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January 29, 2002 - Tuesday
For more than a month when we talk at bedtime, Harry has been asking me "what'd daddy did?" It's his version of "what did daddy do today?" and he got it from me asking him the same question. I always try to answer thoughtfully, even though - or especially because - Harry usually doesn't answer when I ask. Back in December my answer often started with "today I went to the old house to do some work." Indeed, it was a busy time and I was away almost daily tending to some needed work and Harry seemed to notice I was gone a lot.

I don't know whether Harry doesn't understand the question completely when I ask it, although I suspect he does, but he's rarely given me a direct answer. I've often thought that maybe he just can't put into words the events of his day so I have typically ask him more specific questions based on what I know happened. Sometimes I find a topic that's of interest and sometimes not. But, back in December, Harry started regularly answering with "I went to the old house." Naturally, I wondered whether we were not actually communicating and if maybe the pronouns were getting in the way, so I'd say, "no, I, daddy, went to the old house." Still, it became an almost nightly ritual and as time went on I started treating it like the joke I'm near to believing it was all along. Harry would answer animatedly, "I WENT TO THE OLD HOUSE," and I'd laugh and say, "NO YOU DIDN'T, I went to the old house." After a while, Harry just started answering my query about his day with an emphatic and jolly "I WENT TO THE OLD HOUSE," and eventually it got to the point that I'd ask and we'd almost try to beat each other to the punch with a simultaneous "I WENT TO THE OLD HOUSE"/"NO YOU DIDN'T."

I haven't needed to be at the old house much since the beginning of January and so the joke has faded, but not completely. Every now and then when I ask Harry about his day, if he's in a particularly devious mood, he'll still scream out as fast as he can. "I WENT TO THE OLD HOUSE."

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