Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Kayley's First Day of Kindergarten

It was here. That dreaded day. The day that Kayley had hoped would never come. Her first day of kindergarten.

The noisy alarm clock went off and Kayley buried her head deeper under her soft pink covers. Mommy came cheerfully into the room and threw open the shades. "Rise and shine!" she said with a smile throwing off Kayley's covers. "It's your first day of school!"

Mommy sure sounded more excited than Kayley felt. She sat up and frowned at her mother. "Are you happy to be getting rid of me?" she asked. "Aren't you going to miss me? I am going to miss you."

Mommy gave Kayley a great big kiss and hug. "Of course, I am going to miss you, but you'll be busy having fun and learning. The school day will go so fast before you know it you'll be home. You won't have time to miss me. "

Kayley didn't think so. Unhappily, she dragged herself out of bed. Slowly, she put on her new pink and purple striped shirt and her new purple pants and her new brown shoes that buckled on the sides. She went down the stairs as slow as a turtle and sat down at the kitchen table. She barely tasted the delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs and toast that her mother had made her. Normally, that was Kayley's favorite. Today, however, she was so nervous that her stomach felt heavy like she'd swallowed a giant rock. She just couldn't eat anything. She just kept pushing the food around on her plate and looking at the clock. She hoped that time would pass slowly or that it would just freeze altogether, and she wouldn't have to go at all.

 Before, Kayley knew it, it was time to go. "Come on, Kayley." called Mommy excitedly hurrying her into her jacket and out the door. Kayley was glad they lived so close to the school and Mommy would be walking her to school. She was happy to be with Mommy for just a little longer.

Kayley tried  to walk slowly again, but her mother pulled her along quickly. Soon, they arrived at the big red brick school house. Kayley blinked and held tightly to her mother's hand. The school looked even bigger than she remembered it.

Suddenly, she stopped walking and looked around. She was trying to think of how she could get out of going to school. She didn't see a way that she could escape, but she did see another little girl. The girl wore her hair in two big brown ponytails and  had on a blue jacket and pink sneakers. The other little girl smiled at her. "Hi. I'm Emma," said the other little girl. "This is my first day of school. I am in Miss Smith's class, and I am a little bit scared. I am looking for a friend. Are you in Miss Smith's class? Will you be my friend?"

Kayley smiled back. She knew just how Emma felt. "My name is Kayley, and I am in Miss Smith's class too," she replied, "and I'd like to be your friend." She took Emma's hand and they walked in to the building together. Maybe, this school thing wasn't going to be so bad after all.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Betsy's Shadow

Betsy McEntire was 11. Her sister Briana was 6. It wasn't easy being the big sister. Everywhere that Betsy went her little sister was sure to follow. It was pretty annoying actually. Sometimes, Betsy felt like she couldn't move or think or even breathe or do anything  without Briana being there.

Betsy was in her room talking on the phone. Briana came in and planted herself at the end of Betsy's bed. "Do you mind?" asked Betsy angrily grabbing the phone and turning around to face away from her sister.

"Not at all," replied Briana calmly stretching out and making herself comfortable on her sister's bed. Betsy gave her a nasty look. Briana ignored her and just sat on the bed happily smiling at her sister."Briana," insisted Betsy "Just because Mom and Dad are out and I'm babysitting for you doesn't mean I have to spend every minute entertaining you."

"But I want to be with you, Betsy." pleaded her little sister.

"Isn't it your bed time or something?" asked Betsy hopefully glancing at the clock.

"No. My bed time is 8:00, and it's not 8:00 yet. " answered Briana. She wasn't old enough to tell time yet, but she knew her numbers. She knew that if the first number on the clock was only a 7, it was not past her bed time.

Sure enough. It was only 7:30. "Well, just go find something to do," Betsy told her sister.

Briana stayed put. "But I want to be with you." she insisted.

"Briana, please." begged Betsy. Still Briana didn't budge.  Betsy pulled Briana off the bed and pushed her toward the door. Briana looked at her sadly. Betsy felt guilty for about a minute, but then she felt angry. She was not Briana's entertainment comitteee. She was tired of Briana always wanting to be around her every single minute. She needed some space and some time to herself, and she deserved it. "Just go. She told her little sister. "Find something to do. I'm tired of having a shadow all the time." She pushed Briana out into the hall and locked the door and went back to the phone.

Betsy heard the clumping of Briana's loud feet hurrying down the stairs. She felt another twinge of guilt but pushed it out of her mind. She picked up the phone and called her best friend, Kate. Soon she was lost in conversation and forgot all about her little sister.

After about an hour, Betsy glanced at the clock. It was now almost 8:30 and well past Briana's bed time and almost Betsy's too. Briana really ought to be in bed. Where was the little troublemaker anyway? There was no way she would have put herself in bed. Betsy opened her door and called out to her sister. "Briana? Briana? Where are you?" She didn't specifically mention that it was bed time because Briana hated to go to bed so that surely wouldn't make her come.  There was no answer from Briana just a scary quietness. Betsy wandered out into the hall looking for her sister. She went in to Briana's room. Briana's toys were scattered all around but there was no sign of Briana.

Betsy wandered through the house looking for her sister and calling her name. With each step, she got more and more worried. Where was Briana? This wasn't funny anymore. She really didn't want to have to call Mom and Dad and tell them she lost Briana. If she did that, they would never trust her again. She was really getting worried though. Maybe, she should even call the police. "Briana!" she called out one more time desperately.

Suddenly, the garage door slammed open and in walked Briana. "Briana!" screamed Betsy overwhelmed with relief. "Where have you been?" She didn't know whether to kiss or kill her little sister for the worry she'd put her through.

"I went away because you wanted me to." replied Briana calmly. "You told me to go. You said you didn't want a shadow anymore. You wanted me to go so I went."

Besty hugged her little sister. Now, that Briana was found she felt much calmer. "Oh, you sweet silly girl." she said hugging her sister. "I love you. Just because I don't want you to follow me around every minute doesn't mean that I don't."

"You do?" asked Briana unsurely.

Betsy nodded and hugged Briana again and kissed her. "Yes. I do."

"I love you too." replied Briana hugging her back.

"Just don't ever scare me like that again. " said Betsy.

"I won't." promised Briana. She followed her sister upstairs to get ready for bed. Betsy smiled at her. Maybe, sometimes, it wasn't bad to have a shadow.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Olivia the Winner

Olivia liked to play games. Olivia liked to win at a games. To Olivia, rules were things that could easily be changed if it would help her to win at a game. Other people, however, had to play by the rules of the game or at least by Olivia's rules.

One afternoon, Olivia wanted to play a game.  She saw her brother, Joe. He was sitting on the living room couch with the TV on. "Joe, will you play a game with me?" she asked.

Joe shook his head. "Sorry, Livy." he said. "I've got homework." He quickly turned off the TV and  hurried out of the room. Olivia stared after him. What was with him? Joe was never in a rush to do homework.

She went into her sister's room. Her sister was lying on her bed staring dreamily at a poster of her favorite movie star. "Jenny, play a game with  me." begged Olivia.

Jenny sat up quickly. "Oh," she said. "I forgot I have to help, Mom." she raced out of the room.

Olivia shook her head. Everybody sure was acting strange today. First Joe wanted to do homework. Then, Jenny wanted to help Mom. Usually these were things they had to be forced to do. What in the world was going on? She wandered into the kitchen. Her Mom was sitting at the table paying bills. Olivia didn't see Jenny. She turned in a circle. She looked under the table.

"Olivia, what are you doing?" asked her mother looking confused.

"Looking for Jenny." she answered still under the table.

"She's not here."  replied her mother. "So you can come out from under that table." she added with a smile. She gave Olivia a hand and helped her slide out from under the table.  Olivia plopped into a chair. Suddenly, everything made sense to her, and it wasn't good. She frowned and puffed out her lower lip as though she were about to cry. "What's wrong?" asked her mother sitting down beside her.

"Jenny isn't helping you, and I bet Joe isn't doing his homework either. They just don't want to play a game with me. Nobody wants to play a game with me!"

"Well, I am sure that is not true." replied her mother trying to make her feel better.

"Yes, it is!" yelled Olivia. "In school nobody wants to play a game with me either. Not Angie or Nancy or Benny or anybody. I asked them all, and they all said 'No'. Nobody likes me! Nobody wants to play with me!" she tried to run out of the room, but her mother grabbed her and held her tight.

"I am sure that is not true either." said her mother gently easing Olivia on to her lap.  "Why do you think people might not want to play games with you?"

"I'm too good for them," replied Olivia proudly. "I always win."

Her mother nodded her head. "That's right." she agreed. "You always do win.Wouldn't it be nice if other people had a chance to win sometimes too?" 

 Olivia stared at her mother as if her mother was a creature from another planet. Why in the world would it be nice if other people won sometimes? It wouldn't be nice for Olivia. She was the game playing champion. She always won. "But I hate losing!" she insisted finally.

"Maybe other people don''t like losing either." suggested her mother. "If you lost all the time would you want to play?" Olivia shook her head. She had never thought about it that way. If she was always the winner that meant anyone she played a game with was always the loser. Nobody wanted to lose all the time. No wonder nobody wanted to play with her.

From that day on, Olivia still liked to play games. She still liked to win at games, but she didn't always win at games. She always played by the rules of the game and never made up her own rules. Win or lose, she always played fair and she always had plenty of people who wanted to play games with her.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Just Like June

April Valentine was 5 years old. Her sister, June was 9. April adored her big sister. She wanted to be like her big sister in every way. She wanted to dress like June. She wanted to talk like June. She wanted to act like June. In fact, she copied her big sister so much that some people called her "little Junie".

One day, Daddy was working. Mommy, June and April went for a girls day out. First they went to the department store. Mommy was going to get each of them a new outfit. The first thing April saw was a pretty blue dress with flowers. June picked out a pair of jeans and a pink sweater. "Would you like that pretty dress?" Mommy asked April.

April shook her head. "No, thank you, mommy." she replied, "I want jeans and a sweater, please." but she didn't smile and she didn't look happy.

"Are you sure?" asked Mommy.

April nodded and picked out a pair of jeans and a pink sweater.  April frowned and bit her lip. She looked at the blue flowered dress again, but didn't say anything.

Next they went to get new shoes. April picked out a pair of Dora the Explorer sandals. June picked out a pair of plain white sandals. April put down the Dora sandals and picked up a pair of plain white sandals too. She knew June would never be caught dead in Dora sandals.  "Are you sure?" asked  Mommy. April nodded, but she still didn't look happy.

After they paid for their purchases, they went to McDonalds to get some lunch. McDonalds was April's favorite restaurant.  Chicken nuggets was her favorite food. "I don't like chicken nuggets anymore." announced June whose taste in food was always changing. "I want a chicken sandwich."

"And chicken nuggets for you, April?" asked Mommy.

April shook her head. "I'll have a chicken sandwich too." she replied even though she didn't like chicken on bread. When her lunch came, she barely picked at her sandwich. Afterward, her tummy was still so hungry that it hurt, but she didn't say anything.

At home later, April sat on her bed with her favorite stuffed bunny, Fluff. She was hungry and unhappy. Mommy came in and sat down beside her. "Come on sit on my lap. baby," she said. April climbed up on Mommy's lap and put her arms around Mommy's neck. She started to cry. "There, there, my sweetie pie." said Mommy gently patting her on the back. "Today was not such a good day for you, was it?" April lifted her tearstained face and shook her head. "You would have been happier with a pretty blue dress and Dora sandals." continued Mommy. April nodded miserably and a flood of fresh tears fell from her eyes. Mommy hugged her. "I'm glad you like your sister so much, but you don't need to be like her all the time" said Mommy "Be you. Do what makes you happy. Get what makes you happy. Eat what makes you happy. The world already has a June Valentine. So you be the best April Valentine that you can be."

April thought about it.  Maybe Mommy was right. After all, she really liked the blue dress and the Dora sandals. The clothes she had picked out to be like June were awful plain. Her tummy was still hurting too from not eating her lunch.

"We can exchange the sweater and jeans and  the white sandals for the blue dress and Dora sandals tomorrow if you'd like. " said Mommy as if she were reading April's mind.

April nodded and smiled. For the first time, that day she felt really happy. "Can I have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?" she asked. "I'm really hungry." She knew June hated peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but she didn't care. From now on, she wanted to be just like herself and not like anybody else.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Shoes for Isabella

Isabella woke up bright and early and bounced out of bed. "Today is the day!" she said excitedly, "Today is the day, I get my new shoes!" She hurried into her mother and father's room.

Mommy was still in bed when Isabella rushed into the room. "Mommy! Mommy! Wake up!" she cried  excitedly.

Mommy opened her eyes sleepily and yawned. "Isabella, my sweet," she said. "It's too early. The stores aren't even open yet. Don't worry." she added when she saw Isabella's disappointed face. "By the time we get dressed and get ready and eat our breakfast, it will be time to go."

Isabella dressed quickly. The rest of the morning dragged on slowly. She barely touched her breakfast because she was too excited. She just kept staring at the door and waiting for it to be time to go.

Finally, it was time. As soon as they arrived in the store, Isabella began hurrying through the racks of shoes looking for the perfect pair. "No." she said shaking her head and pointing to a  pair of brown shoes painted with flowers. No to a pair of pink and white striped shoes. No to a  pair of plain black shoes. No. No. No. Again and again no. Each pair of shoes she saw, she did not want.

"Isabella," said her mother."Aren't there any shoes here that you like?" Isabella shook her head sadly. She sat down on the floor and looked as though she would cry.

Just then a young sales woman approached. She smiled at Isabella. "Hi. I'm Jen. Can I help you?" she asked. Isabella didn't think so. She looked disappointedly at Jen. Jen just smiled back at her. "Don't worry." she said "I think I know the perfect shoes for you." Jen went into the store room and came back a moment later. She handed Isabella a box. "These just came in." she said "We haven't even had time to put them out yet."

Isabella slowly opened the box. She wasn't expecting much. However, as soon as the box was open her whole face lit up. She excitedly lifted up a sparkly red shoe. "These are perfect!" she said excitedly to her mother.

"Are you sure?" asked her mother.


Isabella nodded happily. "Yes!" she replied" These are the shoes I want for my first day of kindergarten!"