Poor Ben was in a state one night after dinner. He’s usually such a cheerful little guy, but he gets worked up when he can’t keep up with Rowan. It’s normal, I know – they are a little more than three years apart in age, and Rowan is naturally going to be able (and want) to do things that 8-year-olds can do, but 5-year-olds can’t. This time, he was programming a robot. Rowan has been writing robot programs all week, but not actually downloading them to the robot. Have you ever watched someone else program something? Even if it’s someone you adore, as Ben adores Rowan, it’s more interesting to watch the grass grow. Ben’s solution was to use the copier/scanner near the computer to copy toys and other household objects. HILARIOUS … at least until your parents tell you that we’re not going to waste any more paper and ink copying your socks. Combine that injunction with a case of the Mondays and just being agitated in general, and you have a recipe for whiiiiineyness.
Luckily, I had realized just before all this started that I had overbought berries this week at Costco. It’s easy to do – when there are piles of blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries, all organic, and all stacked up high on pallets that look so tiny in a huge warehouse refrigerator … well, it’s easy to get carried away. I made some into a fruit salad with some watermelon and kiwi, but I knew we’d need a little more help than that before the berries started to mold. I washed everything except for the strawberries, put them in a pie plate before dinner, and let them sit with a little bit of sugar at room temperature to get everything going.
So, when Ben started to get worked up after dinner, I recruited him to help me in the kitchen with something he can do. He cheerfully, but earnestly, stirred the berries with some lemon zest, lemon juice, and the few tablespoons of sugar I had added earlier. Then, he stirred together some oats, brown sugar (it looks like sand!), and butter, and we dumped it all on top of the berries. We baked it in a pie plate (on top of a cookie sheet, to catch drips) at 350 for about 45 minutes. Ben’s mood was transformed right along side the berries – from something tart and kind of prickly to something soft and delicious. I love combining berries like this, because the deep purple color that you get in the end is so beautiful.
And that’s not so different from little Ben, either. He perked up, and we played at the park, where he wished me “Happy Mother’s Day!” at least a half-dozen times. He knows that it’s still almost a week away, but he’s so excited. Berry season and five-year-olds don’t last forever, so it’s best to enjoy them while you can. Both are sweeter when enjoyed with ice cream.