We went shoe shopping in Walmart yesterday. We really needed to go to Costco to buy shmura matzah, but Costco was closed, so we ended up in Walmart. 11 yo needed shabbos shoes, 9 yo needed sandals, 6 yo needed shabbos shoes and sandals, and 3 yo needed sandals, too. While there I decided to stop by the food aisles and stock up on Pesach ingredients, such as salt, sugar and baking soda. We passed the coffee and tea aisle and I grabbed instant coffee and a box of Bigelow tea. There I saw a box of Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime tea with chamomile. Since 9 yo likes tea (more the process of making tea and adding sugar and vanilla to it), I asked him whether he would like me to get for him some of this tea. I personally hate chamomile, so this is not something that I would be drinking. He said, yes, he would like it. We checked out.
This morning, while everyone was rushing and getting breakfast and getting underfoot, 9 yo took a long time to emerge from the bedroom. He resents Mondays like grownups do; and I am tired of being cheery about it. Once he got his breakfast, he asked about making his tea. I distractedly said yes. He said, as he was brewing it, that he might need another cup later on to calm down again. I was too busy trying to feed the baby, wipe snot off allergy-suffering 3 yo, and get some food into my system to pay much attention to what he was doing.
After breakfast, he davened and calmly prepares his chumash, same chumash that he threw a major fit over on Friday. He wrote down the words, politely asked me to help him with shorashim and asked to indicate which parts of speech he should be looking up. He did his chumash very smoothly and pleasantly. At the end he remarked how the tea is working and making him calm, almost sleepy.
I bit my tongue.
In the movie "Dumbo" the baby elephant cannot believe that he can fly unless he is holding onto a lucky feather. The feather is just a prop, but Dumbo does not believe in himself without an external crutch. Today, the tea was the crutch. The magical effect wore off right before lunch, when the violin lesson was cancelled and I asked boys to do some schoolwork on their own while I took a phone call. He had to do some math which required application of division. He knew how to do it, but he decided that they are asking him to do something else, something that he does not know how to do. Luckily, 11 yo stepped in and helped him, step-by-step. 9 yo rewarded his brother with a second cup of Sleepytime tea.
I don't want to knock the calming effects of chamomile, but I doubt that they are that pronounced. I also don't know how long the magic will keep on working. Please G-d, let it last at least the whole week.