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December 16, 2003 - Tuesday
Harry is four and he is a boy. Like a little boy, he is often loud and sometimes obnoxious,doing silly things and almost constantly making silly noises. Often times these days, I'm reminded of an offhand comment a cousin made at a party a couple of years ago where there were a lot of young kids running around, many the age Harry is now. He said he loved kids this age because they can be so "completely crazy," meaning so free with their imagination and so uninhibited by convention. I disagreed with him then and the left side of my brain, that side that thinks logically and logistically, still disagrees with him now. Harry's like that sometimes. But, I do so love this boy.

Increasingly now, Harry is reminding me of pieces of my own childhood. I know a lot of kids do this, but I used to like to lick the candles and I can still remember trying to eat the frosting but not the cake. I guess as I got a little older I ate all the cake out from the center first, carving it out from the F shape of the frosting thus saving all the frosting for last. I look at Harry deliberately choosing which candy to eat from his bag and I remember doing much the same. And when Harry is introverted and solemn, I remember that, too. That's not to say that I want Harry to be like me; indeed, in many ways, perhaps most, I do not. Yet, the little similarities are charming and help remind a parent what it was like being a child.

But, that's not why I love Harry. I love that he's interesting and interested. He likes stories, trains, puzzles, drawing, balls, and cars and all kinds of things that little boys usually like, but I love his intensity. I love that he likes stories that are more complicated and in depth, and not at all because they're most interesting for an adult to read (because I love reading to Jeremy, too, with the same short and simple books as I once read to Harry), but because the longer stories ultimately expose more of Harry mind. I love that Harry is excited about learning to read himself and to write his name, even if he's sometimes coy. I love that, aside from the silly word games they play ("Jeremy, am I nice?" "No" "Jeremy says I'm not nice.") and aside from the occasional normal sharing issues, Harry is a wonderful big brother. The boys play together a lot of the time, and Harry's general very good to Jeremy. I love when he's happy, which is often, although I love, too, that he can also be pensive and reflective. I love that he's surprisingly (to us anyway) smart and aware of that which is around him. I love that he knows directions in the car. I love that he remembers and reminiscences about things things we've done and places we've been. I love when I see him trying so hard to a kind boy, even while the mania of four can make him seem otherwise. And mostly, I suppose, I love mostly him just because he is my son and because we have so intimately share four years together with both of us struggled to teach and learn from his other.

A couple of weeks ago Harry was trying to get my by feigning frustration and begging "can you help me?" I explained how asking nicely would be a much better way to have people want to play with him. Now, we hear a constrant and very polite stream of "dad/mom, did you want to play [this game] with me?" It's annoying , I suppose, to hear anything over and over again, but it's a marked improvement from the old way. And, the thing is that, were adult life not in the way, it would be wonderful to do things with Harry all the time because he is such a curious, intelligent, fun, little boy.

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