Living in Japan,  Parenting

A year later with a baby.

Sharing is caring!

HFMD is probably an abbreviation most people have heard of. What exactly does it mean – it will be a surprise if someone has not heard of its existence. Well, for those who have no kids, to give the benefit of doubt, it just literal means “hand, foot and mouth disease”. It obvious enough isn’t it? 

Tracing back to a couple months back in June, Emma had some red bumps on her little hand and foot. In the early stage of HFMD, one would have thought it might be some red spots which will probably go away soon. However, that is just a sign of the beginning to a full blown of the virus. After a few days later, Emma had a fever and her mini buttock started to appear higher density of discolored bumps, but she seems pretty energetic and we thought she might just needed some rest at home. Since I had to work, thankful for the parent-in-law, brought Emma to the clinic and she was diagnosed with HFMD. To be honest, the first time was pretty mild. Emma was still having quite a good appetite but she just felt maybe not so comfortable while she had the fever. After the fever subsided, she was all energetic again. 

First round of HFMD

Sad to say, Emma had another round of HFMD after a couple of months. Of course, the culprit was the child care which Emma attends to. But who could I blame? No one wants their children to be affected by such disease, however, as long as your child attends the child care centre, this situation could never be avoided. I could either quit my job or face the fact that Emma has to get sick often. The current pace was not too bad at her age now –  once every 2 months. When she just turned 6 months old, her pace was getting sick every week. I had to say sorry every single week to tell the company my daughter was sick, I had to bring her to the hospital. It turned out she had a similar symptoms to asthma – coughing every night and sometimes during the day. This was not conclusive as Emma was still just 6 months old, and the doctor could not determine it was asthma until she was at least a year old. However, her treatment was similar to an asthmatic patient. 

Second round of HFMD

Just when things start to turn alright – no symptoms of asthma for Emma, her child care center has this ongoing HFMD virus spreading to many children. And not once, but twice Emma had HFMD. As I had mentioned in my social media posts, the second time was twice as bad as the first time. My one week of summer holiday was dedicated to look after Emma. Not that I was unwilling to look after my daughter, I was upset that she was sick, unwell and suffering from the pain of HFMD. Emma was drooling non-stop, temperamental. At times, she behaves fine and most other time, she was crying, trying to complain about her unhappiness or feeling unwell about herself. I could only accompany her, let her be sticky and a few times, I was just so tired and allowed her to cry badly. 

It hits the dad 

Just when you thought things are returning back to normal, the dad got infected with HFMD. Adults infected with HFMD is not very common, and yet the husband had to get sick. He kept complaining that he was not feeling well and sporadic red spots appeared in both his hands and feet. The hardest part seems to be the countless number of mouth ulcers, hurting very badly for every mouth of food. Hmmm, it does really seems very torturous. But I was not enjoying much either, as I had to attend to Emma without much help from the husband for a week. Bringing and picking up Emma back from the child-care for a whole week, and so on. Oh well, this is probably just the tip of the ice-berg in being a parent anyway. 

Graduating from breastfeeding

I used to breastfeed Emma once a day, before she sleeps during the night. However, she cried so badly when I tried to feed her when she had HFMD. Probably she felt really uncomfortable in her mouth, and so I stopped trying to feed her. Naturally, it seems like the most logical thing was to stop breastfeeding. And it worked, she no longer needs to be breastfed anymore! Before you question why I stopped breastfeeding early… (which is not true) In Japan, most children stop breastfeeding at the age of one. The main reason is because it seems like the standard that children start to eat full meals, with tea breaks (may include cow’s milk, not formula milk). I have never known that the progress of baby solids are so well planned and advanced that are all mothers are being educated the same way out of Japan? My parents back in Singapore, are always asking me if Emma has enough nutrition for her meal? Doesn’t she need formula milk? I should give her formula milk to make sure she has enough nutrition. But Japan just does not work like this. No, we do not give formula milk once your child starts full solid meals. No, I do not even give her formula milk even when I gave birth to her. It might be of a social pressure thing, as most Japanese mothers just gives breast milk by default. Unless she does not produce enough milk for the baby, breast milk is the way to go. Shrugs.

Parenting is never easy

This may sound cliche but it is the truth, and a fact. If those so-called perfect mothers in social media which just show the glam and all about children or parenting, it is time to unfollow them seriously. Parenting is nothing perfect. Real mothers basically just do not show or reveal online simply because we are just too tired to even do anything online. We would rather just sleep in, take a breather and it’s the next round with your little one. But of course, the joy of having a little one in your life can never be replaced too. We just have to accept the fact that this is another phase in our life, and to cherish every moment with our little one before they turn not so little and not so adorable any longer. This is a universal thing, not just about Japan. #lol

Baby photo created by valeria_aksakova –

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *