It was very cold outside, and the three little girls were bored.
“I don’t want to play with the farm set anymore,” said Leah.
“Neither do I,” sighed Olivia.
Two-year-old Emma placed the plastic pig in the loft and closed the barn door.
“What shall we do?” asked Leah.
“Watch a movie?”
“We’ve watched them all.”
“Emma will make a mess.”
They both looked at Emma who pulled off her sock and threw it behind the chair.
“I know,” said Olivia. “I have a great idea. We’ll have a tea party. I’ll ask Gramma.”
Gramma thought it was a good idea, too, so Leah and Olivia got out the tiny china tea set while Gramma put the kettle on to boil. She made ‘silver tea’ - plenty of milk mixed with tea - in the teapot. She sliced little pieces of banana cake and buttered them and put them on a plate. Emma put the spoons and napkins on the table.
Finally, everything was ready.
Olivia was the oldest and knew all about tea parties. She would show Emma and Leah what to do.
“You must put your napkin on your lap. Like this.” Olivia opened her napkin with a flourish, then smoothed it across her lap. Leah managed to unfold her napkin. Emma dropped hers on the floor.
“Oh, Emma.” Olivia jumped down and placed Emma’s napkin on her lap for her.
“Now, I’m going to ‘play mum.’ That means I get to pour.” Olivia lifted the teapot of silver tea and served Leah and Emma. “Sugar?”
Olivia passed the wee sugar bowl and a great show was made of stirring sugar into the teacups. A spoonful or two was eaten right out of the sugar bowl.
“Watch my pinky finger,” Olivia instructed. As she raised her teacup to her lips, her little finger arched in the air. Leah and Emma were spellbound by their cousin’s talent. “You try now,” encouraged Olivia.
Leah’s little finger refused to curve unless she held the teacup with both hands, which she did, and both pinkies raised nicely. Emma picked up her teacup and drank her tea all at once. Some tea dribbled down her chin onto her shirt.
“Mo’.” Emma held out her cup.
Olivia filled her teacup again.
“Cake?” Olivia passed the plate of buttered banana cake. Emma and Leah helped themselves. So did Olivia. “Say thank you.”
It was a lovely tea party.
“This is very good banana cake,” said Leah. “I would like another piece, please.”
One wasn’t enough for Leah. She took another. And another.
Emma had finished her tea. She pushed her teacup towards Olivia. Olivia filled it again.
Olivia had another piece of cake and poured herself more tea.
“Mo’?” Emma was standing on her chair. Olivia filled the teacup and helped Emma sit down again.
The pile of banana cake had dwindled to crumbs. Gramma was happy to cut and butter more cake and refill the little teapot with silver tea. She gave each girl another napkin, too.
The girls talked about princesses and the ballet, ponies and swimming lessons. Emma didn’t say anything. She just listened and nodded her head in agreement.
Olivia poured and passed and poised her pinkie until it ached. Being an example was tiring. The girls were very demanding. They kept eating and drinking. Finally, Olivia couldn’t take it any longer. She picked up the little teapot and took a long swig right out of the spout.
“Ah, that feels better,” exclaimed Olivia, as she sat back in her chair and gave a little burp. “What’s the matter?” Emma and Leah were both staring at her.
“That’s wasn’t very polite,” scolded Leah.
“You shouldn’t have done it.”
“And you shouldn’t have eaten all the cake.”
“I know. My tummy hurts.”
At that, Emma looked at her own tummy and her wet shirt. She tugged at it and whined.
“Let me help you,” offered Olivia. Off came Emma’s damp shirt. Emma hugged Olivia and gave her a slobbery kiss.
“It was a great tea party,” said Leah.
“It was,” Olivia agreed. “And the next time we have a tea party, Leah, you can ‘play mum.’”
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