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December 10, 2002 - Tuesday
"I don't like any kids."
That very disturbing statement came from Harry tonight at bedtime and it certainly got my attention. Fortunately, it also led to a rather long discussion during which Harry seemed to both talk and listen with uncommon candor. And, from that discussion, I'm not as worried about a scarred boy as I might have been at the start.

Harry actually preceded that declaration with "I didn't like Judy," referring to grandma and grandpa's dog who tends to lick Harry more than he would prefer.
"I thought you started to like Judy at the end," I suggested, reminding Harry that he had eventually played with Judy. He didn't respond.
"I don't like Jeremy." He changed the line of the discussion.
"Why don't you like Jeremy?"
"He was grabbing," Harry answered.
"Oh, yes, Jeremy does grab and I don't like that either. But, Jeremy is still learning not to grab and learning to talk and understand words and we all have to be a little patient with him for a while." I said something like that and it seemed pretty good as it came out, not letting Jeremy off the hook for things for which we chastise Harry. Maybe Harry accepted it or maybe his original comment about Jeremy was more random than serious. Then the kicker.
"I don't like any kids," he said in a pouting voice.
"You don't like ANY kids, what do you mean?"
"I don't like any kids," he said again.
"Why not," I asked, trying to not overreact.
"Because they grab, Kathleen grabs and Ryan fights," he answered and the entire course of our conservation became a little more clear.
"Oh, yes, sometimes kids grab and do things that they shouldn't do. Sometimes people do things that they shouldn't do and I know why you don't like it. I don't like it when people do things like that to me."

I went on for some time trying to suggest both how common it is that sometimes things won't go our way, to build solidarity with Harry's predicament, and how we should not get too upset about such things. It's easier said than done, for me included and I told Harry that. I also said things about just doing what we thought was the nice thing to do and how other people appreciate that. I mentioned how his teachers noticed that Harry was nice and didn't grab much and how proud I was of that and how, while it's hard to be nice when someone else is being bad, it's really the best way. They are, indeed, difficult concepts.
"You don't mean all kids. What about Molly? You like her don't you?" I asked, trying to bring the conversation back to the more tangible.
"Yeah, she's nice."
"And, Nicole?"
"Yeah, she's nice."
"And, Garrett?
"Yeah, he's nice."
"And, Makayla?"
"Yeah, she's nice."
"And, how about Connor?" I asked about the boy who hit Harry with the shovel.
"He's nice, most of the time."

I guess Harry understands. But, socialization can be tough and Harry seems to be starting to understand that, too.

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