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November 3, 2005 - Thursday
Jeremy has been looking forward to this birthday for a long time, a few weeks at least. Last week he would ask about Halloween, but often add, "and then is my birthday after that, right?" On Halloween, he asked if his birthday was "the next day?" I think he knew it wasn't tomorrow. "Next day" isn't really meant to be taken literally, but rather as some time in the near future. "Tomorrow" is "after I sleep?"
"Your birthday is in three days. After you sleep will be one day, then there will be another day, and then the next day after that day is your birthday."
Tuesday he proved that he got it: "yesterday my birthday was three days, today is one day so now my birthday is in two days." Yesterday, he said his birthday was the next day, after he sleeps. Today he woke up happy and he was very excited all day. He's very good at being happy and so much fun to watch do it. Harry gets excited and a little manic, Jeremy is happy.

We had a little party to which Jeremy invited three of his "friends" from school; Katie, Bryan, and of course Julia. Unfortunately, Julia's mother called last evening to say that Julia had a high fever and would not be able to come. What would that mean to Jeremy? He has considered Julia his friend for more than a year, and played pretend games with Harry about her, but they almost never play together. Julia's mother said she still wanted to give Jeremy is present and since their house is right near Jeremy's school, he and I stopped there on the way home to pick it up and drop off Julia's art supply-party favors. When we got to Julia's house, she shyly ran and hid behind the sofa and never came out. (I do think she was really ill, but it makes me wondered how things would have gone had she not been.) She popped up and down a couple of times, but that was it. Jeremy, usually the shy one, did walk right in and over to the room Julia was said to be hiding. Was he troubled? Some times he can be fragile and it's just hard to know what goes on in his young mind. He seemed pretty happy about the decorated present Julia's mother handed him and that ultimately seemed to over shadow anything else.

The party of four kids, including Jeremy and Harry, was just great. It was small, but it was just right for Jeremy. The kids colored mugs and then used them with their dinner. They played with balloons, had cake, played with balloons as lightsabres (Katie didn't seem as interested in that and had more fun blowing up the balloons with the pump and releasing them) and opened presents. And Jeremy is still very good at opening presents. He's not as wide-eyed amazed and surprised at every gift as he was last year, but he's still excited and happy and that makes him fun to watch. It was all very happy and Jeremy really seemed to like it.

Then an interesting thing happened at bedtime. After we put him to bed, Jeremy started crying in his bed. He's does that before, but usually much louder and for a particular purpose. Tonight, rather than crying for his parents, he seemed to be crying to himself. His mother heard it as she was leaving and asked about it, but he just said he didn't know why he was crying. I heard him a few minutes later and went in to ask again. He said the same. I asked if he was disappointed about Julia not coming. He said "no" fairly convincingly. I asked if he was disappointed that his birthday was over. He said "no" but a little less convincingly. I asked if he was sad because he'd have to wait a whole year before he had another birthday. He said he didn't know, but the crying picked up a little.

I don't know if there's anything to gleen from that little story other than that Jeremy is an emotional boy. He's a logical boy, too, who's learning to count, but he wears his heart out on his sleeve and that's a lot different from his older brother. Jeremy is an artist, and so the drawing project at his party, he is an actor, and he is a cellist. And I think he is very proud of that (although it doesn't mean that he wants to practice every day) and loves picking out a "cello music" CD for the car ride to school every morning. He's a wonderfully sweet boy and he's a real pill. He still struggles with dinners, particularly foods that he does not really like. He goes off and cries about silly things, although I don't believe he's sincerely upset all that often. Mostly he's a joyful, easy-going boy who, at 4, is coming into his own.

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