Just a warning: this is a longish post, but PLEASE read it as I am really looking for advice.
So this morning Grasshopper and I attended our monthly MOMS Club officers meeting. These always consist of us moms sitting around a table trying to plan all that needs planning for our group while the kids run amuck. We take turns leaping from the table to stop little fingers from being slammed in piano lids and the like, and also doling out snacks since toddlers cannot go more than 15 minutes without a snack, apparently.
Today, one of our members ( a woman I'm crazy about & who always makes me laugh) needed to bring her older son (age 5 1/2) since kindergarten doesn't start back until tomorrow. Her younger son (age almost 3) is an absolute doll and one of my favorite kids to expose Grasshopper to. Having this older boy (who I'm going to call Earl) attend greatly changed the group dynamic.
The kids who attend our meeting usually bring a handful of toys each so that things are not too terribly boring for them while they wait for us moms to decide what we want to do next month. Before Grasshopper and I came he loaded up some toys, specifically four of his small Cars (the movie) race cars that are prized possessions into his backpack. As Grasshopper is 2, we regularly have conversations about sharing. I told him that he had to share these toys with his buddies or nobody was going to get to play with them, including him. He acknowledged his understanding, and off we went.
For the first little while, Grasshopper was pretty good about sharing his toys, even Lightning McQueen, the be-all end-all race car. But then Earl got ahold of all 4 of Grasshopper's cars and was refusing to part with any of them for my child. I intervened and suggested that they each play with two of the cars, but Earl wasn't having any of that. At this point his Mom noticed what was going on and sent him off to play with something else and an admonishment about how he is a big boy and knows better.
After a few more sharing-related issues, I made the decision to pack up all of Grasshopper's toys because I was sick of hearing about who had possession of what. I had Grasshopper help me put his toys into the backpack and then I sat with it in my lap for the rest of the meeting.
Soon thereafter I was approached by Earl who said, "Your son just took that car from Sally!" Pointing behind me to where Grasshopper was indeed playing with a little blue car, but no child named Sally seemed to have a problem with it. I said, "Well Earl, I didn't see what happened, but if Sally wants the car then perhaps she should ask Grasshopper for it."
Earl walked away and I attempted to return my attention to the meeting. But that niggling Mom-sense had me swiveling in my seat repeatedly to see what was happening behind me, which as it turns out was this:
Andy (Sally's 3 year old brother) attempting to rip the car from Grasshopper's hands while being encouraged by Earl.
Andy succeeding in taking the car from Grasshopper by shoving him violently to the floor.
Earl standing over my fallen son and telling Andy, "That's right, you SHOW HIM!"
This is uncharted territory for me Dear Internets, and I'm wondering how best I might have handled it? What is a mother to do in this situation? Do I confront that kid? Turn to his mother? Ignore it because bullying is an unfortunate fact of life?
Please help me readers, I need your comments.