Today I’m home with a sick child. Little Rhi started running a fever last night–nothing serious, clearly just another one of those lovely viruses that are part of having kids in school.
The thing is when I need to figure out how high a temperature is, I need to know the Fahrenheit number. I mean, I sort of know that 38.5 Celcius is the bottom of the “fever” threshold, but it just doesn’t give me enough information to make a good call. Whereas I’m very comfortable differentiating between 98.6 F (normal) 99, 100, and 101 (which marks the beginning of a fever). All the thermometers in my house are Fahrenheit, and I buy a bunch every time we go home, so if one breaks (or more commonly, we can’t find it) I have a backup.
Obviously I can sit around and convert, or go to google for a conversion, but I don’t really have the patience for that when I want to make a judgment about how sick my kids (or Ravi/I) are. The other big factor is that there’s wiggle room between the F and C measures of “fever” (101 is 38.3, and 38.5 is 101.3) and I’d prefer to make the call as to whether the situation calls for tylenol/panadol or not based upon the system I’m more familiar with.
When I’m at the dr’s office and the girls get a temperature check, I have google open so I can get a conversion, and thus am appropriately informed when speaking to a doctor. My pediatrician is a lovely Brit, but there’s an American dr in the practice and when we occasionally see him (getting squeezed in for a sick visit when our pedi is off/is fully booked)–and doing so is a bit of a relief because we speak the same language in terms of temperature, height and weight.
Height is another measure I constantly convert. Centimeters are fairly meaningless to me in terms of thinking about height. So I convert it to inches and feet, which give me a much better idea of what size my children are.
I also convert weight for the same reasons. I can instantly get an idea of what I’m dealing with when I think in pounds. Getting a Kg number means I have to open my calculator app and multiply by 2.2.
I’ve adapted to many things in Singapore. I am more comfortable driving on the left side of the road, I speak some Singlish, I have no tolerance for winter weather (and the 18 layers of clothes that come with it), and I’m gearing up for Primary 1 registration in 5 months. But while you can take the girl out of the US, you can’t remove the US system of measurements from the girl…even when she concedes metric is superior.