When I was a month old, my mom had to go back to work. Our family was scraping by. Both of my parents worked in order to pay the bills. We were living next door to my fraternal grandmother, Bà Nội. I was a hard child to take care of. I would not stop crying until my mom came home. No one wanted to watch me. I had a reputation of having the most horrible cry in the whole neighborhood.
Bà Nội often visited a neighbor, Bà Đức, down the street to chat or gossip. “Ông” and “Bà” means Mr. and Mrs. in Vietnamese. One day, Bà Nội complained about me to Bà Đức. She shared how difficult for my mom to find someone to babysit me for 6 to 8 hours straight. To Bà Nội’s surprise, Bà Đức said “Bring your granddaughter to me.” Bà Nội did not know that Bà Đức had an interesting dream the night before.
During that time, Bà Đức did not have any children.
In Bà Nội’s point of view, Bà Đức and her husband, Ông Đức, would never want to have any children and let alone babysit one. Bà Nội was only venting her troubles. Bà Nội decided to agree to Bà Đức’s request just to see what would happen next. The next day Bà Nội brought me over to Bà Đức’s home. Bà Đức and I instantly bonded. From then on, Ông and Bà Đức took care of me while my parents were at work.
Nine months after I was born, my mom was pregnant with a fourth child. My family began to prosper. When I was one, my parents moved us to our very own house in Bình Thạnh. The new home was a driving distance from Bà Đức’s home. The fourth child was born. My mom hired a live-in nanny to take care of all of her children. My parents no longer needed Ông and Bà Đức’s service.