Kyle’s Island insights: A guide to Babies
Hafa adai and what’s up to my peepsquad! Welcome back to The Guam Guide and the third installment of Planet Kyle Presents Welcome to Guam! My name is Kyle Mandapat, and I am from Guam. My dad is retired Armed Forces, but I have spent the majority of my life on this island.
Simply put, I don’t have a degree in Guam-erican Studies, I do not have a doctorate from the University of Australia or anything close to it. I know what I know about Guam based on the way my family raised me and from the countless Zorries I have had thrown at me in my day. I’d like to see you try and tell my Grandma that she is not accredited to teach Guam ways.
This month’s feature actually comes from a conversation that I had with a woman who had just moved to Guam. I met up with her at the Micronesia Mall food court as she and her new born baby were attempting to grab some grub. She mentioned that when she went to get her hair done at a locally owned salon the older Chamorro and Filipina women had tons of advice for her regarding superstitions and general baby care. She asked me what was up with that. It is with that in mind that I bring you The Planet Kyle Guide to the Babies!
Simply put, Guam may be hot as heck during the day but at night, according to the elders I know, the night wind gets really cold. We call this night air “the sirenu” and throughout my life it has been credited with making babies and children alike sick. Not ,“I just looked at a picture of Hulk Hogan in a bikini sick,” but like, “Now I am congested and have a cold sick.” To prevent this, I have always been told that when bringing a baby out in the open air at night to cover them up. Whether with a hat, a cap, a blanket or a towel. Covering up the baby’s head will keep them healthy, which is something we definitely can’t say about The Hulkster in a thong.
Secondly, if you live on Guam, you probably already are familiar with the concept of the Taotaomona. They are the ancient spirits of our ancestors who supposedly still roam the land. Now this next piece of advice is put into place in respect to them. When leaving your house with your baby, make sure you spray them down with cologne or perfume. Don’t go overpowering on them so that they smell like a old lady’s car, but spray enough on them to make the scent evident. This practice is to make sure that the taotaomonas are warded off and steer clear of your baby. I assume the same thing will happen if you never shower your baby and it stinks superbad, but I would suggest the spray method. I’ve never heard of CPS being called because someone’s baby smelled like Victoria Secret’s Melon Blast.
Finally, possibly the most important baby rule ever on Guam — I call it “The Mago’dai Rule.” Okay, let me lay it out. It’s that feeling you get when you see a fat baby and you want to pinch them. That’s called mago’dai in our Chamorro custom. The rule on Guam is, if you ever feel mago’dai towards a baby, whether they are yours or not, you have to touch them. Whether you pinch them a little, or simply pat them on the head, getting rid of the mago’dai feeling is the key. Word is, if you don’t your energy could make the baby sick in some way. At the same time, if you are out and about with your chubby hunk of baby and notice a person getting mago’dai, it’s totally cool to say, “Hey, Tyler say ‘hi,’ and give them a high five,” to help the process along. Personally, on numerous occasions, I have straight out asked, “Hey, can I pinch your fat baby’s leg a little?” Nobody’s said no to me yet.
Having a baby is awesome and these are just some ways the Guam people protect their kids, culturally. Overall, you also have to remember the universal language of common sense. Don’t leave them unattended, don’t give them soda in their bottles, and don’t you dare leave then in front of the TV watching Basketball Wives or Bad Girls Club… Ohhh, I’ll call the cops on you myself for that one. Until next month, see you on the radio!