Sometimes Kimiko screams in her sleep. She sounds like a Pterodactyl or some other prehistoric bird of prey; sometimes she sounds like a baby elephant crying out for help from its mother like in an old episode of National Geographic I once saw. It’s a sound that one doesn’t expect from such a small body.
I confess to worry. It causes me no small level of anxiety that Kimiko is sometimes restless in hersleep. I check her bed; I make sure she’s clean and comfortable before she’s laid down; Kim and I have agreed to tone down all noise especially our own voices at least an hour before Miko’s sleeptime. None of these seem to matter because inevitably, in an hour or so, Kimiko will begin to toss and turn, and issue an occasional squawk in which one cannot help but detect anger or distress.
Sometimes Miko’s small hands will turn into small, angry fists, hitting, punching the air one after the other; and then her feet and legs will lift and begin kicking. There have been times when I have actually seen her assume the position of certain Kata fighting poses, and while it’s cute, it’s also worrying because gad, she’s a baby – why is she doing Karate?!
I’ve read that babies do dream — even in the womb they’ve been said to dream, hence the sudden jerky movements or intermittent rolling motions. But the word used is dream, and not nightmare. I worry that Kimiko sometimes has nightmares, and I wish there was a way I could know what they are so I could help her deal with them (like talking to her about them. When I pick her up sometimes she has tears in her eyes, but she didn’t cry out; she makes mewling sounds like she’s in pain or emotionally hurt. Sometimes, too, in her sleep her face looks stern or even angry, and it baffles me no end what it is that has caused her in her innocence of the world and its history of human tragedies and betrayals to look so upset.
I wonder if she has prescient dreams about the future of the world under the continued rule of imperialism- the endless deterioration of life, its value and worth when weighed against immoral wealth and greed for power. Or her infant consciousness has already somehow achieved an awareness of how thousands of children and babies like her die or are indirectly killed daily though neglect, through indifference, through grinding poverty and the brutalities of war or even the brutality of criminal acts prompted and nurtured by a twisted society. Maybe she has seen the faces of monsters like Jovito Palparan, George Bush, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her family, Eduardo Ermita, Raul Gonzalez and Norberto Gonzales; and as she learned the shape and contour of these monstrosities she also tapped into the knowledge that the country she will soon learn to call hers is being torn apart and corrupted by them, the narrow and poisonous economic and political interests they support, and the vicious armies they command.
I wonder. Stranger things have happened.
In the meantime, my mom has more pragmatic ideas. She says it could be that Kimiko continues to suffer the remnants of my own feelings of anger and upset when I was still pregnant. Kim and I often had arguments when she was still inside me — we argued about how we were going to raise Kimiko (where she’ll go to school; the friends we would let her have; the clothes she would wear and the food she would eat, etc etc. As Kim and I insisted to make our opinions on these matters heard, we also revealed more of ourselves to each other and saw all the more how different we still are despite the similarities that brought us together. Anyway, the conversations sometimes deteriorated into arguments because I am never one to back down when I believe I am right and Kim is just plain stubborn and contrarian). Kimiko must’ve absorbed these negative feelings, so now, well, the nightmares. Also, she’s such a serious baby — she smiles sparingly, often she looks like she’s thinking, weighing things down, and she’s disappointed with what she’s discovered.
Kim and I must live up to our baby’s expectations and be worthy of the gift that she is! Whatever the reason for her bad dreams, whether they be caused by awareness of real or imagined monsters, we must protect her against them — especially against the real ones. Oh what a wretched world she has been born to, where beauty and innocence are destroyed daily, and the path the struggle to attain justice takes is bloodied!
Hay naku, anak — ngayon pa lang tuturuan ka na namin ng tatay mo na mangarap ng isang magandang lipunan; lumikha at bumuhay ng pag-asa ng mas nakakarami na silang sa ngayon ay inaapi! (At pipilitin na rin namin ni Tatay na hwag nang magtalo gaano sa mga bagay na hindi naman talaga dapat pinag-aawayan).