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.
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