March 12, 2002 - Tuesday
We went out to dinner!..with two kids!..and it was fun!..and not just fun because nothing went wrong. We'd been to the Outback Steakhouse with Harry before, but that was long ago before he was two and before there was Jeremy and I guess I hadn't remembered that they overtly try to be kid friendly.. I'm sure the waitress back then offered the kids crayons and coloring book, but Harry was too young and we'd forgotten the option. This time, Harry sat in a booster seat in the booth with us and had crayons within seconds. He smiled and I had a feeling things would be all right. It doesn't matter that he didn't actually use the crayons all that much - instead favoring the entertainment value of the packs of sugar and Equal (I eventually opened one sugar into his water, but that was the only one that was ever opened although Harry tried) and the straw-laden Styrofoam cup of ice and water - we were just happy he was happy. He even ate well. And, Jeremy, sweet calm Jeremy, was asleep or just looking around almost the entire time.
Still, while Harry readily acknowledged he "liked it," referring to the "special dinner," it wasn't the highlight of his day according to our bedtime discussion and our general understanding of Harry's interest. We had made it something of an afternoon with the boys by visited the local warehouse club and, on special request from Harry and with limited actual need, the Home Depot. Actually, his mother dropped Harry and me off while she took Jeremy looking for some new clothes and we just kind of meandered the big tall aisles of the store and display of lawn tractors. That might have been enough to make Harry content, but while we were waiting for his mother and brother in the pre-agreed paint aisle, an orange-apron clad Home Depot worker blocked off the other half of the aisle and boarded a forklift that Harry had been asking about just a few moments earlier.
It just so happened the last time Harry and I were at the local construction site there was an interesting new backhoe with a forklift attachment in place of the front bucket. I tried to explain to Harry what a forklift was for, but I'm sure his limited experiences thus far in life only offered a partial mental picture. I'd explained again there at the Home Depot, but here was the man about to drive it, lift the tines up high, and show Harry the answer to his latest construction equipment mystery. And, not only did the forklift do its job, but it collected a palette on the very top of the towering warehouse shelves while Harry had a front row seat. Some few moments after the palette was lowered all the way to the ground, another Home Depot man came to get the forklift although he was in no apparent rush. He saw Harry ogling the machine and drove it over toward where we waited for mother and Jeremy. He grinned and made the forklift do a little wave at Harry, an admittedly subtle gesture for Harry to pick up as a wave, but I told Harry that the man was playing silly and Harry seemed to understand that. Because, that's what we talked about at bedtime, with big smiles.