T is for Temperature or Thermometer

I have about as many thermometers as a respectable hospital should have. Yet, everytime somebody in my family runs a temperature, there is a mad scramble for thermometers. We will scoop up a dozen and thrust the infernal things under children’s arms, into their mouths and now even the ear. The scene always starts out as either the husband or I feeling the forehead. Then, just to show off, I will guess the temperature.
“Must be 100.5”
The husband thinks it is 99.6. Precision. That is what we are going for in thermometers.

We look at the pile of thermometer sticks lying and select the newest looking one.
“Why does this thing show an ‘L’? Can’t it just show a – or something, so I am ready to start? What is this L?”
“L is for Love Amma” The daughter pipes in.
“Just put it fast- fast.”
One can hustle me, but one cannot hustle a baby. He needs time to smile at you, grab at the thermometer that you are trying to thrust through his clothes and play tug-of-war with it by which time the ‘L’ has gone on the display and your temperature has risen a wee bit too.

The next time, Iappease the baby first; give him a thermometer to play with, and then press:
Wait for the ‘L’ and fumble through baby clothes again. You place the thermometer there and see an amused looking baby chewing one thermometer and looking patronizingly at the glowing one under his arm.

The one in his mouth gets wetter and finally the underarm thermometer glows and shows 99.5.
“This must be wrong. He definitely feels hotter than that!” I declare. I wonder if people remember the episode of Everybody Loves Raymond where Debra falls ill with the kids and Marie checks the right temperature by kissing the forehead (like that, only not half as impressive)

We repeat the exercise with Thermometer#2 and under the other arm (You want a reason for switching the arm. Fine! Here it is: What if the cold tip made the spot colder than it is.) This one shows 96. Now that definitely can’t be right.

“He isn’t colder than he is supposed to be you dimwit, he is hotter.” I say directing a cold stare at the thing.
“Just put that one away – everytime this happens we say we will get rid of the useless ones and we just manage to accumulate more and more thermometers.”

So, I gingerly place it separately. My crawler leaps at it and takes it to his mouth. He just manages to draw two large slurps out of it when I realise that that was the thermometer right under his feverish arm a minute ago. Not cool.

Attempt #3:
I get the ‘L’ and the L for Love girl takes it to her arm. “I don’t have a fever – I’ll check if this one works and then you can use it.” she says helpfully.
Which seems like a sensible idea, only that this particular thermometer is precision itself, and it reserves its act for once a day. After that no matter how often you press, you only hear the beep, and no display.

By attempt #5, we get a reading that can only be partially right since we have a very impatient baby on our hands. HE does not like having sticks stuck under his arm and is intent on removing it every 3 seconds. Still we get a reading of 100.1.
“Close enough.” I say and start towards the fever reducer, when the exasperated husband says he is going to buy another one to check properly.


PS: Tucky is fine now and we added a fine model thermometer to our priceless collection


The Samosa Love Triangle

If you read my entry on the footwear in the cruise carefully, you will see that a Samosa figured. Namely that we were looking forward to having the hot samosa while aboard the cruise. There are a few memories that rankle you – titillate you days afterward. The hot samosa is one such.

Launching then, into the story of the samosa.

There was a point in the proceedings when the daughter and I were left to ourselves and the remaining party went for a walk. Of the party that went a-travelling to see the sights of London & Scotland were two babies under the age of 1. The 10 month old was my son (the compulsive crawler), the other was my dear nephew who was 5 months old at the time. That sweet little baby had not yet learned to crawl. He lay there quietly on his back uttering a gurgle or two now or then, cooing and smiling like a 1000000 watt bulb. I swear to God, his is the first smile I’ve seen that is so all-consuming. When he smiles, his whole being lights up and happiness pours out of every pore. Bless the dear – may he be happy always.

While on the walk, the parent committee decided it was best to change the diapers. Tick one job off the list. Efficient use of time. Two stones in one throw. I had no idea that changing diapers could be classified as bragging material, but apparently it is.
After a longish walk; we met the diaper braggers and walked around for another hour or so. It was at this point in the story that we decided to rest and take in the sights of London by taking the cruise.

Always brilliant when it comes to pairing experiences with taste, my brother and his wife said the samosa is a must on the cruise and deftly swerved into a place and bought the hot samosas. The cruise had barely started when the babies got hungry too. The million watt smiler was easy – he just migrated towards his mother and gave her one of his heart-breaking smiles. That is all it took for his private milk bar to open up for business. The crawler was now ‘on solids’ and needed fruit. So, I looked for the diaper bag and it wasn’t there. Gone!

The husband and I exchanged looks. The husband & brother exchanged looks. The sister-in-law and I exchanged looks. Then we all exchanged looks. The result of all that looking was that we nominated the first prize winner of the Diaper Bragger Contest to go and get the diaper bag from wherever they so efficiently changed diapers – a good 2.5 miles away from the next cruise stop.

That was how the husband missed the thrill of watching footwear on the cruise. As for me, I gave a noble reason for not diving into the samosas (I said I did not want to devour hot samosas while the husband was off diaper bag hunting). I decided to eat with him later. We got off at Greenwich and the vigilant sister-in-law having done justice to her samosa decided it was time to clean up house. Consequently, the first trash can in Greenwich (that beautiful spot that calibrates the World clock) bagged the lottery of our trash.

So, there we were a good two hours later. Nothing but bull-headed self control (and love for my husband) kept me from the samosa and nothing but love for the samosa kept him running with a diaper bag in tow towards us. You know how it is. In our heads now, the samosas had miraculously heated themselves to an ideal edible temperature and were sitting pretty on a plate. It did not help that the brother and his wife kept talking about what a wonderful taste it had and how it was just the right size. Among samosas, these apparently belonged to the royal family. The moment we met, we knew that our hearts may beat separately, but they ache for one thing : Samosas.

If ever there was a nasty jar, it was this: The blasted samosas were missing!

Remember the looking scene when we discovered the lost diaper bag? That was nothing. Magnify the proportion of disbelief a hundred fold. We looked at each other like we’ve never seen one another before. Then one after the other, we all looked into the bag to see if there was some crevice where things were hidden. Nothing. At one point I thought the bag had a sneaky samosa-eaten guilt look about it.

When I finally pulled a bag of trash, the mystery was solved. The sister-in-law, her nose still dripping with the smell of samosas, sniffed in the bag looking for the trash bag. Her nose naturally went for the samosa bag and she tossed that in the trash instead and saved all the trash for the little crawler to inspect.


PS:Interesting fact, did you know that the Chicken Tikka Masala was Britain’s national food? Right through our trip there, the one thing that stood out was the number of Indian restaurants. There we would be – a small town, you know the whole population fits on a backstreet around the length of a longish dinosaur. Then, you see the main street has 5 Indian restaurants. It is almost like every Indian family felt compelled to extend their kitchen out into a restaurant.

Ships, Trains & Feet

I have been trying to jot down my memories of the London Scotland trip before it fades away in memory. So here goes installment 3 of the series:

The cruise on the Thames River is beautiful. The pamplets don’t lie. They tell you to watch for London Eye on the left, the London bridge up ahead, Westminster Abbey on the right etc.

I just have to look down from my screen and I can visualize the cruise – how cool is that?

Cut. Now zoom your lens out to the next shot.

The train ride from London to Edinburgh is breathtakingly beautiful.

I just have to look down from my screen and I can picture the whole train ride again. Cooler than the cruise or what?

London may have been dripping with History and the buildings and statues spotting the city vying for your attention like they have been for centuries. But what attracted me was at ground level. The English countryside may have been as charming as a painting as the train charged past it at 120 miles an hour. What I remember is again the ground basics.

Here’s another one….

Let me elucidate. I spent an inordinate amount of time looking at people’s footwear. I don’t suppose anybody has studied the footwear of the English as much as I did. If you ask me whether clogs or boots or molasses were the latest in fashion, I will not be able to tell you. You know how it is – the mind is preoccupied. The eyes are seeing the roses, but not taking them in. That was me. The very epitome of motherly vigilance. My baby learnt to crawl a few weeks before the trip to the UK. Once mobile, there was(is) nothing to stop him from practicing EVERYWHERE. He would try to slip himself off the stroller, try to jump your shoulder, claw his sister (Who incidentally does an impressive job of carrying him) – anything to get crawling.

Imagine my chagrin, therefore, when we walked into the cruise with a hot samosa in my backpack just waiting to be devoured, and looking forward to a peaceful cruise; when the whole thing was upset by a baby wanting to crawl near the refreshment booth to boot. Obviously it was no fun being strapped into a stroller or being carried when one’s immunity needs building up by licking the carpets of cruise ships, flights and trains. So, I let him crawl. (See how I worked in an illusion of control into that sentence? ) Whether it was just my feverish eye I will never know, but not one of the potential tramplers seemed to be under 200 pounds in weight. I stood there looking sulky and watching the little thumper pick up dirt from the carpet while the beautiful sights of London passed me by. My daughter said ‘Don’t worry Amma. I will tell you the list of things you missed.’ and sat down to enjoy her icecream by the window. I saw the most muddy pair of shoes I have ever seen in urban areas aboard that ship, and obviously those were the shoes that most attracted the crawler. The man in the shoes was a very sweet man with a bristling moustache and said, ‘Don’t worry – the dirt is clean!”

I must have bent and picked him up 2^16 times in the whole cruise. Some exercise.

The same scene was enacted on the train ride from London to Scotland. The book I had planned to read on the train(I know!) lay forgotten on the abandoned seats while the daughter, son and I manned the dirtiest zones of the train. The cleanliness factor was upped a bit by the fact that the chosen area was near the restroom and nothing but a motion sensor controlled sliding door to hamper progress. The motion sensors were obviously at a height taller than my baby and the whole time people would walk through the door assuming a free passage only to find a baby lurking at stamping distance. I only picked him up at the rate of 255 times an hour for 4 hours.

If I hadn’t practiced on the cruise, I might have had a sore back, but since I aced the pick up act, I sailed through looking triumphant and bronzed ready to take in the sights of stockinged legs of men in kilts at Edinburgh.



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