Maybe we both misbehaved at the library, but this is about Go. We’ve been to the library three times since we reduced Hugo’s school days to three per week. He loves the children’s library from last year when his babysitter brought him at least once a week. He reunited with some friends and the librarian knows him well. And they have a train table.
Trains are Hugo’s favorite thing, and he has been known to be a little possessive of them. He did really well with sharing prior to today! I thought going to school had cured him of his bit of toddler aggression. Really quick summary of that – around 1 year old he would hug his peers, at 18 months he would push them. Then he went to school at 20 months and his teacher assures me that he gets along well with everyone and will take turns with favorite toys.
Today there was no one at the train table when we arrived. Hugo grabbed an armload of his favorite trains and built a track on the table. All was peaceful. A one year old and his grandmother watched without trying to join in. Then an older boy arrived and tried to play. Hugo yelled “No!,” and grabbed the train from the boy’s hands. He was taken aback and started to cry. I was mortified. Two more older boys (maybe 4 years old?) came over and started to play. Hugo yelled “No! That’s MY train!” and ripped it out of the boy’s hands. This boy was strong and confident in his sense of what’s fair at the train table and took it back from Hugo.
I said “Hugo! No!,” each time he did something inappropriate but I could see he was mad. And I avoided making eye contact with the other adults. I took him aside and told him they weren’t his trains, they belonged to everyone and also we would go home if he couldn’t share. He pushed other kids’ trains off the track he made. He argued with a little boy’s mom and tried to yank the box of trains out of her hands.
Story time arrived and all the other children filed into the meeting room to hear a story. Hugo stayed at the train table, as usual then moved on to play with other toys.
Somehow there were no other two year olds at the library today, so Go appeared extra selfish and unruly. The grandmother of the one year old avoided eye contact when I tried to talk to her later, and swooped down to rescue the baby when he toddled over to play with something Hugo had. I’d like to think Hugo would not have yelled at the baby but I guess better safe than sorry?
He did eventually bring me into the meeting room and “read” me a couple of books before deciding it was time to go and bolting up the stairs. He’s proud of his degree of autonomy at the library, where he knows where everything is and can move from room to room and floor to floor unassisted. I think we’ll be taking a break for a little while, unless his behavior was just because there were no other children there when we arrived?
The mom of one of the older boys went out of her way to say goodbye to me, which made me feel better. I wonder if it’s possible for Go to suddenly become a gracious playmate or if he’ll always be gritting his teeth with jealousy or possessiveness when he plays with other kids.
One thing I find fascinating is how other kids will make eye contact with me when Hugo does something wrong before they retaliate or protest. Children are so smart!