I had a home water birth about two months ago at the height of the COVID-19 lockdown in Manila. It was to my second child whom we named Ohr.
My first daughter is named Kala, and my story right now is about the nature of her 2-year old consciousness as she recently faced an existential crisis upon having to deal with the fact that she is not anymore the only child in our small family.
Kala’s jealousy to Ohr was extreme. She experienced a very intense resentment that I prioritize now Ohr’s needs over her own. There was something about the breasts as her then-source of nutrition that she didn't want to share. I understood then that Kala’s consciousness was too young to understand why Ohr had to exist in her own world, which to me meant, Kala’s self-oriented universe was being shaken at the roots of its mental structure, the very foundations of where it sources her sense of security.
The first month was incredibly difficult for me and Kala in her jealousy. I was forced to think of giving her a project after a month, which prompted me to ask what curriculum looks like for a two-year old girl. Her adjustments were quite intense, she was crying non-stop on the first weeks. She clearly didn’t want to share mommy or daddy. It was therefore an intense process for me and my partner Dodi, and the whole family in general, so we felt it was important to design a program that might help shift the stable family patterns on which Kala’s world had rested safe and secure. We knew it was important to address everything Kala was going through emotionally within the program.
Just a week ago, it came to me through a story that felt came from an unknown yet familiar place, outside yet inside of me. A creation myth that wasn’t just a story for a two-year old mind, but a narrative that spoke deeply to my own being. The story went like this:
“In the first days of creation, Inang Mundo (Mother Earth) and Amang Langit (Father Sky) had a one child whose name was Araw (Sun). In the world where only Araw was there, his power was much stronger over the sky and the earth. There were no people yet then, through there were beings that lived on the earth. They are the being before humans. For these beings, everyday there was no rest, all of them were awake 24 hours a day until they pleaded to Mother Earth and Father Sky, they wanted to rest.
Because the beings were tired from working without stopping, Mother Earth and Father Sky created another child whom they named Buwan (Moon). At first, Araw was not happy that there were now two children of Earth and Sky. So Araw got angry at his father, which created these solar flares in the sky. He threw tantrums at his mother out of jealousy, which resulted in fires in the land. And he got angry at Buwan, that they would fight over the light which resulted in eclipses. Until eventually, through their spending more time together being siblings, they found between them a common understanding of sharing.
When they learned to do this,Sky and Earth decided that they would divide the day into two parts, whereby Sun will be the powerful King during daytime and Moon would become the Queen during the night (although gender doesn’t seem important here, as the Sun may also be the Queen during day and the Moon could be King of the night).
And from then on, Araw and Buwan would play along the Sky and Earth chasing after one another.”
I made this a parallel story with what was happening with Kala so she might internalize her sense of self within the design of the story that passed through me.
Then something interesting happened. We were having lunch with Dodi’s father, Lolo Joel, when he told us about this informative documentary he recently watched called "Alien Moon". The documentary was about the theory that there was once existed a time on earth when it was moonless. Of course, I started laughing at the synchronicity. I already saw this from inside me, so I told Lolo about the story that I created for Kala. I haven’t watched the documentary yet but I will probably watch it in the coming days.
This story about Araw and Buwan is a pedagogical event that certainly holds up a mirror in which Kala finds herself borne into the world founded on cause and effect. From her two-year old eyes, the experience of black and white, night and day are not just symbolic but real. The magical properties of story initiates her consciousness in abstract and concrete reality, helping her work with realities of this world on simple narrative terms, which she later can build upon. Now, Kala says "Dede (breasts) is for Ohr now" and sometimes calls me from the kitchen if her brother is crying and would want to be breastfed.
In the mind of every child, a Creation Myth feels like a necessary entry, yet what is interesting is that I also felt this story inside of me, as if I myself was there, at a time when the earth didn’t have a moon. There’s a lot of parallelisms in how Sun, Moon, Earth and Sky personify dualities that exist in my own world, the world of a grown-up woman, a mother who still holds that small child inside her. It somehow feels that these beings inside me, the overworked and struggling beings that needed a night to rest their exhaustions, their fatigues.
After Dayaw shared this, she sent it to a friend named Cherry, who replied to Dayaw with this email:
Thank you so much, Nanay (mother) for sending me Alien Moon and sharing with me your journey with Kala and Ohr. Many women around me have shared their own experiences as well having two children. When you sent me the link I read it immediately and related to it so quickly because me and Agos were also going through the same thing with regards to Lakbay.
When I was reading the story I felt like I was daydreaming, so many visions came to my mind as I also deeply felt Agos as Araw and Lakbay as Buwan. I was also trying to process how I will share the story to Agos because I don't know sometimes if she fully understands me whenever I tell her about the changes that are happening in our family. She just usually cries whenever I try to tell her things about Lakbay.
Last night, Lakbay slept early so I had time to focus on Agos. I took the opportunity and told her the Alien Moon story. While I was so immersed in my own storytelling, I just saw Agos silently sleeping already. I wish it's always like that because before, she would throw tantrums right before going to bed. I had peace that night.
I thought that was the end of the story. But when I went to bed, I dreamt of Alien Moon.
The dream was simple, it focused on Araw's tantrums. I saw myself as Inang Mundo (Mother Earth) whose breasts were volcanoes about to explode because that's how I feel whenever I'm so tired of Agos' behavior. There were some other parts I couldn't remember, but the highlight of the dream was when I finally found peace in every sunset and moonrise. It's like, I'm just there, in the middle of Araw and Buwan. I look at Araw giving way for Buwan to rise from the horizon.
When I woke up, I felt so light. In reality, this is my and Agos' favorite time of the day in Liwa. Every sunset, we go by the beach just to breathe and then see the moon rise up. This keeps me sane and grounded to bear the process with Agos. I realized that what she's going through is temporary and she will fully accept some day.
The next day, it was a struggle again with the whole Agos and Lakbay dynamics, but I saw Agos interact gently with her baby sister more that day.