Brownout!

It’s brownout season again, because the storms and heavy rains have come at last. When you have a baby in the house, the discomfort during brownouts is magnified. Whereas before you only had to contend against your boredom and the heat due to the lack of aircon/fan, now  there is the matter of making sure that your little one is comfortable.

A couple of days ago, heavy rains coupled with scary thunder and lightning caused a power outage in our area at around 4 pm. Since the air was cool, I didn’t really have a problem about my Gabby getting too hot and sticky. But when he fell asleep at 7 pm (which was an hour earlier than his usual bedtime), I assumed my station beside him on the bed and started fanning him so that he’ll be comfortable. Mind you, it was nakakangawit, I had to stop every few minutes to rest my arms. At around 11 pm even I got too sleepy and could no longer wait for my husband to get home, so I took our Firefly rechargeable lamp and fan and placed it beside the bed to keep Gabby cool. Being cooped up in our room though, I didn’t realize that power was already back by 11 pm. Hehe.

Here’s what I learned and/or realized re coping with brownouts:

1. Always keep a stash of candles on hand, but never bring a lighted candle in bedrooms; as a safety precaution, we always limit the candle within the vicinity of the kitchen and the dining room where there aren’t any clothes or curtains which might catch fire, and where water for dousing any unexpected fire is within easy reach.

2. Have lots of batteries in various sizes on stock. I felt secure during our last bout of brownout because of this. I was able to turn on our battery-operated air pump for our aquarium and use four flashlights, with lots of batteries to spare.

3. To make life easier, get those rechargeable lamp and fan combo thingamajigs. We were able to use ours twice already, the first time being post-Ondoy, when power was out in our place for 4 days. The one we have, the Firefly one, works great, and has a good battery which does not run out of power too soon ( I can’t say the same for our Akari lamp, though).

4. I also bought, post-Ondoy, a couple of handheld battery-operated fans. I got those from the toy department of SM, actually. One of them was silent but did not give off any air; the other was a bit noisier but did its job. These come in handy especially for when you have babies or small children in the house. Now though, I could not find either of them , hence the Mommy Paypay routine.

5. Get battery-operated AM radios as well. Keeping up with the news is essential especially when there are typhoons.

6. It’s not that hard to entertain a baby and keep him occupied even during brownouts, but once nighttime sets in it’s better to get him to go to sleep ASAP. The darkened surroundings during power outages are more conducive to falls and slips since they lose their balance more easily; don’t let them loose!

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