Tuesday, 15 May 2007
"Waaah! I want to go downstairs!"
3am. Micah has fever...again.
I tried to calm him down so that he won't disturb my in-laws who sleep downstairs, but it was impossible. Grandma was up instantly and after feeling his forehead began putting around the kitchen. She has some "magic" to do.
My mum-in-law (ma-i-l) has taken care of many children before. She has only 2 boys, but she had been a babysitter for more than 20 years and for more than 10 kids through different periods of time. Some of them even stay in with her through the weekdays and go home only on weekends. Over time she has learnt some very handy traditional treatments for children's common ailments.
Mix the white of an egg with glutinous rice flour. Knead it into a ball of dough (palm size usually) and rub it all over the torso of the child (back, shoulders, chest and belly.) Rub over the forehead and cheeks too. Do this for about 10 minutes. The dough absorbes the heat and the child's temperature goes down almost immediately. This is more effective than a luke-warm shower...and definitely easier to manage in the middle of the night. (In fact, she orders no bathing for a child with fever. The child may catch a cold.) Micah now welcomes this relief.
Pound some shallots and beetlenut leaves (sireh) together, then stir the mixture over low fire in a wok until all the juice has evaporated. Then add in a dash of rice wine and stir the mesh well. Wrap the mesh in a thick towel and use it as a hot compress over the belly. First press it lightly all over the belly area. When it has cooled down to an acceptable temperature, use it as a compress on the belly, covering the navel especially.
Symptoms of tummy ache
If the child is crying and the forehead feels chilly/cold, the child is having a tummy ache. Rub traditional ointment (black herbal oil, or nutmeg oil) in circular movements around the navel, then rub your hands together to get some heat in your palms and then press your warm palms on the child's belly. The warmth brings relief. If it is colic, the child most likely will pass gas.