This month, my family and I showed up at Harvey’s, a festive local restaurant in downtown Christiansted, St. Croix. The menu was handwritten on the door, and we each chose our respective dishes. I was pleasantly surprised to learn the cook, and matriarch of the family restaurant, immigrated to St. Croix from the island of Montserrat.
Montserrat is close to my heart; after I embarked on my medical studies, I lived in Montserrat from 1986 to 1988. Sensing my obvious excitement, Mrs. Sarah Harvey came right over to greet me.
We chatted about family life, good food, and how she parented her children. I told her about my upcoming book, Pediatrician with a Passport, and my own studies of parenting across cultures.
What a pleasure to visit with Mrs. Harvey! She is friendly and honest. When Mrs. Harvey was 9, her mother died. Her aunt, who already had 13 children, raised her. With Mrs. Harvey and her 5 siblings, her dear aunt raised 18 children! Mrs. Harvey’s experience as a child, mother, and grandmother taught her quite a bit about parenting. She certainly has some wise words to pass on. Here is a snippet of our conversation.
Soothing a baby. Mrs. Harvey got this advice from her beloved aunt: “Strip the baby down to the diaper and put him on your chest. The baby feels your heart. He lets out a sigh and relaxes.” This lovely heart to heart calming remedy is a testament to research proven skin-to-skin benefits. Babies love to feel your warm skin and tender touch.
How to treat hiccups. I love these tips. First try putting two match sticks behind the ears (don’t light the matches!) Another remedy – with three fingers, gently hold your hand over the child’s pulse on the wrist. (This is the area on the thumb side at the wrist.)
Anise Tea to cure nausea. Mrs. Harvey brews fresh Anise tea for nausea treatment. To make this tea: Boil fresh water. Put fresh Anise seeds in. Seep for 5 minutes and drain. Let the tea cool to lukewarm and drink. Anise tea can’t be safely given to babies and younger children, but may be soothing for adults.
Relieving teething pain. Take an ice cube and rub it on sore, teething gums. Also, another easy soother for teething is to freeze a pacifier.
On feeding your family Seafood Kallaloo. This nutritious dish is packed with protein, vitamins, minerals, and amazing flavor. Mrs. Harvey made Seafood Kallaloo for her own father when he visited St. Croix. She said he was skeptical about the greens, but ended up loving the tasty dish. Although, regretfully, I don’t have Mrs. Harvey’s exact recipe, I did find a similar recipe here. The picture below shows my niece, Sophie, enjoying her barbecue chicken and my own Kallaloo dish in progress.
I’ll visit St. Croix soon and catch up with her again. Meanwhile, maybe making my own Seafood Kallaloo will bring back pleasant memories of Mrs. Harvey and her good company.