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!
32 thoughts on “Lemon balm popsicles and motherhood.”
“Everyday you have dozens of things to take care of. But only one of them has feelings.” I love this quote and I totally get it too. I’m happy she’s feeling better. Which bath salts does Lupine recommend for tummy aches?
For detoxifying we just use a generous scoop of Epsom salts. No oils, no scents, just salt.
I am struggling with that – I need to remember that quote too!
I love that quote, too. It’s what I’m working hard on.
My love though, he does that naturally. Is that a typical guy thing or is it just my babys father who is so good to be in the moment?
You’re such a fantastic mama (and writer) Rachel!
Beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing this moment with us!
Healing energy to Lupine. Way to teach her to honour her intuition. That is a true gift.
What a beautiful picture of motherhood.
I don’t get it all the times, sometimes I just have to keep working, so I try to do so next to my son.
Thanks for the recipe.
The timing on this could not be better! Devin and Jade both have tummy aches. Im off to the store for the ingredients. Thanks again Rachel!
Glad to hear Lupine is feeling better. My son had a low grade fever and was drifting in and out of sleep and awake recently. It was frightful. I put lemon slices on his feet and wrap with socks. We ran a bath for him but forgotten about the salt. Thanks for the home remedy and the reminder to be mindful.
thanks for the details rachel! hope lupine is feeling better! (or channeling the faeries for more lemon balm inspiration!)
And I was wondering what I was going to do with all that lemon balm…..Thanks!
What a beautiful “in the moment story”! Thank you for sharing and reminding.
OT: Could you tell me about your popsicle mold? Is it metal? Are you happy with it?
I love the care and tenderness that comes through with your words, and your willingness to give your daughter as much of your time and self that she needed. Last year my then almost 8 year old went through her most intense illness ever. Very high fever like we had never experienced before. And her and I just stayed in bed together for several days. I was newly pregnant and completely completely pukey, and really we just literally laid there together for days. And it was such an incredibly special time that I was so very grateful for, her birthday was approaching, a new baby would be coming, but for then she was still the littlest, my baby. I will always remember.
Now if I could only remember to relax about the house tidiness a bit.
Oh, and the children’s wisdom.. I told my oldest that we were going to wait until next week to try making some beet kvass. And she sighed, a bit disappointed, cause “I really need it” she said.
Hope you all have a well and happy day!
You know what Rachel…. I’m printing this post out! It’s beautiful and so very in my moment with 2 sick babes. Thank you xx
Where did your learn about the health benefits of lemon balm popsicles and detoxing with epsom salts? I thought of this post this morning at 2am while I laid in bed with my 7y who wasn’t feeling well. My knowledge doesn’t go much beyond “Lemon and Honey” tea. Glad Lupine is feeling better!
Feel well over there, friend!
Lovely home remedy!
We also LOVE lemon balm infused honey. Love, love, love. Can’t have too much. Just pack a mason jar with fresh, dry (as in no surface moisture) leaves. Add a few slices of ginger, then cover with honey and tuck away in your pantry. Strain it off in a couple of months and enjoy. You’ll wish you made more, no matter how much you made.
Hi, Beth. They are metal. I got them from The Tickle Trunk – http://www.thetickletrunk.com/8-ice-pop-molds. I need to do a proper review of them soon!
What a beautiful and magical story. Thank you for sharing with us!
As a naturalist I got really into plants – edible and medicinal in particular. For the kids we do the Herb Fairies program from Learning Herbs (www.herbfairies.com). We also love this book as a basic place to begin. http://www.amazon.com/dp/1603420789
It is so empowering to have a few more holistic tricks up your mama sleeve.
And the salts… body care business. Lots of learning about what different things do internally when you apply them externally!
I’m a new mom but have worked with children for over 15 years, so I know how bad stomach bugs are for little ones. Thank you so much for sharing this! I will have it saved to make for my daughter… when the time comes.
Rachel, this was so lovely in so many ways! Keeping this recipe on hand. 🙂
what a beautiful piece of writing and inspiration. glad she is feeling more herself.
Rachel, we are experiencing this right now. I will make the popsicles today! Thank YOU
so beautiful… a true portrait of motherhood
I love Lemon Balm. It grows extremely well here in the Pacific Northwest, almost to the point of it being a weed. I find it really relaxing, even more so than some of the standard nervines like Valerian and Skullcap. I harvested a big plant last fall and dried it over the course of 3 months in my apartment and was really surprised at how strong it was when I had that first decoction from the dried leaves. I just finsihed a website on the health benefits of lemon balm that might be of some interest, its at http://www.lemonbalmbenefits.com . One of the reasons it’s relaxing is it blocks the action of thyroid hormone in multiple ways. There haven’t been human trials yet for it’s use, but its interesting that it is relaxing in multiple ways.
thank you 🙂
My son an I recently had to have some xrays done. I’ve been reading about using epsom salts and baking soda (a pound of each) in a bath to detox the radiation. I remembered you mentioned give Lupine a salt bath so I thought I’d come back and ask if you have any experience with the salt/baking soda combo for radiation. Thanks 🙂