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January 16, 2002 - Wedneday
Clearly today's story was really yesterday's story more than Harry's bathtub, but having waited to tell it, I found it did not end yesterday.

I did not pick Harry up at daycare yesterday, but I'm told that there was an incident there. It involved throwing cars again, but this time it was more serious than his testing of limits from last month. I imagine it started the same as that event did , with Harry throwing cars and his daycare provider telling him to stop, but this time Harry did not stop or even feign to stop. He continued to throw cars, presumably as if it were a game. Sometimes at home when he's particularly excited and we try to tell him to stop a certain behavior, he'll smile and laugh and keep doing something like he is playing a joke. It's particularly frustrating, of course, and we usually respond more harshly.

From what I'm told, Harry's daycare provider did just that, but somewhere along the line Harry ended up still throwing a toy car toward a little girl's head and that landed him in the porta-crib in which he used to nap for a "time-out." That all seemed well enough. We trust our daycare provider to makes those calls. The tricky part is that she has never done that before with Harry. Thankfully, she has had no cause to, nor has she seen Harry meltdown in a wash of screams and tears. But, from our experience, that would be the likely result of that type of strong reprimand and so it was today. Harry is a self-conscious boy and seems to understand these types of severe moments and, I believe, cries out of embarrassment or self-disappointment as much as anything else. In our experience, he will, before too long, pull himself together and we'll try to give him credit for that. It's unclear how things were resolved at daycare, but it does seem as though the provider was as taken aback by Harry's reaction to the time-out as he was. If I understand correctly, after one minute of uncontrolled wailing, she rescued Harry from the crib.

Harry's mother says that she tried to talk about the incident with Harry on the way home and I know I brought it up at bedtime while we laid together on his bed. Harry didn't say too much other than a few attempts to quickly change the subject, but his squirming sure suggested he understood the nature of the discussion. I wasn't loud or angry, just resolute with unanswered questions about what happened and the suggestion that there are some things are very serious. At the time I could only hope that he understood a little of my advice.

Yet, today, when Harry's mother and I collected him from daycare and drove toward home, we got a pretty clear indication that Harry was, indeed, listening far more than he had let on. About half way on our five minute ride home Harry volunteered out of the blue and from the back seat that he was "all done throwing cars." He said it three times and his mother and I both said how pleased we were each time. Finally, Harry added the very insightful, for a two-year old, "still play with cars. All done throwing cars."

Wow, sometimes parenting can go OK.

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