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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Grrr! (01/28/10)

TITLE: Barbies and Parking Spaces
By Joanne Cordaro


“Noooo! Mine! Mine! Mine!”

I heard the screaming pleas of my 4 year old coming from the playroom. I waited, knowing it would only be a moment before I heard the expected response from my 6 year old.

“Noooo! Give it. I had it first!”

I chuckled as I wondered which doll or which toy they were battling over this time. With my movements more of a swagger than a trot, I made my way to the playroom. I arrived just in time to see poor Barbie being tortured. Screaming into the other’s faces, one daughter had Barbie’s head and an arm and the other had a firm grip on both legs. Barbie has definitely had easier days.

“Girls” I said in my best patient-mommy voice. “Girls….GIRLS!” No longer so patient, I raised my own voice so that I could be heard over their eardrum-piercing din. “Girls, you have a bunch of Barbies, why do you have to fight over that one?”

They stopped cold and looked at me as if I were from another planet. At first, neither let go of her respective Barbie body part. A full minute passed, but eventually, Bethie, the 6 year old, pleaded. “But Mommy, this is the best Barbie!” I smile as I say, “And what makes this Barbie the best Barbie; the fact that your sister wants it?” In the type of honesty only young children possess, Bethie answers “Yes.”

I ask them, “What do you think Jesus would do?” Bethie, always with a quick response, said with complete exasperation, “Mommy, he’s a boy. Jesus doesn’t play with Barbies!” We all laugh at her observation. Still, not wanting to miss an opportunity to teach, I said, “Well, ok. Maybe Jesus doesn’t play with Barbies. But, what do you think Jesus would do if it were another toy? Do you think He would keep the toy himself? Do you think He’d fight over it?”

Emma says, “He would let the other person play with the toy, and He would play with a different one.” I am so pleased! I hug her as I say, “Excellent Emma! That’s right! He wouldn’t get mad, and He probably wouldn’t pull poor Barbie apart, right? So, how can we resolve this?” With a great deal of reluctance and a few harrumphs, both released their death grips on Barbie.

I suddenly announce, “How about we go shopping?” They may not be able to agree on Barbies, but they are always agreeable to go shopping. They get that from me!

They ran to the cubby we have for them in the mudroom off the kitchen. They quickly put on their little pink polka-dotted snow boots. Bethie even helps Emma put on her gloves. They are now giggling with anticipation about our shopping trip. The argument over Barbie is already a faded memory.

We piled into the car. Both of my girls still use booster seats in the backseat. They are well behaved in the car. We talk about car safety constantly. They know they have to buckle up and do so without any prompting from me.

The Mall is busy today because school is not in session this week. Many parents, much like me, are looking to get the kids out of the house. When the weather does not permit much outdoor play, it’s off to the mall we go.

On our fourth trip down the same long row, I spotted it! Someone was about to pull out of a spot close to the door. I put my blinker on to signal that I am waiting for that parking spot. I waited patiently. The driver took her time pulling out, fixing her hair and makeup before making any attempt to leave. My patience was beginning to wane just as the driver began backing up.

I saw him turn quickly and come barreling down my row. Frankly, I didn’t pay much attention because, after all, everyone could tell that I was waiting for that parking space. I mean, just look at my blinker! The driver backed out of the space, and whoosh! His big white pickup truck swooped in and took my parking space!

“Noooooo! Are you kidding me? I was here first! Look, I have my blinker on!” I heard shouting, and I realized, it was me!

From the back seat, I heard a tiny little voice, “Mommy, what would Jesus do?”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Lizzy Ainsworth02/04/10
Very true. I can remember pulling barbies apart with my sisters, and now I know how frustrating car parks are!
I love the way you portrayed the sweet honesty of little children.
These days I am a governess to 11 children under ten and some of the cute things they say!
Renee Polson02/04/10
I loved your advice for when we feel the "GRRR"... what would Jesus do?
stanley Bednarz02/04/10
Fun read. Very clever and cute. Loved the dialogue too.
Rikki Akeo02/06/10
Your story is fun and flowing! I totally connected!
c clemons02/07/10
Good story, but when writing dialogue you must separate it so that the reader knows it's a different voice. That means in separate paragraphs. There are some writing forums on this site that could help you with that. Or try reading some of the stories in Master's for dialogue structure. Keep writing and practicing.
Gregory Kane02/07/10
I like the way you turned the story back on yourself at the end - a timely and appropriate application.
In a number of places you swap back into the present tense, having written mostly in the past tense. This is something that Jan has been looking at in her Basics Class over in the Forums. This is a all-too-common mistake and I'm sure you'll find Jan has a lot of other good advice to help you with your writing.
Ruth Brown02/07/10
Oh those little voices, they call it like they see it. I liked it very much.
Sarah Elisabeth 02/11/10
Congrats on your highly commended award!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/11/10
Congrats on the highly commended. You did a good job showing how tough it is to be a mom.