General Non-Fiction posted July 7, 2018

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Upon the birth of my baby brother...

When Do We Send Him Back?

by karenina

 When I was five years old life was sublime.  My parents doted on me as if I was the center of their universe. Was I spoiled?  No doubt about it. Toys, books, excursions, bedtime stories, prayers, and unconditional love abounded.  I was bloated with happiness and in my eyes my parents could do no wrong.

     When they sat me down and told me our family was going to grow because Mom was "expecting" I took that news in stride.  After all, whatever package that was to arrive would surely be for me.  A new doll, perhaps?  Or a puppy?  

     I noticed Mom's belly getting bigger. Dad used to tell me that if I swallowed a watermelon seed a big juicy watermelon might grow inside me.  I remember thinking Mom should have listened to his warning. Nobody gave me a "There's a baby in my tummy" talk.  The 1950's was not a decade of including siblings in major life events....

     Months flew by (well, nine months in retrospect).  I awakened one bright May morning to find my Aunt Mary picking out my outfit, pouring me cereal.  When I asked where my parents were she smiled and said Dad would be home later that night but Mom would be staying in the hospital with my new baby brother.

     New baby brother?  Holy cow!  I happily envisioned a real life version of one of my "drinks and wets" baby dolls that would be even more fun for me to snuggle under my blankets with.

    It must have been four or five days later that Dad held the door open as Mom walked in, tenderly holding an actual live baby boy they called James Kenneth. He was crying so loud I stuck my fingers in my ears as I peered at his scrunched up, slightly blue, scowling face.  Where was the box this package came in?  I did not like Mom kissing his bald little head one little bit.

     I ran over to pick him up to a chorus of "No! Never! Only Mom or Dad or another grown-up can handle him!" Aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, neighbors and even our priest came over the next few days to cuddle and coo, congratulate and leave gifts--all for James and none for me.  What was going on? 

    Had I turned invisible?  I felt ignored, even replaced by this baby who apparently wasn't "my" doll at all.  I jumped off the couch and landed perilously close to the cradle with the little screamer in it. Did anyone come running to see if I was okay?  Nope. Nobody cared about me.

   In my five year old world up to then, if I received an outfit, book or toy I didn't like, my parents would take it back and I'd select something else. Obviously it was time to speak up!

  "Mom? Dad?"  I said, "I thought about it, and James Kenneth is nothing I asked for or wanted.  It's definitely time to return him!"

Through the eyes of a child writing prompt entry
Writing Prompt
Write a short story (100-500 words). The story must include a child's perspective of an object or situation. The story may be told from the viewpoint of the child, or an adult.

I capitalized Mom and Dad as a sign of respect for my parents. They got a good laugh out of my declaration and son of a gun if James didn't grow on me a bit more every day...
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