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January 6, 2002 - Sunday
Harry asked for and received ice cream for dessert after his dinner and it's, surprisingly, the first time that it has happened; the particular request, not the ice cream. Every night after he has finished as much dinner as he seems able to eat, Harry gets a dessert, typically of fruit. For the last few weeks Harry regular request has been for a banana that he can peel himself, after we break the top to start the first peel. For a long time his favorite was grapes, but that seems to have yielded to the banana. On his birthday, Harry had some ice cream and chocolate cake and that was a big hit, especially the ice cream. We had leftover chocolate cake for a few nights after that, and Harry did ask for that a couple of times without suggestion, but it was amazingly easy to return to the routine of a healthy fruit dessert. Not since, has Harry asked for ice cream that I can recall.

But, this evening he asked for ice cream. The request came after he had initially asked for a banana and I have no idea what tripped the wires in his mind to ice cream, but there it was. Part of the change was likely my initial denial of a banana until Harry ate a couple more bites of dinner, as he had been rather pokey about eating. When he said ice cream, I said immediately said okay, but that he'd have to eat his whole plate of food. It seemed like a fine trade, though I really couldn't have guess which way things would go. Since I said it right away in response to his ice cream request, I would have no trouble holding out if he didn't eat. But, he did. He sat and patiently opened his mouth each time I put a folk-load of rice or green beans until his plate was finished. That kind of if/then, action/reward method has been working well lately, but this was by far the farthest it's gone: some dozen or so bites of his sparsely eaten dinner.

We he finished. I got him the ice cream right away and he dug in with a delicate gusto, taking just little bits and pausing to either relish the taste or ride out the cold. Interestingly, he didn't finish all that I had given him. He ate a lot, but only as much as he wanted.

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