by Karleen Bradford

Copyright © Karleen Bradford. All rights reserved.
baby brother

Emmy loved her new baby brother. He was tiny and perfect. When she held him and sang all the lullabies her mother sang to her, he looked back up at her with wide, wide blue eyes.

But this new baby business wasn’t working out exactly the way she had thought it would. He took up too much of her mother’s time.

When Emmy’s mother wasn’t feeding the baby, she was burping him. Or changing his diapers. Or dressing him. Or undressing him.

And he cried a lot.

“Why don’t you put him back in your tummy?” she asked her mother one day when the baby had been particularly troublesome.

But her mother just laughed.

“It’s a beautiful day,” she said and began to bundle him up. “Let’s go to the park. Put your jacket on, Emmy.”

But Emmy had had enough.

Emmy said no.

“If you don’t put your jacket on, we can’t go,” her mother said. “It’s sunny but it’s cold and windy, too.”

Emmy just folded her arms and glared.

Emmy’s mother held out her jacket. Emmy wouldn’t even touch it.

“Well, I guess we don’t go to the park this morning then,” her mother said finally and unbundled the baby. She got busy with her chores.

Emmy went to her room. She went over to her toy box and started throwing the toys out. Pretty soon every toy she owned was on the floor. But she didn’t want to play with them. She just wanted to make a mess.

“Pick up your toys now, Emmy.” Her mother said when she saw what Emmy had done. “We’ll read a book together while the baby sleeps.”

But Emmy said no.

At lunchtime Emmy’s mother gave her a grilled cheese sandwich. She knew Emmy loved grilled cheese sandwiches best of all.

“Eat up,” she said.

But Emmy said no.

“I want to go to the park now,” she said.

“It’s too late,” her mother answered. “It’s lunchtime.”

Just then the baby began to cry.

Emmy picked up her plate, walked over to the sink and dumped her sandwich into the garbage.

“I think you need a nap,” Emmy’s mother said.

Emmy said no.

She made a big fuss but she had to go to bed anyway.

When Emmy woke up her mother gave her a glass of juice and a cookie.

“Get dressed now,” she said. “Aunt Franny’s coming to visit.

You can wear your favourite pink striped dress.”

But Emmy said no.

“She’s just coming to see the baby,” Emmy said. “She’ll just bring presents for the baby.”

She yanked the dress out of her mother’s hands and threw it in the corner. Then she stomped on it. Then she ran out of the room.

Emmy’s mother caught her. She put her arms around her and held her.

But Emmy was mad. Emmy was MAD. She kicked and she screamed and she yelled and she cried.

Emmy’s mother just kept on holding her. With love.

After a while it was over.

“Do you want to put your dress on now?” her mother asked as she wiped up the tears.

“Yes,” said Emmy.

When Aunt Franny arrived she did bring presents for the baby, but she brought presents for Emmy, too.

That night Emmy helped her mother tuck her baby brother into his cot. She kissed him goodnight right on his nose. He had just had his bath. He smelled warm and good. When Emmy snuggled his blanket around him he reached out with one tiny hand and grabbed her finger. He held on hard.

“Do you really want me to put him back in my tummy?” her mother asked.

And Emmy said no.