Mamay and Bigkis

3:12 PM Friday, November 02, 2007

a bigkis is a piece of cloth tied around a baby's waist, esply newborns to prevent gas and the baby's pee from getting to his belly button. some say it also prevents hernia in baby boys, and give baby girls tiny waists.


I have a teeny-weeny problem.

During my pregnancy, all my Mom asked was that I use a bigkis on my son, and that we use a book for his first pillow. That's all.

Well, using a bigkis is not in vogue anymore. It really doesn't have any medical relevance, and considering the heat in Manila, is just annoying for a baby and additional laundry really.

But I still bought 6 pieces of bigkis (the new type with ribbons, and not the triangular cloth pieces) because I did intend for my son to wear them... esply if my Mother came home for his birth.

But she didn't. She opted rather to delay her homecoming to time it with my sister's, her youngest child, graduation this November. So the wearing of the bigkis was also delayed.

And because my baby sometimes get fussy, we don't know whether to connect it to the two occasions I did use a bigkis on him.

Anyway, am now bent on using a bigkis on my son... esply since he is gassy but mostly because my Mom arrives in 4 days. And why do I want to please my Mom so where this is concerned, you ask, considering I didn't heed her other advices (like mix feeding and continuing to work)? It's really because of Mamay, my maternal grandma.

Using a bigkis is a Filipino tradition that is still alive in many provinces and households in the country. And it's a tradition Mamay passed onto my Mom, which I had always wanted to be passed to me. It's not harmful in any way, anyway, and the concept would always take me back to a childhood when Mamay was alive and i'd watch her, or her daughters (my Mom or aunt), wrap this triangular cloth around a baby's waist, snugly, before putting any other piece of clothing on the baby.

A bigkis bound a waist, and it has binded me to dreams of motherhood as well. In the same way that i've always known i'd be a mother, in the same way that i've always wanted to be a mother, I have also always known i'd use a bigkis on my child. Just because.

I admit my beloved grandmother is probably frowning that she has yet to see me lovingly dedicated to this particular tradition, but she must also be smiling too because I remember her more and more now, as the years pass and I grow old... because she's always set some standard of motherhood and grandparenthood for me... and I truly, truly miss her.

Heck, I even reminded my Mom that Mamay was always beside a child when a grandchild is born... hoping my Mom will be ashamed a little and come home to be at my side. I know, i'm bad.

I'm just also that devoted to Mamay.


In a weird way, I can't decide who I miss more... Mamay or Py, in this day for lost loved ones.


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