“Look, Mama,” the child called, a soft fist held aloft as she ran, delighted, toward her mother. “I found some polka-dot blueberries!”
“Wait, where? Let me see? Those aren’t … Did you eat any?”
The child shrugged and twirled away, fingers closing protectively over a grimy palm that still held some blue orbs of what-mama-said-are-not-really-blueberries.
“Wait! Get back here. I need to see those again … Are you sure you didn’t eat any? They could make you very sick! And …” the woman looked around their deserted picnic blanket. “Where is your brother..? Where’s Eric!?”
“Oh,” the little girl pranced out of reach, and gestured vaguely in the direction of the trees beyond the forest clearing. “There. He found polka-dot strawberry mushrooms!”
Note: Inspired by a true story of a family I know, whose summer picnic ended up with a call to Poison Control, an ambulance, and two children in the Emergency Department. One child was fine. The second child eventually got better. Mama still can’t touch berries or mushrooms. Teach your children about the dangers of foraging and instruct them to not pick or eat (!!) any plant they don’t show you FIRST. …