Raina and I were at the library recently, and while she hugged an awfully ugly grey stuffed mouse (whom she loves and regularly visits at the lib.), we cuddled together and read a board book called "HUG" by Jez Alborough. The book's about a little chimp who sees mama elephant hugging baby elephant, mama hippo hugging baby, mama lizard with baby, you get the picture. Each time, the chimp points to them and says, "HUG!" A few frames later, the chimp looks sad because everyone's hugging and he wants one too. Soon, he starts to cry "HUG!" Next thing I know, these big, fat tears are plopping down my arm. "He wants a HUG!" wails my 3-year-old. "Why is he crying?"
I am speechless. "Err, he wants to get a hug from someone who loves him," I stutter. "Where is his MAMA?" she howls. "Right here," I say relieved, pointing to the next page. Mama Chimp yells "Bobo!" Baby Chimp yells back "Mama!" And they run towards each other and hug, very hindi movie style. Raina chuckles through her tears. All the animals hug each other, yelling "HUG!" one last time for good measure. The end.
We checked out the book at her insistence. She read it again, cried again. The third time she read it, she gave the book a hug to comfort Bobo. I am still nonplussed -- should I have read a book that obviously made her sad? Why did she want to read it again if it made her cry? Can kids that little be that empathetic? Is it good for them? I guess the third time she read it, she didn't cry and gave Bobo a hug. Is that about learning to control emotions and take action?
Am scratching my head over it.