Chapter two was an interesting chapter that involved a lot of action rather than description. From negotiating with terrorists to giving Ruben Iglesias stitches, this chapter set the stage for how the terrorists were going to handle their negotiations and their hostages. I found it interesting how they were kind enough to allow the civilians to use the facilities and even chatter for a bit. They created such a calming environment that at times the hostages felt so comfortable that they desired for the police to go home so that they could just sleep; “All they wished was for the men outside to go home, turn off the bullhorns, and let them all have a night’s sleep on the floor.”
As the story unfolds and we gain insight on the terrorists, we also gain insight on the Iglesias’. We learn more about Ruben’s family and that he has three children with his wife; two girls and a young boy. We are also then introduced to Esmeralda. Esmeralda is a beautiful young woman who works for the Iglesias’ as their live-in nanny, or governess. As I continued to read I noticed a special connection between Esmeralda and the children. When Ruben had to leave his children and wife to answer the door, Patchett wrote “The governess, Esmeralda, stayed with them” implying she was the one to look after the children during his absence. I found this interesting because why would Patchett imply Esmeralda would be the one to tend to the children even when the mother is sitting right there. Another strange subtle remark that Patchett made was when Esmeralda was called away to aid Ruben. “As soon as she was gone, his son, Marco, who was just a little boy of four, cried in agony, as he believed the hired girl to be his own mother.” I find her choice of words interesting. Patchett is emphasizing that this woman is not only a mother to Marco, but she is just a hired girl. The word hired to me makes it sound more like a job rather than a relationship. This young boy’s foundation of a relationship with a motherly figure is based on payments that could at any point be ended. This lead me to do research on the effects of full-time, live-in nannies who raise other’s children.
Later in the chapter Ruben has a flashback to a memory of Esmeralda sitting under a tree with his children, pouring them tea while Marco sat on her lap. Then he had a memory of her walking through the hallway putting their children to sleep, saying goodnight, and telling them no more water and to close their eyes. The first memory sounds like a family picnic, but without the family. How can children be raised by a woman who is forced to play mommy and daddy while their real mother and father are alive and well? The latter memory sounds like something a loving, yet tentative mother would do for her children. As a child, being tucked in by both of my parents was my favorite part of the day; these children do not even get one.
Having grown up as an only child who was spoiled with attention, I was interested in doing research on children like the young Iglesias’ and found Renee Septimus.
Renee Septimus was raised by a housekeeper that took care of her and her siblings at an early age of one years old and left when Septimus was eighteen. Even though Vi, the housekeeper, did not live with them, she worked for them six days a week from 8:30 in the morning to 8:30 at night after dinner was made, served, and all cleaned up. Septimus made a revealing comment about how she felt growing up without her parents’ support; “I felt, even at a young age, that I did not come ‘first’ with my parents. I intuited that my grandmother and my father’s business were prioritized over me. I now believe that not feeling important, not feeling ‘first’ to my parents, was not good for my emotional development and contributed to my being a shy, insecure, timid child” (Septimus).
To get a better psychological understanding of Renee, Esmeralda, and the Iglesias children, I turned to deeper research.
A useful article I found by Uche Ikpa made many fair points brought up the fact that dangerous trends can form from by parents being absent in the raising of their children. “…you see parents leaving their children even when the child is still sleeping, and coming back in the night – sometimes when the child is in bed. I know these trends because I have worked as a nanny… You find parents who only want to have children, but avoid the responsibility of raising their children…Even the rich have excuses. They hire nannies and abandon their children for others to raise.” Ikpa goes on to then make the point of how allowing someone else to raise your child, especially during their crucial first five year of life, behind your back can lead to harmful effects. “For example when I was a nanny in California, I met a woman who was a nanny in the pack with a little baby. She was smoking heavily….The woman who has that baby may not have had time to check her references thoroughly, or she might have lied she does not smoke. The child was absorbing the whole smoke. After a little while, that child will develop lung problems or cancer.” Allowing another individual raise your child also allows your child to be raised under their habits, influences, and morals despite whether or not they match up with your own. (Ikpa)
Ikpa then discussed the psychological effects of leaving your child with another individual. When one does not create a bond with his or her child, especially within infants and toddlers, that child will grow up with a hunger for attention in their adulthood. “Most children born today have no bonding to parents. They sense parents don’t care for them because they are not there for them, so they get bonded with peers outside the home, or anybody that can offer caring attitude and love. These are reasons why children join gangs, are abducted, killed and raped. It is their desire for bonding.” Even though parents think that leaving their children with another individual is how they show they are laboring to support them, in reality the best support they could have given them was their presence. (Ikpa)
In conclusion, I feel as though Esmeralda’s presence is a harmful aspect to the Iglesias family despite the fact she may have saved Ruben’s life by stitching up his cheek. No matter the circumstance or how much money a person has, the parents should be the one to raise a child, not matter how motherly, affectionate, and loving the nanny is, because in the end all children crave genuine attention from their parents, not from those who are paid to give it to them.
Ikpa, Uche. “Take Time to Raise Your Children: Don’t Leave Your Responsibility As Parents For Others to Do.” Cambridge Community Television. N.p., 31 Oct. 2013. Web. 09 Sept. 2015.
Septimus, Renee. “Do Kids Raised by Nannies Really Turn Out OK?” Kveller. N.p., 16 July 2012. Web. 09 Sept. 2015.