You woke with a tummy ache.
You knew you were going to throw up, so you asked for the pail. Then Papa brought you a remedy.
I drew you a warm bath and sat by your side until you vomited, rested and asked for salts in the bath. ("Somehow I just think after throwing up that salts in the bath are a good idea," you said.) Then you vomited again as we were drying you off.
The salts were a good idea. They help your body detox. I guess you knew that already, somehow. At six.
I often marvel at your wisdom and intuition, even at times like this.
I went and found your softest pajamas and you gratefully let me put them on you, then we headed to the family room to cuddle are read books.
It turned out you were too tired for books.
You fell asleep with the bucket propped beneath your chin in case you threw up again.
Oh, sweet baby. It's hard being sick.
So I held you.
And you slept.
In my arms all morning.
You never heard your papa bring me breakfast or the boys leave for the day in town. You never heard the soft click of my knitting needle or the keys on my laptop. Mostly I just sat. Quitely. By your side.
And as I kissed your hot forehead I realized that there was so very much I could have accomplished that morning. There were dishes to wash, floors to sweep, projects to finish, work to attend to. All of it would have otherwise would have called my attention.
But not today. Not with your silent request for me to simply be with you.
I remember reading a quote as a young first-time mother that said something like, "Everyday you have dozens of things to take care of. But only one of them has feelings." And I got that. I still get that. I guess that's part of why my house is usually such a disaster.
With your exhausted and aching little body in my arms my to-do list simply melted away. It was just us. Nothing else mattered.
And I counted my mama blessings in minutes spent squeezed close in that chair, kissing your head.
You didn't even realize you had fallen asleep when you woke hours later and announced brightly, "I feel completely better. Well, almost completely better," and then asked for lemon balm popsicles.
Again with your intuition. I'm humbled by you.
So still in our pajamas as the clock approached noon we headed into the garden to pick lemon balm to brew into tea. You also asked for nettles to dry and catnip for the cat so we added those to our bags as we came inside.
And then you sat at the table and colored while I made herbal tea and popsicles to soothe your little belly.
And it worked like magic.
And then I felt that familiar maternal relief that all mamas know. The one that only comes when your little one feels better once more.
And I can breathe deep and easy again.
Lemon Balm Tummy Soothing Tea or Popsicles
1 big handful of dry lemon balm or two hand-fulls of fresh
A few slices of fresh ginger root
2 tsp fennel seed
3 C water
1 1/2 Tb slippery elm bark powder (optional)
Honey to taste
Bring all ingredients (except slippery elm and honey) to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce to low and hold at a gentle simmer for 10 minutes. Cool slightly and strain. (You can make a second infusion by adding 1 C of water and simmering again for 10 minutes, then steeping for 10 more.)
Return infusion to pot with slippery elm powder an simmer again for 3-5 minutes. The slippery elm will become quite thick and gelatinous and is ever so soothing to a sore belly.
Sweeten with honey and serve warm or freeze into popsicles.
Lemon balm is great for calming the nervous system, soothing sore throat, and settling sore stomaches. And it's delicious!