Did I Sabotage Him?


One of my favorite memories from last summer, is when our family went blueberry picking together. As we filled our buckets, my TBP ran between us stealing berries and looking for snakes and bugs. It couldn’t have been a more perfect setting as the sun set on the mountain that towers above blueberry farm.  We enjoyed the fruits of our labors in pancakes, muffins and smoothies throughout the year.

Once we celebrated my son’s birthday and the Fourth of July, I knew it was just a matter of weeks before we could take part in the same summer ritual.

“I don’t want to go blueberry picking today!”

“I’m very tired!”

“I don’t really even like blueberries…I just did it because you like them!”

I was sure that once we got away from the house, that he would change his mind.  I kept reminding him about the fun we had together.

We arrived at the blueberry farm and after a bit of negotiating, we agreed that he could take him Nintendo DS.  No…It wasn’t what I pictured, but I thought he would put the game down and start playing in the rows of plants like he did last year.

That didn’t happen.

Apparently while I was remembering our previously perfect experience, I left out some important details.

Last summer, we arrived an hour before closing…memories of the sunset should have clued me in on that one!  That meant that it wasn’t as busy and there was a breeze through the fields.  This year, it was toasty!

This year, he chose flip-flop sandals instead of shoes and socks.  He also had shorts on instead of the long pants.  Both of these changes caused a sensory reaction that I should have prepared for, but honestly I didn’t think about.  How is it that I still forget the impact of tall grass, gravel and flying bugs on bare legs or exposed toes?

It wasn’t long before discomfort morphed into a tantrum.

I knew he was uncomfortable, but I still thought he could calm himself if he sat on a chair and had his game.  I picked faster.  I really wanted those blueberries!

Lately, we have been trying to stretch him a bit outside of his comfort zone and so we didn’t rush right to the car; however, soon we realized that there was no turning back.

Once we finally got back to the car, he was exhausted and apologetic.  It really wasn’t his fault and I felt bad that he was unintentionally set up to fail.

Although it wasn’t the experience that I hoped for, we came home with enough berries to enjoy for the week.  We have already talked about what went wrong and plan on making another attempt in a few weeks.

Is there a time when you feel as though you accidentally set up your kid for failure?

How do you nudge your child out of their comfort zone?

We finished the day with a bit of Harry Potter and ice cream served on our favorite vintage TV trays 🙂


12 thoughts on “Did I Sabotage Him?

  1. I get so frustrated with myself when I think I’ve thought of every angle where things can go wrong, only to realize that I’ve neglected the most obvious… like a full belly or something like that.
    Glad you were able to get a small haul of berries and that he’s willing to make another attempt 🙂

    • “Willing” I’m not sure about….
      Having the opportunity to go again so that we can support him and make other choices is more like it 🙂

      We will go with shoes and long pants. We will try to go late enough that it is cooler without getting so late that he is tired. As you know, a balancing act.


  2. See this is why I buy my blueberries at great expense from the supermarket 🙂 I feel like I sabotage most things most days. I’m a slow learner sometimes (despite the giftedness!).

    • Ha!
      I’m all about going the easy route but wasn’t expecting this to be the real battle that it turned out to be 😦

      On a side note…I did have great blueberry pancakes this morning!

  3. I have never done blueberry picking. We did raspberry picking two years ago. That was fun, but my, then, five year old got bored quickly. We hit two farms and the second one had chicken walking around while we picked. They at least entertained him, although they began to peck at our feet – the little rascals! That picture of the mountain is gorgeous!

  4. I think that it is good to encourage our kids out of their comfort zones every now and then, but also find some kind of balance between encouraging them and making them feel pressured. We don’t want to pressure our kids to try new things too much, or else they may start to feel resentful and turn away from that experience completely. I’m learning that with my older son not to pressure him too much to “change” his ways. 😉

    Blueberry picking sounds so fun! I used to go strawberry picking when I was little and lived in Washington. I realized when I got older that it was a happy memory, so maybe your son will realize one day that even though he “did it for you”, it was still an enjoyable time and will thank you for it when he’s older 🙂

    • You would think blueberry picking was so much easier because strawberry picking is low to the ground 🙂

      I try the tradition angle, but honestly somedays nothing works 🙂

      Plan to give it another go soon!

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