I don't have night time habits to help me sleep.
Growing up, my mom would force us to sleep at around 9PM and would scold us if we weren't asleep by 10PM especially on a school night.
My brother and I slept in the same room, so at some point, we even asked her to read us Funny Komiks to help us sleep at night, but that didn't last long, and it really didn't help much because we actually finished reading that issue of the comics.
As I grew older, my mom became more lenient with my bedtime and eventually had a TV set up in our room.
When I got my own room, Wave 89.1's Dreamsounds was my go-to sleep companion, so I had to sleep before 12 midnight or else all I would hear is static.
|I had something close to this, but I can't find a picture of the actual thing it as it's long gone.
Now that I'm a dad, we've been experimenting on what sleeping habits we can help Vino create.
The default is nursing, but when Che's not around, I can't replicate that. At times, Ate Jen, our helper, would be able to get him to sleep while she carried and danced as Vino rested her head on her shoulder.
However, when we went home to the Philippines and Che had to go on a business trip for a while, Vino's pattern changed.
He seems to be able to relax at the sound of car engines, and would sleep while riding a car. For the days when Che wasn't at home, I drove him around until he fell asleep.
Since then, Vino didn't want to be carried to sleep anymore.
But one night, when Che had a late dinner, I closed the lights and told him stories.
|The boy loves books. Hopefully he keeps it up.
It was then that I realized that I knew of fairy tales, but I didn't know them by heart.
I knew Peter Pan lived in Neverland, but at the top of my head, I didn't know why Captain Hook was so angry at him and how he took Wendy and her brothers back to their home.
I knew that Sleeping Beauty bit an apple from the Queen who kept asking her magic mirror "who's the fairest of them all?" but I didn't know how she ended up with the seven dwarves.
I knew Rapunzel lived in a tall tower, but because of Tangled, I'm not quite sure what happened in the fairy tale I grew up knowing about.
I drew blanks when Vino asked for more stories. Then I had to dig deep and tell him stories that I knew about - the plot of Ghost Fighter which I just finished watching on Netflix, a little bit of Dragon Ball, and eventually, the plot of One More Chance, which I apparently know by heart.
The last one did the trick for him that night, but when he's sleeping next to his mom, he would always default to nursing.
I had to dig deep to try and remember stories, with or without lessons, that I remember being told to me as I grew up.
My Dad's Province Life
My dad lived with 12 other siblings in the province, so it's not surprising that they would have some crazy times together.
One day, they had coconuts, and opened it using a large bolo knife.
|We call it, "itak"|
After everyone had their fill, their eldest brother raised it up and asked "who will bring this back to the kitchen?"
No one answered.
Irritated, he let go of the knife and let it fall to the floor.
Unfortunately, it fell directly on his foot.
When I told Vino this story, I said that this is why you have to be careful when handling sharp objects.
Another story involved my dad and two of his brothers.
They were riding a carabao in the fields one day and decided that they wanted to have some fun.
|Not the same carabao, obviously, but imagine how old my dad
and his brothers were if 3 of them fit on this guy's back.
They pulled the carabao's tail to make it go faster, and it did. However, it unexpectedly went downhill through a garden of roses, scratching their legs in the process.
Bloodied and tired as they hung on to the carabao, they had to wait for it to stop on its own.
When it finally did, one of my dad's brothers said he needed to take a leak. Not even midway through peeing, the carabao stepped on his foot.
My dad and my uncle tried to push the carabao away, but they couldn't move it because not only was it heavy, it was also taking a piss itself.
I told Vino that what we learned from this story is that we should always be kind to animals.
Province life pre-cellphones and whatnot unleashed creativity among dad and his siblings.
One day, got themselves home-made darts using nails and whatever they used to make it aerodynamic, and got a large coconut or a tree trunk to use as their target.
|Probably something more primitive than this, but you get the picture.
They would throw the dart alternately and see who gets closest to the bullseye.
One of my uncles (Uncle A) threw his dart and stepped away. One of his brothers (Uncle B) got ready to throw next. As Uncle B was aiming, Uncle A who threw ahead of him suddenly decided to get his dart.
In an instant, the dart hit the side of Uncle A's head instead of the target.
I've contemplated telling Vino this story because I needed to explain a lot of things, but if I ever did tell him about it, I'd say that the lesson we draw here is the value of patience and firm decision-making.
The Legend of My Mom
I love my mom, but she can be really clumsy at times. She easily panics, and makes silly mistakes when she does, which later built her legendary status as the most entertaining person in the family.
These stories could easily be mistaken for fiction because of how ridiculous they are, but these were told by my dad while my mom was present or by my mom herself.
I want to share these with Vino later on in life so that even if he isn't growing up in close company with his grandmother, he could at least carry some amusing stories about her to build affinity with my mom.
One day, my mom rode with my dad as he went to the office. My mom worked in Manila, while my dad worked in Makati, and as this was the early to mid 80's, there wasn't much traffic to make this an impossible distance in the morning.
|I never saw Ayala without traffic, but I guess this was the norm back then.|
When they reached Makati, they stopped at a traffic light, and my mom suddenly decided that she could go down there and catch a bus or something.
Before my dad could say anything, my mom was out of the car already, and my dad was surprised that he couldn't see her anymore.
"She found a ride quick," he thought.
As my dad waited for the light to turn green, my dad was looking around and was shocked when his gaze turned to the passenger-side window.
There was my mom, standing straight up with the biggest ear to ear smile he ever saw her in.
Light turned green, and she waved goodbye to him.
Later that day, my dad got a call from my mom, who was crying.
Apparently, she fell to the ground as soon as she got off the car and scraped her knees. She was so embarrassed that she stood up as soon as she could, but couldn't say anything to my dad as the light turned green already.
She went to the office with bloodied, scraped knees.
Another legendary story happened during her office hours.
My mom is one of the most trusted employees of her boss, and she's been in charge of the payroll for quite some time.
One day, she went out to the bank to get money for the payroll and got into a jeepney.
Midway through the journey, three men pulled out weapons and declared a robbery while the jeepney was moving.
|Jeep and traffic were inevitabilities in Binondo even way back.
My mom was shaking to her core! In her bag was tons of money that was supposed to be the salary of her whole company, and she was sitting right next to a robber!
As the robbers collected valuables from everyone, the one beside my mom suddenly whispered, "don't worry, little girl, you're not included in this."
They apparently thought my mom, who stood at 4-11, was a student, and decided not to do her harm or rob her.
In her head, my mom was both thankful and offended. Naturally, she was thankful for not being robbed, but she was offended that they thought she did not have anything worth taking despite arguably having the most to lose in that jeepney.
Tales From the Drinking Table
I had my first sip of beer when I was in third grade. One of my uncles let me sip from his cup and told me that if vices were going to be inevitable, it's better for me to learn how to drink than learn how to smoke cigarettes.
To some extent, that worked out well as at age 34, I never picked up smoking as a habit.
I did, however, pick up drinking at around high school. I rarely drink alone though, because it's not alcohol that I enjoy, but rather the company I have when I'm drinking.
Coming from a big family who somehow urged me to drink, they are naturally my first drinking buddies, and they shared quite a lot of stories over the years.
There's no lessons to be learned, just some crazy stuff.
Uncle C shared a story about how Uncle D admitted his infidelity to his wife.
They went out for a drink to muster up some courage to do what they're about to do. On the way home, Uncle C was hyping up Uncle D, and Uncle D was soaking it all up.
"I'm going to tell her exactly what happened and let her deal with it!" Uncle D said, to the delight of a proud Uncle C.
When they went inside the house, Uncle D told Uncle C to stay in the living room as they talked.
Uncle D and his wife went inside their room. Shouting ensued. Some other noise was heard, suggesting that there may be violence happening.
Uncle C was nervous, but somehow proud. "He really knows how to assert his dominance as the man of the house," he thought.
The door opened, and he was ready to meet his brother. Instead, it was his sister-in-law who stepped out.
|Probably something my aunt lived by.
"Tell me everything you know, C!" she demanded.
Through a small opening of the door, Uncle C could see Uncle D laying flat on his back on the bed. Needless to say, he said every detail that he knew.
One of my favorite drinking buddies was my cousin Jon. If anyone would bet money on a drinking contest, I'll bet my fortune on Jon against anyone.
|Only good memories with beer. With Tequila, not so much.|
While we try our best to keep up, none of us could get to the point where he was in a drunken state.
He learned this the hard way when he had a pissing contest with his neighborhood friend.
So this friend says that he had a cousin who drank really well, and incidentally, my cousin from the province came to visit him.
"My cousin drinks really well too! He's from the province," he said, building up my cousin's image to match his friend's cousin.
Jon invited his friend to his house later that night so that they can have a drinking session with their two cousins.
Everything was going well as they were all having a good time.
Later, my cousin from the province stood up and said he was going to take a leak. As he opened the door, he suddenly vomited all over the floor.
The next day, Jon confronted our cousin to ask him what happened.
"I didn't make it," was all that he could say.
I remembered this story and made sure not to embarrass him if he did the same thing to me, which actually happened not long after he told me the story.
He took me to his friend's birthday party. His friend was one of those who looked up to him, so much so that we were treated like kings when we arrived. We didn't need to stand up to get food or beers, they would bring it to us.
The free flowing beer took a toll on me, and I felt that I was going to blow. I politely asked where the toilet was, and was pointed to that direction.
As quietly as I could, I let out everything I was trying to keep inside my mouth.
I took quite a while to compose myself, and I could hear my cousin and his friend talking outside.
"Is he ok? Is he vomiting?" his friend asked.
"Yeah, yeah, he's ok, don't worry about it," he said.
I washed my face and opened the door as I rubbed my belly.
"Sorry, I think I got too full and had to take a crap," I declared.
To sell the act, I naturally drank a couple more bottles before my cousin decided to call it a night. Of course he knows what happened, but as long as his friends buy the act, then we're good.
After all, they can't prove what happened in that toilet.