Hugo and Jack are about three years apart, and crazy about each other most of the time. Jack is 16 months old and Hugo is pretty much the sun in his sky. Hugo can sometimes be mean to Jack in the usual big-brother way. Having been the recipient of teasing and beatings from my own big brother growing up, I always side with Jack. Of course at his age, you can’t blame him for anything. I always praise Hugo for being kind and patient with his little brother. But last week, they broke my heart.
Meet Truck. Hugo made Truck all by himself at a special art class in school. He wouldn’t even let me put it in his backpack for the trip home. But Truck is obviously fragile.
As I was driving home, I heard Hugo start to cry. Really cry. “No, Jack! Give it back to me!” In a fit of open-heartedness, Hugo passed Truck over to Jack. They were both strapped into car seats.
“Oh, sweetie. Why did you give him Truck?” I asked. It was rush hour and there was a good amount of traffic, but I was already looking for somewhere to stop.
“He reached out his hand for him. He wanted him!” and wailing as Jack began to dismantle Truck. “Give it back!”
“Babies aren’t good at that, honey. You can’t give them things that will break,” I said, finally stopping the car as Truck was reduced to his elemental form by Jack. I scooped up the pieces and put Truck back together, returning him to his maker.
I think that was the first time that Hugo was reduced to helplessness by his brother (but probably not the last – it looks like Jack is going to be a whole lot bigger than Hugo). And my emotional response was the same as it is when Hugo bullies Jack. I hope they grow up learning to be kind to each other most of the time.