June 9, 2002 - Sunday
Harry seemed to have such a fun day today. Uncle Ben, Aunt Lisa, and Chloe came and I had set up a projector in the living room to watch the finals of the French Open. The first thing Harry did when Ben walked in was to show him the new "big TV." In the afternoon, Harry went for a walk with everyone and then played outside. After they left we had a light dinner outside on the deck with the umbrella open. But then just before bedtime, things seemed to go south quickly. Maybe it was the lack of continuing excitement, maybe it was that he was hitting the wall with fatigue after a busy day, but Harry started whining and eventually bit his mother on the forearm as she was finishing his bath. I didn't know what had happened, but I had heard some trouble and as I went to Harry's room for our usual bedtime ritual she was sitting on his bed telling Harry that she didn't want to be with him if he was going to act like that. Then, as she came out his bedroom and met me in the hall, she frustratedly asked what she should do about his insolent behavior, thinking she had not done enough. I asked what. She told me he had bitten her.
I went to Harry and did not lie down as I usually do. I stood looking at him and don't remember exactly what I said, but it wasn't much. I don't think I even spoke about the biting, maybe I did. I didn't really have the facts at that point. So, I just stood there trying to figure out what to do. Harry didn't tell me to lie down as he usually would do to turn things around in this type of situation if he thought I was mad.
"I want mommy." I took that to mean he thought I was mad.
"I don't think mommy wants to be with you if you're was going to bite her."
"I want mommy," said again.
That's a bit strange, I thought. He wouldn't really want mommy as a way to get away from me if he thought she was mad, too. "Did you want to tell mommy you were sorry?"
"I do want mommy."
"Do you want to go tell mommy you're sorry?" I asked again for reinforcement. Harry was already climbing out of his bed.
I took his hand on the chance that this might be some sort of counter-bedtime strategy. We walked into our room where she was nursing Jeremy. With no more prompting Harry quickly and overtly said "sorry," his lower lip stuck out, his brow furrowed. His mother was clearly caught off guard and, really, so was I. I could not have scripted it or rehearsed it better. He did it himself and he was contrite. His mother reached for him, although she was still feeding Jeremy. I urged him forward a little and she gave him a one-armed hug and told him she loved him and I took Harry back to his room. I decided I couldn't add anything to want had just happened. Harry showed he understood it as well as I could expect. We started talking about other happy things.