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CNY Day 5

BFF Y was back from Perth. She brought her little girl K over for CNY breakfast.

I could hardly bear to let her leave. Is it going to be another 2 years before we see each other again?!

I miss her.

CNY Day 11

Early 元宵 dinner with my family over the weekend.

Last 鱼生 for the year.

And 汤圆!

Mr Fluffy Hubby’s green and white.

I got green and pink! 2 pinks! I couldn’t stop laughing. 😀

CNY Day 14

My parents asked us over for a simple dinner at the cafe outside their house. And then 元宵汤圆 again! Homecooked by my mother this time. Pink and white stuffed with peanut, sesame and red bean paste. We had 3 big ones each, even the little girl!


Mr Fluffy Hubby’s rabbits

Last day of Chinese New Year — Day 15. The day after, we cut open our Power Pomelo and ate it up! It was yummy! Happy CNY!

Read also:
Happy Chinese New Year!
CNY Preparations
CNY Celebration in School
Reunion Dinner
CNY Day 1
CNY Day 2
CNY Day 3
CNY Day 4

Read Full Post »

We brought Rabbit everywhere with us!

We started our day only at noon, over at Mr Fluffy Hubby’s mother’s place. She’s a culinary whiz who’s always experimenting with the newest recipes. So after our 鱼生, we had lightly fried chicken rolls stuffed with ham and prawn tempura stuffed with minced pork. Plus her signature 五香, restaurant-style spread of abalone on a bed of oyster spinach, incredibly thick and yummy sea cucumber with scallop and shark’s fin soup that was the real deal. There was even freshly homemade honey and garlic chili sauce.

The little girl developed a taste for sea cucumber and abalone. Mr Fluffy Hubby’s favourite was still the shark’s fin soup. I loved everything!

After that, we sat around and watched TV reruns of last night’s new year celebration. Ate some goodies. And ended the afternoon with mandarin oranges and fruit juice.

It was late evening by the time we got back home. The little girl napped till night, then we went over to my parents’ place.

It was festive! Big red lanterns, long bunch of firecrackers, too much food, and lots and lots of people!

They had already tossed the 鱼生, but saved some for us. The table was filled right to the edge with curry chicken (a tradition passed down from my grandmother’s era), pig’s stomach soup (my mother’s specialty), stir-fried leeks (which I’ve been faithfully eating every year, in the hope that it will imbue me with mathematical prowess by virtue of the sound of its Chinese name, because that’s what I’ve been told by my parents since I was a kid) and abalone (my all-time favourite). Then there was the most indulgent pot of 盆菜 ever. And my mother’s 五香! Have I already raved about my mother’s 五香? I can eat it every day for the rest of my life.

After dinner, the kids went for one round of sparklers before heading back into the house for dessert. Häagen-Dazs ice-cream cakes from my cousin! He has brought them over for so many years now, they have become a tradition.

Mango & passionfruit for the older folks.

Cookies & cream for the children.

Everybody left after the ice-cream, except us. The little girl spent some time sorting and safekeeping her candy with her grandfather. And that was the note on which we ended our 1st day of Chinese New Year — sweet.

Read also:
Happy Chinese New Year!
CNY Preparations
CNY Celebration in School
Reunion Dinner
CNY Day 2
CNY Day 3
CNY Day 4
And there are 15 days of CNY!

Read Full Post »

Reunion Dinner was at my parents’ place.

We had 佛跳墙 which was marvellous as usual. But what I really enjoyed were…

My favourite Chinese New Year dish — 鱼生! Mr Fluffy Hubby surprises me every year with how well he knows the ritual and with his secret stash of Chinese New Year auspicious wishes. It’s really pretty impressive for someone who repeatedly flunk Chinese in school!

My favourite home-cooked dish — my grandmother’s and mother’s 五香! I’ve been meaning to get the recipe from my mother, but never got round to it. I must!

The kids’ favourites, however, were the bubble balloons and sparklers!

Read also:
Happy Chinese New Year!
CNY Preparations
CNY Celebration in School
CNY Day 1
CNY Day 2
CNY Day 3
CNY Day 4
And there are 15 days of CNY!

Read Full Post »

Day 1, Friday

I was convinced that I was still suffering from the aftermath of drinking coffee on Tuesday. I know, it’s ridiculous – much less to say impossible, but I am was a coffee virgin and what else am I to conclude from throwing up twice almost immediately after downing that monstrous mug of coffee on Tuesday, gasping from gastric pains throughout Wednesday, and knocking out from numbing headaches on both Thursday and Friday? Ok, I guess I could have concluded I was just very sick. But hey, cut me some slack – I was sick. (I’m never going to get that PhD.)

Sometime in the late afternoon, I crawled out of bed, made my way out of the main door and somehow even managed to drive myself to her school. I stumbled out of the car, and from afar, saw her favourite teacher carrying her while another teacher hovered nearby. It struck me as out of the ordinary, but it wasn’t until I caught sight of the cool patch stuck on her forehead then I finally realized – she’s sick!

The teachers informed me that she coughed and threw up about an hour ago at the start of her abacus class. Since then, her temperature’s been rising rapidly. I took her hand, and gosh, was she hot! I rushed her home, took her temperature again – 39.3 degrees celsius – that’s high. I dosed her (and myself – at this point, I obviously and finally realized that what I had taken for a bad reaction to coffee was most probably stomach flu) with Ibuprofen and sat her down in front of the TV.

I contemplated calling BFF to cancel our dinner date. But it was a little too late. Besides, dinner was already cooked. BFF arrived, we got through dinner. In fact, the Ibuprofen kicked in enough for her to even cycle around in the balcony after dinner.

That night, she slept in my bed. I spent most of the night struggling to get up to take her temperature after having just managed to settle down to sleep again.

Day 2, Saturday

Last week was the end of her Montessori classes; we had to skip only Kindermusik this week.

Mr Fluffy Hubby was away on reservice and would only be back by lunchtime, so I had to manage the morning alone despite running on hardly any sleep. I got though it by plonking her down in front of the TV again.

She took her medicines, but couldn’t eat much of either breakfast or lunch.

Before settling her down for her nap, I checked her temperature. 39.3 degrees celsius, 1 hour after her last dose of Ibuprofen. I debated on whether to feed her Calpol on top of the Ibuprofen, but decided in the end to keep my fingers crossed and let her go to sleep. Big mistake.

The next time I took her temperature an hour later, she was burning at 39.9. I yelled for Mr Fluffy Hubby to dunk her in the bath while I prepare more medicines. I returned with the meds to find them still in bed – he was cradling her in his arms. He informed me, “I took her temperature. It’s 39.7.” I screamed, “DOES IT MATTER?! WHETHER IT’S 39.7 OR 39.9?!” I mean, isn’t it common sense to go with the higher temperature reading and just bathe the kid who is nearing 40 degrees celsius??! Huh???

I snatched her away from him and got right down to bathing her myself. Her temperature remained constant. Mr Fluffy Hubby insisted that the water needed to be colder; I maintained that we shouldn’t shock her body, but out of desperation handed the shower hose over to him anyway. He doused her with much colder water, and sure enough, her temperature came down. She wailed and wailed for me. I took over bathing her again and pissing off Mr Fluffy Hubby who insisted that I was just making things difficult for him. We fought some more – most of it with me ignoring him, and consequently, with him walking away.

The rest of the day passed in a haze of sleep and medicines, interspersed with TV.

I kept a close watch on her the entire night.

Day 3, Sunday

She had to miss her art and ballet classes.

She seemed better though. In addition to TV, she was able to play with her blocks and even managed some colouring.

However, she complained of a sore throat and had begun coughing – a development that always brings about conflicting feelings in me. On the one hand, a cough means that her body is attempting to expel the phelgm – she’s on the road to recovery. On the other hand, she hacks away non-stop whenever she has a cough, so she’s most probably going to end up vomitting – mega messy!

She continued glugging medicines; I continued my vigil throughout the night.

Day 4, Monday

Her teacher called numerous times in the morning to ask after her. I’d like to think that she was genuinely concerned, but I have a sneaking suspicion she was more worried that it would be the school’s 1st case of HFMD. Thank god we didn’t make history!

She was fast developing an addiction to TV. The better part of the morning was spent watching Disney Playhouse. In the afternoon, I managed to peel her off the google box to make some art together.


I placed a small blue rubber dinosaur in front of her and she came up with this.


She spontaneously drew a self portrait of herself with her kitty cat.

She maintained a 37.5 degrees celsius throughout most part of the day, peaking at 37.9 degrees celsius (only!) when she refused (she was well enough to refuse!) to take her nap. Her sore throat had subsided, but her cough had worsened. She hacked till she was blue in the face and I lost count of the number of times she retched.

At one point, I fretted aloud, “I don’t know how to make you feel better. How do I make you feel better? I don’t know what to do!” She gasped in between her coughs, with tears streaming down her face, “Love me. Love me to make me feel better.”

Other than the cough, she was almost back to her usual sunshine self by the time her father and grandfather returned home in the evening. She fell asleep easily and early enough by 10pm since she had skipped her afternoon nap. But she woke throughout the night, coughing and coughing. I wasn’t too worried though – at least she was no longer burning away. This spell of sickness seemed much shorter than her usual 6 days.

Day 5, Tuesday

She woke up only to cough for ONE AND A HALF hours in the bathroom. In a moment of sheer helplessness and panic, I made her drink her medicines, in the (stupid) hope that they would help her stop coughing. Of course, they didn’t work. Because she proceeded to cough them all out in huge puddle of phelgm. Immediately after, she had a big bout of diarrhoea. Then she threw up her breakfast (“Ooh, Honey Stars!” she said). Poor girl doesn’t get a rest.

Strangely enough, she stopped coughing when she watched TV. So, I blasted Playhouse Disney for the rest of the morning.

Her balance bike arrived sometime in the afternoon. I tried to fix it up, without any success. In the end, I dumped it in the study room. I figured Mr Fluffy Hubby could handle it when he got home – that’s what husbands are for.

Because of the balance bike, I was running late for my post-surgery dental check-up and treatment facial. I had foolishly made those appointments yesterday when she had appeared to be recovering and it was much too late to cancel them. I had arranged for my mother to be here in the meantime, but there was still no sign of her. So I rang her up and screeched, “Where are you?!” – an act I would of course regret later – she was late because she was buying famous chendol for me; she knows I love chendol.

By the time I was done at the dentist and the beauty salon, I was late for dinner. It was my turn to get screamed at, most deservedly. Mr Fluffy Hubby barked over the phone, “Where are you?!”

I sped home to find her stoned out on Playhouse Disney. I reached out to hold her – she felt hot! I grabbed the thermometer – 38.7 degrees celsius. I was furious with Mr Fluffy Hubby – why hadn’t he taken her temperature and given her medicines?! We ate dinner in silence.

She continued coughing and retching throughout the night. She had coughed out puddles and puddles of phelgm – why hadn’t her cough gone away?! I prayed that tomorrow – day 6 – would be the last day of the fever, as it usually is.

Day 6, Wednesday

She seemed better immediately upon waking up.

She was not coughing as much, she ate her breakfast, she took an interest in my leftover Zinger burger. She watched an unhealthy amount of TV. She coloured, played with puzzles, weights and links. She balance-biked everywhere.

She lay quietly beside me during naptime, but was still wide awake when I woke up 1.5 hours later.

She was on the mend.

I say, love is staying up all night with your sick child… then spending all day with your sick grandchild, knowing that everything is made better by love.

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She says she’s Daisy Duck.


(Picture credit)

Delicate. Dainty.


I’m Minnie Mouse.


(Picture credit)

So I do dress up as Minnie Mouse – but sometimes only! Hairbows are in, anyway. Plus, red and polka dots are always hot.


Her father’s Donald Duck.


(Picture credit)

She’s absolutely right, of course.

Except that more often than not, we get this Donald Duck.


(Picture credit)


Her grandfather’s Mickey Mouse.


(Picture credit)

Always gentle, always loving.


Her grandmother? She floundered for a bit before deciding, Marie Cat.


(Picture credit)

All primped up.


I think she’s got us down pat!

I don’t know what it means though. With herself as Daisy Duck pairing up with her father as Donald Duck. Me as Minnie Mouse pairing up with grandfather as Mickey Mouse. And sidelining her grandmother as Marie Cat?! Eeps.

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Majesty

She started burning up last Sunday night. We brought her to see the paediatrician on Monday, consistently took her temperature and dutifully gave her medicine throughout, sponged her when necessary, but her fever still peaked at 40 degrees celsius on Wednesday dawn.

Mr Fluffy Hubby immediately dumped her, wailing and sobbing, into a bathtub of tepid water, while I called the paediatrician and informed the grandparents. We force-fed her stronger medicine as instructed, then hurried down to the clinic where her grandparents were already anxiously waiting.

Her grandfather carried her for 15 minutes, then rushed off for a business meeting. We saw the paediatrician for the second time, went through an arduous series of almost comical acrobatics in our (failed) attempt to collect some of wailing sobbing baby’s urine to culture and test for UTI, before giving up and proceeding to have an entire tube of her blood drawn to test for dengue.

Her grandfather rushed back after his business meeting, fussed over his, by now, no longer wailing and sobbing, but still precious princess for an hour, before rushing off again for an overseas business trip.

In between his rushing back and forth, he complained to his wife, my mother, the grandmother, about the paediatrician.

Your father said that he’s not impressed with this paediatrician. He said she doesn’t seem to be dispensing effective medicines.

But he hasn’t even met the paediatrician. And it’s the same medicines for fever as given by all the other 4 paediatricians we’ve previously seen.

He said, how come baby is still sick?

The blood test showed that it’s a viral fever. It has to run its course. We can only control the fever with the medicines.

Don’t know lah. You father said this paediatrician is not good because baby is still sick.

But the paediatrician can’t help it that baby’s sick.

You know your father. He’s just not happy that baby is still sick after seeing the paediatrician.

I blinked incredulously.

Mr Fluffy Hubby sat listening and chuckling at the side.

If your father is the emperor, the imperial physician would have been executed by now. Why is his precious princess not cured yet?!

I blinked even more, even more incredulously.

When the fever finally abated and the rashes emerged a day later, we realised that she had roseola, typically characterised by persistently high fever, followed by rashes as the fever breaks.

So, fortunately, my father is not the emperor, but just a man. Just a man with majestic love for his granddaughter.

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First, it was the grandmother with a hacking cough so bad that she vomitted her dinner. Within 5 days, it was the baby herself.

At first, we thought she was just being fussy. She wouldn’t stop crying when her grandmother couldn’t figure out her overalls. She couldn’t be consoled either. She kept calling, “MAMA MAMA,” and holding on to my arm. We decided she was probably cranky from being tired and thought things would be alright once she naps in the car. So we left for town where we needed to do all these stuff before my brother’s engagement dinner the next day:

1. Find pink pearl necklace at Tangs, then exchange bad-mistake brown shoes (Who wears brown shoes to a glamorous dinner? I was obviously too stressed out by screaming baby the day before to make logical shoe shopping decisions.) for what would hopefully be a beautiful strand of pink pearl necklace. At the same time, look out for suitably glamourous shoes.

2. Rush down to Paragon immediately for mani-pedi.

3. Continue search for sexy shoes at Paragon.

4. Rush down to Shaw to collect dress which was being altered.The grandmother carried the baby while I zipped around Tangs.

Found strand of pearl necklace of correct lovely hue of pink and appropriate length – exchange was a breeze. But shoes search turned up nothing. Done in less than half an hour.

Took over carrying the baby while heading towards the car. Found baby to be alarmingly hot while buckling her into her car seat. Called Mr Fluffy Hubby up while driving towards Paragon to discuss situation. Decided to skip mani-pedi to bring the very hot baby to her regular paediatrician at Mt E hospital, just opposite Paragon. Sent the grandmother along for her mani-pedi with the assurance that I was going to manage hot baby alone just fine at the clinic.

Lugged the, by now, very hot baby together with monstrously heavy tote bag (more on this behemoth another time) across the road and up the lift to the paediatrician’s clinic. No queue, saw the paediatrician immediately. 38 degrees celsius, and looking to rise even higher.

Changed super hot baby’s diaper. She got very upset, couldn’t be distracted even with big furry spider toy hanging on top of her (one of her favourites at the clinic – do not ask me about her taste in animals). Nurse force-fed super hot baby who got even more upset. So upset that she gave herself red rashy patches all over her face.

Nursed her, she fell asleep. Woke her up to make payment at the clinic counter. Hot hot baby got hysterical and random parents in the clinic started asking me what was wrong with her. Held hot hot hot baby with one arm on clinic counter, fished out wallet from monstrously heavy tote bag with other hand, picked out credit card, signed, then strained to listen to the nurse giving copious instructions on how to manage the fever with three types of medicine. The thought occurred to me that this might actually be more difficult than the PhD I’m doing. Stuffed everything, including uncountable number of packets of sample formula milk + 1 actual tin of formula milk, into the monstrously growing tote bag.

Needed to pee. Actually had needed to pee since sending the grandmother for her mani-pedi. Had inner debate about whether to go pee. Decided maneuvers required were too acrobatic for my current physical, emotional and mental states, and risking UTI was a better idea.

Left clinic and met Mr Fluffy Hubby who had rushed down to see his hot hot hot baby. Scurried over to Paragon and swept Metro for glamourously sexy shoes while Mr Fluffy Hubby called the paediatrician’s clinic to screw them over (another story, another time). Found the perfect light pink pair with crystal diamantes all down the middle. Tortured the salesgirl a little about the frayed buckle strap. Scored a 20% discount. By then, Mr Fluffy Hubby was just about done fluffing and huffing and handling paediatric nightmare. Paid up, and the slightly less hot baby woke up (she had been sleeping on Mr Fluffy Hubby’s shoulder).

The grandfather arrived, wouldn’t let go of his darling. Wolfed down dinner, then scooted off for express mani-pedi while the grandfather soothed his darling and himself. Took hot again darling back from the grandfather. Asked the grandparents to collect the dress instead, and zoomed home (when the grandparents came by later with the dress, the grandfather was so anxious to see his darling, he banged his car against the pillar while rounding an easy corner he rounds every night).

Fed her medicine, took her temperature every hour, fed her medicine again, took her temperature again, non-stop, the entire night. It rose steadily till it hit 39 degrees celsius at about 2am. Sponged her for more than an hour, then inserted suppository at 4am.

Still hot the next day, but we went for the engagement dinner anyway. She was a sweetie. Quieter than usual, but still smiled. And when her grandfather showed her the bride’s bouquets, she laughed. Not a single drop of tear, not even once. Even though she was still hot.

Fever persisted. For more than 5 days. Saw another paediatrician. Fretted over the possibility of dengue (we live where it has reached state-classified danger level). But finally decided that the low-grade fever which persisted after the high fever was a teething fever. And relaxed a little.

Then Mr Fluffy Hubby got it. 2 antihistamines 4 hours apart (supposed to be at least 12) and still, he couldn’t stop sneezing. And now I’ve got it. Gum ulcer, sore throat, drippy nose.

Drip drip. Drip. It’s official. We’re a family of super-infectors.

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