Coco came down with HFMD during the last week of June. She had caught it from some of her little classmates at school.

It was bound to happen, really. We weren’t very surprised or horrified when she contacted the dreaded virus two weeks after the school notified parents of the first HFMD case. Coco, despite her tiny stature, is a big kay-po and terribly bossy. She goes around force-feeding the other kids their meals (“EAT!! DRIIIIINK!!), conducts ‘live’ painting demonstrations on their artwork and wanders off during class to hang out with the older kindergarten students.

Above all, her favourite activity is helping to distribute her classmates’ shoes before they head outdoors or go home. Whenever we pick her up from school, she hovers over the shoe rack for what seems like eternity, repeatedly retrieving and showing us each and every pair of shoes that belongs to her friends.

SHOES. Seriously?! And because she loves touching her face and chewing on her fingers, the germs literally passed from Foot to Hand to Mouth.

Faced with the prospect of having two babies sick with HFMD, we despatched Claire and her frozen milk buffet to my in-laws’ house for a week.

For the next few days, Coco and I hung out together at home.

We snuggled under the covers till late. (The few blisters that she had weren’t the watery type, so I figured that some degree of skin contact was acceptable.)

We indulged in extended iPad time on the bed.

She jumped and bounced all over our bed. I readily caught her each time she stumbled. 

We ate condensed milk sandwiches for breakfast. I let her lick the sweet, sticky dredges from the bowl.

We played ‘trains & buses’.

We whipped up imaginary pasta dishes and fed them to Kermit (the frog).

We stuck a plaster on Kermit when he burned his little webbed palm on the hot stove (according to Coco).

We watched Disney’s 1932 version of ‘The Three Little Pigs’ on YouTube. We re-enacted scenes where the Big Bad Wolf blew poor Coco Pig’s cardboard walls down.

We surfed for episodes of ‘Thomas & Friends’ and made her toy train zip through a cardboard town, delivering crayon-drawn milk, apples, chestnuts and straw to the pig farm.

We exhausted our new stash of ‘Elmo’s World’ and ‘Sesame Street’ DVDs.

We read story books galore.

We ate macaroni in tomato sauce for lunch every single day.

We drank iced Ribena and polished off cold, juicy longans. 

We sang ‘The Wheels on the Bus’ a hundred, thousand, million times. Our super duper bus carried all our family members and just about every imaginable animal on earth. Giraffes and elephants included.

The Incy Wincy Spider climbed up Coco’s leg (she insisted) just as many million times.

We lovingly soothed the angry, red blisters on her hands and legs with ointment and anti-itch moisturiser.

We shared mini M&M chocolates (Or rather, I gamely pretended to eat her generous saliva-covered offerings and hid them under my plate.)

We had hour-long baths and engaged in deep conversations with Mummy Duck, Coco Duck and Claire Duck.

We worked at potty-training (She fooled me every time by cheerfully announcing “Done!” but there was never anything there.)

Come nightfall, we returned to the warm spot under the covers.

She grazed on milk.

I held her close.

She hugged me tight.

I breathed in her baby scent.

We fell asleep together.

Who would have guessed that HFMD would give us one of the best times of our lives?


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