4 years in, I still don’t speak metric

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.

sick rhiSick Rhi

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.

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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.

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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.

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6 Responses to 4 years in, I still don’t speak metric

  1. Carrie says:

    Hope it’s not HFMD. It’s going around and I just spent 10 wonderful days isolated in my apartment with my DD per Singapore regulations. She started with a fever and three days later the blisters appeared.

  2. Mummy Ed says:

    I enjoyed reading this post! And although we’re so metric around here I can only do waist sizes in inches – cm just feels weird for that!

  3. ireen says:

    Hope Rhi feels better. Her eyes are beautiful and so expressive!

    Enjoyed this post. These are the little details no one back in the US understands. Only us expats ‘get’ it. I get super frustrated now when dimensions are given in inches/ft instead of cm!

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