27 June 2013, by Tan Yi Lin
Just in case anybody was wondering whether Dannie and I are still here (do we have any fans out there? Hands up, please?), this entry affirms that we are very much alive and breathing (despite the bad air).
It’s just that any available time or will to blog has been completely obliterated by a series of unfortunate events. Our days have been hectic. I’m only able to sit down and download stuff from my head, word it into an entry and upload it here because we’ve shipped out both kids for the day and I’m tired of being on an incessant mission to disinfect the house.
Huh, you say? Well, read on.
But first, a message from our sponsor:
This week’s events were brought to you by the letter ‘H’ and the following words:
‘Nuff said. There’s been too much news on the haze, PSI readings, N95 masks and awful weather already. It’s all getting rather depressing. I’ve never been so glad to see blue skies and sunshine again.
My personal takeaway from the whole haze situation – or rather, Dan’s observation, which he shared as we carted home our precious air purifier – is how grateful we should be for the depth of our resources.
We have air-conditioning. We have a car to drive around in, cocooned from the haze. We could pop out to the nearest mall to buy an air purifier for the babies’ room before they all got snapped up (a GREAT perk of being on maternity leave). I’m not proud of behaving like a mad aunty who whispered fiercely to her husband to quickly grab the fast-disappearing $189 air filter units at Home Fix, but hey, I have a two-month old baby to worry about… don’t judge! We could buy whatever supplies we needed to get through the haze – an air filter, face masks, fans, which is more than what some families can afford. When supplies of N95 masks ran low, family members helped to source for masks, especially the child-sized ones (which turned out to be too big for Coco’s face anyway).
For all these and more, we are grateful.
So. The winds changed and Mr Haze bid Singapore adieu and headed north for Malaysia. But the unwelcomed visitor had left behind a thick layer of icky ashy dust on just about everything. Fearing for my babies’ respiratory health, I had planned to dedicate days on end to wiping down all their belongings. This inevitably lead to a lot of…
However, before I could fill the pail and fetch a rag, Coco’s teacher called on Friday morning, informing that Coco was running a 38.5 degree fever and had developed a red spot on her upper lip.
No prizes for guessing what Little Miss Sociable had picked up from childcare…
Hand Foot & Mouth Disease (HFMD)
As we drove Coco to the doctor, we hatched our Sick Child Emergency Plan. HFMD is highly contagious amongst children under five years of age. We couldn’t afford to let Claire catch the virus from Coco. But it’s okay – we’re not total noobs at this, given the numerous times that Coco has come down with a fever, runny nose or cough (or all three) since she started attending school in March.
Even though the doctor couldn’t confirm from the fever and lone red spot that Coco had caught HFMD (the symptoms could take three to five days to show up), we proceeded to execute our usual strategy to Separate & Conquer and shipped Claire out to Dannie’s parents’ house without delay, along with a few days’ supply of milk.
Over the weekend, Coco developed red spots on her legs, ankles, elbows and back of her hands, although strangely, not on typical areas like her palms and the soles of her feet. Nonetheless, the angry bumps were conclusive evidence of HFMD and so started our second consecutive week of house confinement together with our germy daughter and her favourite “Balls” episode of Elmo’s World on repeat.
I guess it’s a good thing that we didn’t wipe down the whole house after the haze, only to then find out that Coco had HFMD and have to start cleaning all over again. Dettol has become my favourite household brand over the past few days. I even bathe in it (seriously!) If I’m not fastidiously cleaning, I’m busy pumping. Dettol, Medela (because I need to constantly express milk to bring to Claire) and I are close companions and are never far from one another.
But it’s okay, disinfecting the house isn’t that much of a chore – or a bore – when the…
… is around. Together, we dumped Coco’s germy toys into her inflatable pool and soaked them in Dettol. We wiped down hundreds of pages in all her storybooks aka snotty-books (why, why, did I buy her so many lift-the-flap and pop-up books that are so hard to clean?! *wail*) As the doctor advised us to clean all of Coco’s toys and books every night, we picked out a small selection of toys and books for her daily entertainment – and are hiding the rest from her until she recovers from HFMD. Ssssshhhhh.
Ha Ha… Ha?
Finally, ‘H’ is also for a sense of humour to get through it all. Who would have thought that we would get hit by the haze and HFMD at the same time. Both are awful in their own accord but I guess it’s not too bad a combination, since they both require confinement and lots of cleaning. Maybe they do go hand in hand (another ‘H’ word!) after all.
While it hasn’t been much fun spending the last weeks of my maternity leave cleaning the house and while I miss Claire very, very much, it has been a good period of bonding with my elder daughter as we read, play and watch Elmo’s World together (I’m even starting to grow quite fond of that furry little red guy).
We are also thankful that Coco seems to be only mildly affected by her HFMD affliction and despite being covered in gross-looking blisters, is still her cheeky, playful self throughout it all. In fact, I’m amazed how a HFMD-stricken toddler can be so hyper…
… and high-energy
… and hungry
… and high-spirited
… and hardy
… and totally happy!
Hopefully, we’ll bid both the haze and HFMD good riddance really soon and see better days in July!