animals to stay away.

Although Harry was certainly scared, perhaps from being overly hungry going in, he visibly tried hard to be brave while we were there, descending into hysteria only the (I believe) four times the thunder sounded during our dinner. What's more amazing to me was Harry's apparent spin control. Right away after we left, still on the way to the car, Harry started saying things like "that wasn't so bad," and "I liked the fish best" in an upbeat tone. Then, in the car, he declared that he "liked the leopard, he was a friendly leopard, but the monkeys were not my favorite."

In a way, this is not entirely different from something he did yesterday morning just after I had to yell at him for fooling around to delay our departure to school. It was snowing and I was putting on his new snow pants, which he had thus far liked the idea of, but never yet worn. However, now he was complaining about everything and the snow pants were on the verge of becoming an issue. I could have just left them off, but somehow it seemed as if that might beget a lingering hatred for the snow pants more than just putting them on and letting him feel how warm they were. Whether it worked or not is impossible to know for sure, but as soon as Harry got the message that he was being out of line, he turned on the spin control. I was taken aback.

"These are great, dad. I love these snow pants. That's a nice shirt dad. I like this [car] seat..."


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