Tuesday, July 05, 2011
“Maggie.” Mrs. Barnes called to her four-year-old daughter. “Maggie, where are you?”
Maggie Barnes was hiding in the downstairs hall closet. She didn’t want her mom to find her. She had been sitting there for a long time, thinking about her family.
Just then the door opened slowly. Maggie cringed back into the closet behind the long raincoat.
“Well, well, well. What have we here?” asked fourteen-year-old Sam. “Mom’s been looking all over for you.”
“I know; shut the door,” Maggie said with a pout.
“What’s wrong?” asked Katie, a year younger than Sam.
“Looks like someone is in a bad mood,” Sam smirked.
“Sam, you know what’s wrong with her; don’t you?” Katie asked.
“Yeah, she’s being a brat.”
No, silly. She’s afraid that when Mom has the new baby, Maggie won’t be the baby of the family any more.”
“Ohhh,” Sam said finally understanding.
“Come on, Maggie. You can’t hide away forever.” Katie reached in and pulled Maggie out. “Mom, here she is.”
Maggie, I’ve been looking everywhere for you.”’
“”She’s upset because of the new baby,” Sam explained all knowingly. Katie gave him a jab.
“Maggie, Maggie, Maggie. There isn’t anything to worry about. You’ll love the new baby. Come on, let’s go clean your room.”
“Clean my room,” Maggie mumbled to herself as she followed her mom upstairs.
In Maggie’s room, her mom started to pick up clothes from the chair, while Maggie picked up her toys and placed them in the toy box.
“You know, Honey, when the baby’s born, you can help me keep her room clean. Also, I’ll need your help a lot when Sam, Katie and Benji go back to school. You’ll be my little helper. Okay?”
“Okay,” Maggie said with a slight smile.
Mom gave Maggie a big hug and went downstairs.
But, Maggie didn’t want to help keep the new baby’s room clean. She liked the idea of being ‘Mom’s little helper’, but she still didn’t want to have anything to do with the baby.
Later that afternoon, Maggie goat the idea that there were enough kids in the family. She decided to run away.
With the family in the back of the house, Maggie pulled her small suitcase out from her closet and packed her coloring book, some socks and her favorite doll. She then wheeled it quietly down the hall, bumped down the steps and out of the house.
On her way down the walk, she ran into her seven-year-old brother, Benji.
“Don’t try to stop me. I’m running away.”
“Why do ya wanna run away?
“Because no one will miss me. Everyone will be too busy with the new baby.”
“But I can’t watch cartoons with the new baby.” Benji said. “Don’t you like watchin’ TV with me?”
“Yeah, but I won’t be the baby any more.”
“Sure, but who wants to stay a baby. You’re four-years-old. Look at what all you can do.” Benji remembered when Maggie was a baby.
“A new baby can’t play ball or play games or color eggs at Easter time. All babies do is cry, eat, and sleep. They’re boring. They always need their diapers changed too. Yuck!”
Benji started toward the house, then turned back to Maggie, “Who will I play with?” With a sad look, he went into the house.
Maggie stood on the sidewalk and thought for a minute and then she wheeled her suitcase back into the house and unpacked.
That whole week Maggie thought about what Benji said. She did do a lot of things around the house that a baby couldn’t do. She helped Katie set the table; she colored in her coloring book and helped Daddy read her stories.
One day Mom came into the living room. Maggie was sitting on the couch watching a game show on tv with Katie and Sam.
“Maggie, I’d like you to go to the store with me. You can help me pick out the new wallpaper for the baby’s room.”
“I don’t want to go.” Maggie curled up and buried her face into the pillow.
“Well, I don’t think I can pick out the paper by myself. After all, you are the big sister. You would know just what she’d like.”
Sam and Katie knew that mom was trying to involve Maggie in the preparations for the new baby.
“Have you thought of any new names yet?” her mom asked.
Maggie looked up at her mom. “Yeah, ‘Nobody’, sounds like a good name.”
“Maggie, what if I had named you that?” her mom bent down and faced Maggie. “You know, honey, before you came along, I had Sam, Katie and Benji.”
“I was the only child before Katie came along.” Sam said trying to make Maggie understand that she hadn’t been the ‘only baby’ of the family.
“That’s right,” agreed Katie, “and I was the baby before Benji was born.”
“And, Benji was the baby before you wee born.” her mom finished. “Each of your brothers and sister were just as upset having a new baby coming into the family.”
Mom bent down and kissed Maggie on the forehead. “Now, scoot and get your coat so we can go to town.”
As they drove out of the driveway, her mom said, “You know, Maggie, I’m going to be really tired when I come home from the hospital. With your brothes and siter in school, you’ll be a big help to me. But for now, you can help me decorate the room and pick out new clothes before the baby is born.”
She added as they drove a little farther, “You can teach the new baby to color, to play with her dolls and when she is old enough, you can teach her to clean her room.”
Maggie scrunched up her nose at the words ‘clean your room’, but she was thoughtful for a few minutes. “It’s going to be a girl?”
“Yes, said her mom.
Maggie thought for a few more minutes, “Angelina.”
“Angelina? Is that what you want to name the baby?”
“Yeah. Angelina is my favorite cartoon, Angelina Ballerina.”
Her mom felt a big relief. Maggie was finally accepting the baby.
Maggie looked at lots and lots of wallpaper before she picked out ne with little baby animals wearing diapers.
“I’m going to teach her to tie her shoes too,” she said, and then added, “after I learn how.”
She was thinking of ways to be a big sister. She liked that idea now. She realized that the new baby would look up to her, just like she looked up to her big sister, Katie.
“You can teach her a lot of things. Just think when you start school, you can teach her everything your learn.” This made Maggie feel like a big girl.
After they picked out wallpaper, they went to the clothing store to buy bibs, diapers, sleepers and toys. Maggie picked out a cute little stuffed bear.
That week, Maggie and her Mom and Dad put up the wallpaper. They even let her decide where to put the new furniture.
“My baby will sleep here and the rocking chair will go there by the window, so she can look out.’ Maggie was happy with the idea of having a new baby around.
“I really am going to be needed, huh?” Maggie asked excitedly.
“You most surely are. You’re going to be my right hand girl,” Mom said hugging her little girl tightly.
When it came time for mom and dad to go the hospital, Grandma Barnes came to stay with the kids.
The day the new baby was due to come home, Grandma helped Maggie make a poster that said, ’Welcome Home Baby Sister’.”
On the day the baby and mom were to come home, Maggie paced around the living room watching out the window.
“Maggie, they’ll be here soon,” Grandma said.
“What if the baby doesn’t like me?” Maggie worried.
“Oh, now don’t you worry. She’s going to love you. Just look at the fine poster you made and how you’ve decorated her room and look at the great toy bear you picked out.” Grandma put her arms around Maggie and gave her a hug.
They heard a car pull into the driveway.
“They’re here, they’re here,” Maggie shouted and ran out to the car.
Dad got out of the car first then went around to mom’s door.
“come here little one; come meet the rest of the family.” Then turning to Maggie he said, “Say hello to Angelina.”
Maggie looked up at her parents in awe then a big smile spread across her face.
“I really named her? Wow!”
Beaming with delight, Maggie followed her parents into the house.
“Maggie, come sit on the couch,” mom said.
Dad then placed the new bundle into Maggie’s arms. She looked into her new little sister’s eyes and fell in love.
“Angelina, I’m going to teach you to color, play ball, tie your shoes….well, once I learn how.”