I am not great with kids. When people ask me why did you become a teacher my response is nothing but sarcastic. “Because there’s too many stupid people in the world who piss me off and if I can stop the next generation from being dumb then so be it.” But I appreciate kids. They are so curious and at ease with the world. There’s a lot of qualities in kids that I wish I had. Thanks Dad, I grew up way too fast. My dad pressured me to perfection, to feel nothing, and to be the winner after all “Second place is just the first loser”. Now I am 24, anxious as all hell, anal retentive, and can’t say not one sentence without a mocking tone. But I think about what life would be like had my father not screwed me over.
I think I see it quite often in my neighbors daughter. She’s fast. The first time I’ll see her in the day I recognize her by her puff of hair passing by my window. She’s got this wild curly hair and stunning dark skin. She reminds me a lot of the Morenos of Puerto Rico. I hope for her sake her family likes her appearance because it is so unique and against the grain for Thai Culture. She’s nervous about getting to close to me and that’s fair, I was raised in the Stranger Danger Era. Anyway, I see her on her bike riding through the dirt, out-peddling the dogs and her cousin. But when her cousin catches her, he pushes her down into the dirt and steals her bike. She’s smart though. Cousin peddles around the house a couple of times and she won’t chase him. She waits patiently and cleans off the dirt, then as Cousin is taking another lap she steps out of hiding and gives him a taste of his own medicine. But she never continues riding. She just exacts her revenge and then goes home. She’s got spunk.
Later in the day I’ll watch Cousin play with the red ant hills in front of my house. He pokes at them and is amused when I spray bug killer at my door to stop them from retreating into my house and he laughs at my muttering some choice words in Spanish. Then like clock-work Negrito and Papito Chulo(my names for two of the stray dogs) come around hoping for some dinner scraps. Cousin is scared of Papito, with reason he’s a large lab with some battle scars. But Negrito is smaller, nervous and agile. Cousin goes up to Negrito and starts petting him then it quickly turns to hitting for no apparent reason. I look at Cousin disapprovingly and say “No” he looks at me with confused eyes, and I say it again. He’ll laugh and run away and again I’ll mutter in Spanish about the ants and how the kid just ran away.
One thing I appreciate about the children of Thailand is they demand no reasons. Every day I am asked something about me personally. Including but not limited to: “Why do you look like this?” “Why do you wrap your hair?” “Why do you have curly hair?” “Why are you this size?” The kids, they don’t care. They look at me with amusement as if I was a cartoon character. I love it. I love feeling them play with my hair or touch my skin when they accidentally find a tattoo. Given my height a lot of children will have to look up to me, and given the added height of my bun they look even higher. Always with amusement and I know they want to ask but I’m happy they don’t they just accept me as me.
I’m not good with kids. But I like them enough.