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March 26, 2003 - Wednesday
I heard this before. Last week after I scolded Harry about something (I don't remember what), he told me, or perhaps it was himself that he told, that he was "a special boy." And, of course, he is a special boy and I've told him that before several times. It's positive reinforcement and something I know he appreciates. So, this morning I had to get mad, very mad, at him for pushing Jeremy into the closet wall and baseboard head first. Jeremy cried, I sat Harry on the floor very deliberately, then held Jeremy. Harry babbled out some random desire in a transparent effort to change the focus of the moment, but it did not work and I continued to insist that Harry remain where he was.

Oh, I'm sure that Harry didn't push Jeremy into the wall maliciously. They were being boys and playing in the closer, having a good time, but Harry needs to know that such careless actions have consequences and that he must be more careful and conscious of them.

It was in the aftermath of this incident, when Harry was still on the proverbial outside trying to regain a balance in our morning triumvirate, that he reminded me and himself that he was a "special boy." I did, on both occasions he has used this, get the sense that he was truly regretful of his actions. At some level, reminding himself and me that he is a "special boy" must be some way of saying that he's not all bad. The question is "what level?" Is he reminding me that he's not all bad even though he did a bad thing? Is he arguing that the bad thing doesn't matter so much because he's a special boy? Is he trying to make himself feel better? Or, is he just leveraging his increasing sense of language to better the moment? I, of course, do not know, but I wouldn't be surprised if the human mind, even the three-year-old human mind, could have a little sense of all of those possibilities at once.

And, to the positive, I should add that Harry has been very polite lately, saying things like "thank you," sharing extremely well with Jeremy (especially with snacks and the water bottle in the car), and saying "I'm sorry, daddy, I was [bad about this or that]," often some number of minutes after he's done something that wasn't so nice. He's clearly beginning to get a sense of this whole interpersonal relationship stuff.

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