This Week – October 6th 2018 – Typhoons and Roseola

Absolutely nothing to do with the title, but pretty autumn things = yay

So, guess what E’s “cold” turned out to be? Continue reading

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Yet more fever fun

“Oh, it’s high!” exclaimed the other mother in surprise, holding aloft the thermometer. I gave her a sympathetic smile as I hoisted E out of her carrier to do the same process. How many times have my children had perfectly normal temperatures only for the childcare thermometers to offer up some absurdly high reading?

I tucked the thermometer under E’s arm, waited, and then gasped in surprise myself at the elevated number it showed. “What?” I peered at E suspiciously. “You do not have a fever.”

“Maybe the room’s hot?” suggested their childcare worker, heading over to adjust the air conditioner. The other baby, in the meantime, was having her temperature taken again and, this time, it produced a low reading to her mother’s palpable relief.

I decided to use the same thermometer for E’s second attempt. The number that came back was still high, but within the realms of normal. I frowned to myself and patted her head before handing her over. She must have gotten a bit too warm in her carrier, I reasoned. Her head felt as hot as it always did.

Wait, what?

It’s Mr. K who always has a hot head. It’s not E. E’s head is usually cool. It’s been a relief, really, how reassuringly cool her bald head is compared to her bronchitis-ridden brother. Something was amiss.

But she was already settled into her teacher’s arms, as calm as ever. She had played around like normal at home. It was probably nothing.

Reluctantly, I left and headed off to work, but I kept checking my phone throughout the morning. The lack of calls from childcare was reassuring at first, but then my imagination went into overdrive. Perhaps they hadn’t called because they hadn’t had the chance. Perhaps they were too busy rushing E to hospital somewhere because something was really, really wrong, and maybe they had just called R instead and he was rushing to meet them somewhere-…

It was actually more of a relief when I got out of my final class for the morning and found a missed call from R on my phone. Childcare had indeed called him, but only because phone Japanese is not what you would call a strength of mine by any stretch of the imagination. E was not in the emergency ward of a hospital or anything remotely like that, but she did definitely have a fever. In fact, it had gone up to 39 degrees. I was to come and pick her up ASAP.

And so here we are. The 39 reading worried me and had me wondering about goddamn bloody annoying why is there no vaccine for it roseola so we ended up going via the doctor’s (Mr. K stayed at childcare until afterwards). While he was pleasant and appeared to take me seriously, the doctor just diagnosed a cold (possibly with a wave of his boyband haircut to cap the whole thing off), and told me to come back if E still had a fever on Saturday. Honestly, that doesn’t seem impossible right now. After a nightmare night of her screaming on Wednesday, it seemed like she had turned a corner and her temperature was mostly normal by this afternoon. Now, though, she’s hot again and squirming in her sleep, and I’m searching my inbox for tomorrow’s company’s phone number. At least I don’t have to try to make sure I sound genuinely sick when I’m calling in because my children are sick, hey?

So yes. More cancelled work, more anxious waits as the numbers on the thermometer fly up just a little too quickly, more ambiguous diagnoses and the ongoing unpleasant realisation that, as far as medicine has come, there are an awful lot of things that nobody knows or just nobody bothers with. Whatever immunity E borrowed from me for her first six months has worn off. It’s her turn now.

1 year old

On Saturday (29/10), Mr K finally turned one.

I seemed to run the full gamut of emotions in the lead-up to the big milestone, golden fuzzy warm nostalgia all the way down to bleak, dissolve-into-tears mess with no idea how the hell I’d made it this far and certain that I couldn’t manage it for much longer. Extreme, yes, but the year has encompassed both those feelings and all that lies between, so why not?

And here we are. 

Mr K is 12 months old, but we should really say one year now. I don’t know if I can still call him a baby? He still acts very much like a baby, though. He babbles at length, crawls everywhere, and finds inane objects utterly interesting. He stands up a lot but only when holding something, and he has taken a strong liking to opening and closing things, pulling things out and putting them in different places entirely. He doesn’t walk yet, but he is determined to skip that and climb on things instead. 

The time has been, and still is, so very distorted. How can one year have passed already, yet how can it have been only one? The days are long but the year(s) are short indeed.

Enough


Mr. K likes to nap on me, head in the crock of my arm and body sprawled across my lap. He sleeps well enough on his futon at night but during the day, ideally (for him), I get to play at being his futon.

Often, I get tired of this, itching to have my hands free and wishing I had at least worked harder to use a baby carrier. In the mornings in particular, at least when we’re here together, I’ll work to get him settled in his futon instead, where he should be. In the late afternoons, though, I lose the willpower for that fight and we end up just sitting here together for as long as we can. At those times, he is content. I am what he wants, what he needs. I am enough.

Sometimes, instead of feeling resigned, I remember how this cannot last. Seven long months have somehow slipped by already, and soon he will need so much more. It won’t be long at all, really, before I’m no longer enough . I have this fear of an unspecified time in the future where, surely, he’ll realize just how useless I am, and he’ll wish I was something else. Less tall, less obstinately foreign, more inclined to blend in. Someone who just inherently knows all the kanji and the unspoken social norms, someone like the other mothers, someone who actually cares about things like character bentos and properly sewing on nametags rather than someone whose interest in these things only extends to an uneasy awareness of how not interested I am.

But none of that is happening yet. I can hope it might never be, but eh… for now, I’ll sit here and let him sleep on me for as long as he wants and enjoy being enough for him for as long as I can.