When Daniel was angry he would forget to use his indoor voice and he would demonstrate marvelous balance while kicking. 'I no kick him, he take my truck, so I make "HIYA!"' , he'd show me, hair falling into his dark eyes flashing and little sneaker snaking out in perfect sequence, one-two-three times.

If Daniel was 20 instead of two, I would have been in love with him. Instead he was my favorite, and I was the teacher assigned to calm him down on his worse days. There was nothing wrong with Daniel, besides for him being a guy through and through, and one of Miss C.'s least favorite students. Daniel was the quintessential boy; exactly like the son I hope to have some day. Tough, caring, rambunctious and smart. Like a fox. And as honest as they came, too. The big tough guy with the soft heart in our class of two-year olds was Daniel, rugged in jeans and curls.

The last month of school, Daniel was reacting to offenses more roughly than usual, and at the same time becoming more dependant, asking for hugs when he used to dust off his hands and bound away. His sister was in the hospital and his mother wasn't home very much. There was nothing he wanted other than to be heard, so we listened. Then his sister passed away and we needed to make a condolence call, a week after school had ended.

In a quiet house filled with hushed mourners, we sat near his mother and I almost died, at a total loss for words. Bless Daniel for saving us both. He pounded over to me and yanked on my hand. 'Come, Miss Jane', tugging me into the bedroom. In middle of all the grief, the room was still just a children's bedroom, messy and strewn with toys, clothes. 'This my bed, and this Talia's bed and here the books, read me a book.'

And there was no way to tell him that Talia wasn't coming home. There was nothing to do except give him the love and attention he deserved, so I read to him.