My mother runs a daycare out of her house. She has done this since I was in elementary school. We have had many children come and go; the first child we ever took is 17 and graduating from high school. Some of these children I have been very close with, others brought a lot of joy to my life but have not been lasting connections. Then there are the ones who seem to live to give me grief.
I essentially moved out of my parents house when I began college in 2004, only living at home for holidays. By 2006 I lived independently full time in various dorms and apartments. My husband moved in with me in 2008 after we became engaged. However, once we began the immigration process it became clear that we could not pay all the fees and live independently. Consequently, we moved into my parents’ basement.
One of the greatest joys and greatest annoyances of living at home was the kids at the daycare. As always, there were those children with whom I developed very close bonds. Then there was one little boy I was not close to at all. Primarily because he couldn’t stand me.
This little kiddo would scream any time I tried to play with him, feed him, or help him. He would hit me and kick me if he felt that I was too close. Sometimes he would even try to poke me in the eyes if I was playing with a kid he wanted to play with or if I was holding a toy he wanted.
Despite this, if my husband was in the room, this kid was an angel. Well, to my husband, I mean. Little Diablo thought my husband walked on water, I swear. His face would light up the moment he saw Salvador and he would do anything he could to monopolize Salvador’s time. Including attacking me if I was too close or taking attention away from Diablo.
My husband ate this up. He seemed to find nothing wrong with Diablo’s bad behaviors so long as Diablo treated him like God. I consider this a giant red flag for if we ever have children.
So Salvador would do whatever Diablo wanted. Diablo wants to touch the ceiling? Sal lifts him up and lets him. Diablo wants to play with something other than what has been assigned for the hour? Sal gets it off the shelf. Diablo, as Sal put it, was his “best little buddy.” However, when Diablo wanted Sal to read him books, he was unable to do so.
From the moment we began dating, I encouraged Sal to work on reading in English (with my assistance); he never bothered. He could speak it well enough to communicate when we met and progressed throughout our time together, but he had no interest in reading or writing. Nothing I said could convince him.
Then Diablo asked for him to read “The Foot Book”. When this happened, I thought to myself, “Well, I guess Diablo will not get what he wants for once.”
To my surprise, that night Sal came downstairs holding “The Foot Book”. He sat next to me on the couch and said, “I want you to teach me to read this.”
So we began working on phonics and word solving skills. By the end of the week, Sal was reading “The Foot Book” and “In a People House” to Diablo (and all the other little kids who found this fascinating). From there, he began reading other Dr. Seuss books such as “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish”, completely without my help.
On the day we left for Mexico, the kids all gathered around him to say goodbye. Little Diablo was holding “The Foot Book” in hopes of one last read. Time did not allow for it; we had a plane to catch.