Sunday, September 17, 2006

Family files

So one day Luna goes swimming. At least that's what she calls it.

She was with her cousins and though it rained hard that day, nothing would deter her from taking the nice cool dip.

Kids being kids, and cousins being close cousins, I don't think they would've minded if we had arrived in a crowded place and the different pools looked more like swirling glasses of dirty martinis with yelping, giggling tiny children inside instead of olives, but the pool wasn't packed and the waters actually looked and stayed clear and blue and the fact warmed the hearts of the parents.

Luna didn't really like Tatay crowding her space and following her around with a camera. But it didn't take long before she settled down and switched to a familiar mode; just have fun and ignore dad, he'll get tired of bugging people.

It helped that we brought the two bathing suits that she picked out before the trip (it feels like she's been picking her own clothes from the time she managed to lift something between her thumb and forefinger...). Having boiled out of the car with her cousins, giddy at the thought of what the whole day would bring, the girls among them ran around the parking lot a bit and talked about the games they would play and the suits they would wear and how their hair looked like when wet.

Once Luna saw the waters shimmering, she clammed up and grew a silly smile on her face -- a quiet delight at all the fun she'd be having all morning and afternoon. She was with her cousins after all, and while she'd go on her own initially, she would later romp and paddle around and splash everyone silly.

Her parents were prepared for the long haul, thankfully. Two books each, the i-Pod and a couple of magazines. And beer. Dear cold beer... The whole time, it was mostly swimming for Kala and Maki, however, including big brother Budoy. All I did was wade with a cold beer in hand and mostly read the books we brought along with Papalolo (Nestor Pulido, a.k.a. Kala's dad and the kids' grandfather; the kids actually call their grandmum Mamalola -- and how they ended up with such names I can't recall right now; it deserves a little historical research later).

There were lazy white chairs to loll around in under the shade of huge umbrellas, which we discovered later when the torrent of rain came were not waterproofed. I was too lazy to do more than just walk Luna around the place and wade and watch the kids, but Kala did herself a favor by enjoying the waters and splashing with the young brood. Yayang's kids were there in full force; Miggy was there and so was Megan and Sophie. And with Luna there was kuya Rio. And of course Maki's adorable Icia.

Sophie and Luna are the closest in terms of age and playtime and they do play a lot together, but sometimes Luna just wants to play on her own. Maybe it's because she's just turning four in November and maybe because she has a different way of imagining play. I don't really know; she's just a joy to watch. The most curious things delight her.

Luna has her own way of creating fun or curling up on a pillow or blanket or her parent's lap. Or getting into one of those foul moods. Whatever her disposition is, it is her own. She has little time for gray stuff. It's always a choice between insane hilarity or pure sugar, iconic silliness or a tantrum that can cause an airport to shutdown.

Her normal stuff is just sweet. Like her kuya, Luna loves reading and loves drawing and painting even more.

Before she sleeps Kala and I often have to debate with her why bringing a pile of ten books to bed is a gross violation of both the spirit and letter of the law which states "Hey Lunalu, it's time to sleep na" followed by "Ok, ok, ok let's read to help you sleep." And then a little girl reaches down to the floor and comes up with a restrained smile and a pile of books.

Anything that makes her use her hands makes her happy. All of tatay's colored pencils, aquarelle sticks, pastel crayons and sign pens. Paint brushes and erasers and glue sticks. Kuya Rio's school pencils. Scissors that help her make envelopes and what she calls invitations, which are actually paintings or sketches she's made that she folds and places within the newly crafted envelope. It really feels at times as if Luna does get into conversations with Chagall.

Regarding stories of being different without trying to, Luna has lots to share.

Her all time favorite movies are movies she watches over and over on the DVD. These are Ice Age and Ice Age 2 -- in Cantonese.

She has a name for each of her toy animals -- lion is called "Lion," and the tiger is "Tiger" and a doggie is "doggie" and a dolphin is called "Dolphin." If a toy horse is brown, then it's "Brown Horse" and if a bear is green, she calls it "Green Bear."

Her dolls, she calls them Barbie and Winx Club and Robot and Baby. Everyone's tried to give a few names, Rio especially since he finds Luna's naming method funny, but it seems to violate some Generics Law and Luna just rechristens her doll or toy based on its naturally assigned phylum.

One time I was writing an article and was in the middle of an intense wrestling match with an idea when Luna peers into my computer and sees a news story about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad along with a photo showing the Iranian president beaming and waving both arms upward.

Luna wrinkles her brow and says "Ah?" then smiles back at Mr. Mahmoud and waves and says "Hi there" to the Iranian chief.

Another time, on the way to her Community of Learners School, a huge cement mixer passed by our vehicle.

Luna turns to me and asks, "Ano yon Tatay? What's that?" I reply, "Cement mixer ang tawag sa kanya." It's a cement mixer.

She follows up and asks "Ano mix nya?" What does it mix?

"Cement. Semento," I reply.

Luna says "Ah. What color is it?"


"What's the color of semento?"

"Gray," I tell her.

Luna asks, "Anong lasa ng semento Tatay?" What does cement taste like?

"Do you want to taste it," I ask her.

"No!" Luna shrieks. "No way. Ewwww!"

Why, I ask.

"It's not cooked," replied the indignant little girl. #

All photos by Red. Aside from the individual Luna photos and the lone pic of Rio, the first group photo shows Rio with his Uncle Bodie (Kala's brother) in the middle and Miggy, Yayang's eldest, in the foreground. The group pic after that shows Rio naughtily pushing off the slide two of Yayang's kids -- Sophie and Megan -- and their caregiver Jing. The next pic is Kala's sister Maki on a water slide with her daughter Icia. Then of course there's Tatay with Luna and Mama holding a tired daughter, and Luna all dressed up and ready for another adventure.


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