A quick check (you know, the usual way, hand on forehead) showed that she was feverish.
She asked for a jacket. And long pants. In the middle of the day. So I suggested pyjamas and bed. She actually volunteered to take a nap. Now, when your 4-year old volunteers for a nap, you know something is not right.
Snuggled under the covers, in her pyjamas with socks, I took her temperature and my eyes nearly popped out of my head when the thermometer read 40.2.
I've been a mum for 4.5 years. I've been through my share of fevers. But 40.2 is just crazy.
So I did what any normal, seasoned, rational mum would do. I panicked.
It was 1pm. The clinic (whose number I only managed to find after a quick search on my phone - thank God for smart phones) opens at 2pm. 40.2 is crazy high right? So do I wait for 2pm? Or do I rush Poppy to the hospital right away? Max was in a meeting. That didn't help. Poppy was drifing in and out of sleep. Calla was looking up at me from her cot and looking quite sleepy herself. Drat, it's her nap time too.
So I called another parent. My dad. I may be in my mid 30s (I mean 20s) and a mum of 2, but whenever I don't know what to do, I call my dad. And of course, hearing a calm voice helped.
I gave her a sponge bath (she was so hot that the cool towel heated up right away) then tucked her into bed, gave her a dose of panadol and prayed that her fever would go away, all the while feeling totally amazed that Calla was quietly entertaining herself in the cot, something she hardly does.
Both girls ended up having good naps, and thankfully, Poppy's fever went down significantly when she woke. Her mood improved drastically. I made her drink lots and lots of water. We laughed at how her brain was getting cooked because her head was so hot.
We managed to squeeze in a trip to the clinic before the afternoon slot ended, and as I waited for her medicine, I turned around and saw this and felt an overwhelming gush of emotions:
My sweet 4.5 year old, totally ignoring the TV in front of her (I don't know about you but at clinics, I can never ignore the TV, no matter what's showing), and playing with a sticker on a tongue depresser. She's taller than most kids her age so sometimes I forget how small she is.
Because she's such a great mature older sister, I sometimes forget that she's still a child herself. I forget that she's still a little girl whose feet can't touch the ground. She's still so innocent and so dependant on me. I forget that she's a child who thinks that it's absolutely necessary to bring a Hello Kitty handbag out, filled with a bunch of useless toys that won't even get looked at once we're out of the house.
I just had to give her a great big hug.
As scared as I was, I never let it show. To Poppy, I am strong and I know all the answers because I'm her mother. And on the way back, she said "You're the best mother ever" (because I promised her ice cream after - as a special treat, and because ice cream always helps to bring a fever down). But after she went to bed for the night, I just had to cry.
Kids are so precious. Seeing them ill is really tough. Seeing them so vulnerable is really painful. Hearing them say "Mama, it hurts" when you can't do anything, that's just heartwrenching.
I will remind myself of this time the next time I feel the urge to scream at her for the littlest thing.
It was a throat infection. Poppy's back to her usual singing and dancing self now. She's enjoyed two days of TV heaven and is going back to school tomorrow. I've enjoyed two days of being called The Best Mama in the World.
Disclaimer: It wasn't really all that much TV. We also read alot. And played lots of games. And teased the baby.