I did it again.
After vowing to my mother years ago — while I was hot, sweaty and sticky with sweet juice — that I wouldn’t ever, ever, ever make my child do this awful thing, I did.
I made my daughter pick fresh strawberries. In the hot sun. (Gasp!)
In our house, a package of store-bought strawberries lasts about 45-seconds. Our little strawberry patch in the garden is well, little. And the birds tend to get to them first.
So this year, I decided we would pick our own fresh strawberries at a local farm.
“We are going to pick strawberries tomorrow!” I told my husband.
He gave me a blank stare, and I realized what I had just said.
“Oh my gosh! I HATED doing that when I was a kid!”
Every year my mother dragged my brother and me, probably kicking and screaming, to Fulton Farms.
We moaned and groaned the whole time, or at least until Mom gave us The Look.
My sons — the lucky ducks — got out of the strawberry picking adventure this year as they were attending Camp Invention.
But it couldn’t be put off another week, after all the strawberries are ripe.
So I loaded up my daughter and my mom (no way was she getting out of this), and off we went. We lathered up in sunscreen and popped a floppy hat on my daughter.
I was determined to make this a “fun” experience for my almost 4-year-old.
The Princess made it about 3 feet into the first row and had about 10 strawberries in her bucket before the whining commenced and continued for the next hour.
“Mmmmoooommmm! I’m hhhootttttt,” she whined again and again.
“Let’s go to ccaaarrr. Nnnooowww.”
The Look didn’t work. Explaining to her that the car was even hotter was a fruitless effort, and bribing her with ice cream also failed.
She stood in the field and pouted. She yanked off her hat. She stomped a couple of berries. She whined.
And finally when none of that worked for her, although she was grating on my (and my mom’s and all of the other pickers’) very last nerve, she gave in. Sort of.
We picked the strawberries, set them in the middle of the rows and she picked them up and put them in a bucket.
It was an extra step, but it was a peaceful, non-whiny extra step and we left with 40 quarts of fresh strawberries, sore backs and the notion to just go to a farmer’s market next time: No picking required … and no whining.