Sunday, September 19, 2010
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Evie held up a glass jar, high above her head. Her classmates rushed past her down the hallway to the playground. Mothers and fathers wandered into the schoolyard chatting about their afternoons. Soon enough, their ears would fill up with a day's worth of kindergarten stories.
Evie stepped carefully out the doorway. Only a few teachers walked out after her. The beanstalk had flopped onto her nose. She didn't dare try to push it off, no matter how much it tickled. The jar was not going to slip from her grasp.
“Wow. What do you have there?” her mother asked as they met up at the swings.
“We planted a bean and mine grew!”
“It's so long!” Mother added to her daughter's excitement.
“This is my second bean. The first one rotted so my teacher helped me start over.”
“Good for you.” Mother picked up the vine sliding over Evie's cheek.
“Be careful!” her daughter cautioned.
Once Evie returned home, she placed her beanstalk onto the kitchen counter, pushed a chair over to the sink and climbed up. Leaning her tummy against the edge, she placed two hands on the jar and lifted it onto the window sill. Now it will keep growing, she thought, smiling at her project.
The beanstalk did continue to grow. Each day, Evie pushed a chair over to the sink and climbed up. She leaned her tummy against the edge and poured a few drops of water into the jar.
“What is this under my feet?” Evie's father had woken up early to leave on a business trip. Without turning on the kitchen light, he had walked over to the coffee machine. A thin vine tangled itself in between his bare feet. “EVIE!”
Her father quickly flicked the switch and found the floor covered in greenish vines and leaves.
Small feet pitter-patted down the stairs. “What's wrong? What did I do?”
The answer was tickling her toes.
Yesterday after school, Evie's mother had taken her and her brother to dance class. Then, they met their dad for dinner at a restaurant. So, no one had been home all day. No one had seen the beanstalk grow out of the sink, down the cupboard and under the table and chairs and to the door.
Mother came in and directly out to the garage for the gardening sheers.
“NO! Please! Let me ask my teacher what to do. Maybe we could save it somehow.”
Evie's little brother had crawled in and was laughing as he rolled in and out of the loose greenery.
“Fine,” concluded her dad looking at his watch. “I just really need to get going.”
“But,” Mother protested, “what about my kitchen?”
“Can we grab a bagel on our way to school? Come on!” Evie suggested as she grabbed her little brother and ran upstairs to get dressed.
Evie was not quite sure just how to tell her teacher. Would he agree with her mother and say to cut it down to size? Would he want to come to the house and examine it? Finally, at the end of recess, she tugged on his shirtsleeve.
“Mr. Harrycott, my beanstalk is still growing.”
“That's wonderful, Evie. You must be tending to it very well.”
“I mean, it's growing really long.”
But, before she could really explain just how long, the bell rang.
“Let's get back to the classroom, Evie. It's time for crafts.”
That night, Evie, her mother and brother ate out again. They did not even bother opening the front door after school. They had, indeed, looked in. But, they saw nothing but green leaves, like new carpet, spread throughout the living room.
Mother took another sip up of her iced water. “Evie, I 'm sorry. But we can't live like this. We must get rid of the beanstalk.”
Evie stirred her brain and her ice cream for ideas until it all melted.
“What if we push the stalk out the window? That way, the garden will look really green!”
True, her mother thought. It had not rained much the past month and the yard did look quite brown.
“Alright. We'll try it.”
Once her little brother was in bed, Evie and her mother got to work. Mother stood outside the kitchen window while Evie sat on the counter, feet in the sink, lifting the vines little by little out to her mother.
The patio disappeared as the beanstalk spread across it and into the yard.
Very much past her bedtime, Evie crawled up to her bedroom exhausted. Her eyes were already closed when her mother bent down to kiss her goodnight.
When her alarm clock sang, “Morning time! Get up and go time!” Evie stretched her arms and rolledoff her bed. She walked unbalanced to her closet to get her clothes. I am so tired, she thought.
“Evie, we really shouldn't stay up so late,” her mother called. “I am so tired I can hardly walk straight.”
Her brother giggled rolling back and forth down the hallway. They each held the banister tight as they walked down the stairs for breakfast.
“In any case, it's nice to have the kitchen back in order,” her mother sighed.
“Evie, you're spilling the milk from you cereal bowl. Be careful.”
“Mom, Brother is sliding out of his highchair.”
“I feel like I drank a bottle of wine last night! Come on. Let's get to school. The fresh air will wake us up,” her mother advised.
“MAH-OM,” Evie cried as she sat in the front doorway, her legs dangling in front of her! “I think we need a ladder.”
Her mother rubbed her eyes, “Is this real?” She pulled her son closer to her and dragged Evie into the the living room. She plopped onto the couch, “What's happening?”
“Mommy, maybe you should lie down.”
“You're right. This must be a dream. Let me just close my eyes for a moment.”
Evie's mother was asleep in seconds.
“Broder an I wil be bak sooon,” Evie wrote on her coloring book. She sat the message next to her mommy. Then, she picked up the giggling boy. The baby sling hung by the front door. She grabbed it and tied her brother to her tummy.
Ever so slowly, Evie sat on her bum and scooted out the front door along a vine that led to a nearby cloud. First she put her toes down. They sunk just an inch into the fluff. She put both feet down. Her heels felt stable. She stood up, but not before clenching a vine in case she fell straight through!
“Wheee!,” the little guy laughed. They were walking and floating at the same time.
Evie saw a house in the distance. The house was much bigger than her house. Maybe a giant lived there, she was thinking, I hope he's a nice one.
Evie breathed deeper with every step toward the house. She thought of the first time she went to a birthday party without her mommy staying. She cried until the cake was served. She thought about thfirst day of school and meeting her new teacher. She hid behind her daddy's back. Did she dare continue?
Evie held her brother tight. She thought of her father coming back from his trip tonight and not finding their house. She imagined her mother waking up worried out of her mind not knowing where her son and daughter were. She had to continue and she had to hurry.
Evie and her brother came to an immense wooden door. The doorknob was as high above their heads as stood the largest tree in their backyard. The doorbell was even higher. After knocking, banging really, at least twenty times, Evie picked up an acorn. This nut was the size of her biggest gym ball. She thumped it against the door.
The acorn fell to the ground just as a big wind blew by. The gush of air pushed her and Little Brother against the cold stone of the house. Luckily, it also pushed ajar the front door. Evie, with her brother, squeezed inside.
They could see the kitchen down the hallway but the distance was as far as her school was wide. Evie propped up Little Brother, tying the sling tighter, and took a first big step onto the front hall rug. The stitching felt like large bumps under each foot. She continued down this field of woven colors.
“Owww! My ears. What's that groaning sound?” Evie covered Little Brother's ears as best she could.
He was starting to cry.
“It's ok. Listen, it's already over.”
She spoke too soon. The deep noise kept coming back louder and louder. Evie could see just what the thunder was...voices...giant voices.
Evie knelt down behind a cupboard. It started to shake. The floor bounced. This must be an earthquake, she panicked.
A giant man with a giant smile was skipping around in circles. He grabbed a giant woman with a giant smile and a giant tummy and swung her around. Thud! She landed. At least they're in a good mood, Evie reassured herself.
At that moment, a delightfully familiar scent came drifting back behind the cupboard. The children's noses started to twitch. Their stomach's were growling almost as loud as the laughter. Evie thought it must be snack time. She looked at her watch. The big hand was already pointing to ten. The giant man
slipped on giant oven mitts and opened a giant oven door. He pulled out a giant chocolate cake.
Evie and Little Brother sat and sat waiting for the cake to cool, knowing that nobody can eat chocolate cake without dropping crumbs (at least they never had).
Little Brother needed to stretch his legs and squirmed out of the baby sling. “Ok, but don't go anywhere!”she cautioned him.
Sure enough, the first crumbs fell and, sure enough, Little Brother ran for them.
“AN ANT. I CAN'T STAND ANTS! STEP ON IT. STEP ON IT!”
Evie coudn't keep her hands on her ears. She had to run for Little Brother. Like a rolling giant bolder,the heal of a giant shoe was about to crush him. Evie leaped, somersaulted and swiped Little Brother out of the way. They both lied breathless just under the leg of the table.
“I GOT HIM!” The giant was mistaken but at least his mistake was their good fortune, for the moment.
Little Brother broke a bit of his crumb in two and handed some to Evie. She gave him a cross look for running out without thinking first, but forgot all about it with the handful of chocolate cake in her mouth.
She had no time to swallow it, though. A mass of broom bristles was sweeping up behind Little Brother. She pulled him close and up they went, swooshed into the dustpan.
Cough, cough! The dust was too much for their little lungs.
Aaachooom! Aaaachoom! The dust was too much for their little noses.
“AAAAUUUUGH!” Both little voices had never been so loud.
Two large, shiny, round, black pupils were looking straight at them. Out of habit, the children smiled and waved up at her. She screamed. She threw the dustpan up in the air. The two miniscule airborne bodies landed right in the butter dish and slid out onto the table.
Evie grabbed Little Brother, quickly slinging him back to her. But, they were too greasy. Evie frantically rolled her hands and Little Brother along the tablecloth. Finally he was slung on securely...just in time for the table to start shaking. Not
another earthquake, worried Evie. She saw a huge belly juggling up and down in front of her.
“THEY ARE SO FUNNY!” The giant man remarked.
“THE BABY WOULD LOVE SUCH TOYS!” said the giant woman.
In a swoop, Evie and Little Brother found themselves in the palm of the giant man's hand.
“CAN I PET THEM?” asked the woman.
Her pinky finger gently crushed Evie's head against the dry skin of the giant.
“Hey!” Evie spoke up. “Hey! We are not toys! We are children! And, we want to go home! We want our home to go home!” She stood tall balancing herself from sliding down the creases of his cupped palm. “My beanstalk grew so much that it lifted our house up to your cloud! Will you please put it back down gently?! Mommy is sleeping on the couch!”
'WHAT ARE GOING TO DO IF I DON'T? TIE MY SHOELACES TOGETHER? STEAL MY GOLD?
STEAL MY MAGIC HARP? I KNOW WHAT YOU'RE CAPABLE OF!”
In her loudest, most polite voice, Evie responded, “We do not want your gold or your magic harp! We want to go home! It's almost lunch and we are hungry!”
The giant woman touched her husband's shoulder “TALK SOFTLY, DEAR. MAYBE THEY'LL WANT TO STAY.”
“Thank you but we cannot stay! I am sure you are very nice people, but we miss our mother and Daddy. He will be home tonight! What will he do if our house is not there?!”
“AREN'T YOU POOR? DON'T YOU WANT OUR GOLD?” the man questioned.
“What is poor?! What would I do with gold?!”
“AREN'T YOU UNHAPPY?! DON'T YOU WANT THE MUSIC OF THE MAGIC HARP?” he
“No! We are happy! Mommy and Daddy play with us all the time and make us laugh! They love us! And, we love them!”
The giants held their hands behind their backs to whisper between themselves. Evie and Little Brother rolled their eyes. We can hear you, Evie thought.
Both giants nodded,“OK.”
Evie held tightly onto his fingernail as the giant man bent down to put on his shoes. The giant lady also slipped into her shoes. Clink! Clank! CLINK! CLANK! And Evie had thought her mother's fancy shoes were noisy!
Once they locked the front door behind them, the giants carried Evie and Little Brother towards their house. The steady steps rocked the little guy to sleep.
Along the way, Evie told them about her school and her friends and her favorite toys and how happy she is to have a little brother to play with even if he does color on all her dolls... They couldn't hear her very well but smiled politely every time she looked up at them, or up their nostrils, really.
“Last year, we went to the beach...! Do you have a beach here?! It was...,MOM!” She saw her mother looking out the front window, kneeling at the end of the couch, with very wide eyes.
Their mother flopped. At the sight of two giants carrying her children, she fainted.
The giant man's nose poked in through the front windows. His deep breaths sucked up the area rug, which he promptly blew out, and nearly the drapes as well.
“We better get to work before she wakes up again!” Evie suggested.
The giant man handed Evie and her little brother to his wife. He then jumped down with a large thud.
The countryside gave him plenty of room to stand. Surely though, everyone in town was feeling a bit shaky.
The giant woman led the children into the front door. “Now, go sit with your mother and hold on tight!”
With Little Brother still sleeping on her chest, Evie lied down along her mother's side. She had not snuggled this close with her mother and brother since the little guy had started to walk. Evie smiled, close enough again to smell her mommy's perfume.
The soft, giant hands picked up the house. But before she could reach it down to her husband, she spied in the window with one big eye and said, “You are really nice children. I hope my baby will have friends like you.”
He already does, Evie thought. As the house touched down to their plot of land, she kissed the giant thumb and closed her eyes. “Thank you, Sir.”
The giant man bent down even lower and then, leaped high into the sky.
“Let us know when the baby is born!” Evie popped up hollering.
“What are you yelling about?” Their mother rolled over and sat up straight. “What time is it? Your father will be home soon.” She rubbed her eyes.
“Evie, I've told you not to walk around with Brother strapped to you. You'll break your back.”
“Ok, Mom.” She gave him a hug and put him on his play mat.
Mother walked into the kitchen. “How about green beans for dinner?” she called out.
Just then, a car pulled up into the driveway. Evie ran to open the front door.
“Alright, but only if I can have one of the seeds to plant.”
What do you think?
• Have you ever had a project at school that did not turn out the way you expected? Were you able to fix it? How did you feel when it was all done?
• Are you ever afraid of doing something without your parents close by? How do you feel when you do act on your own?
• At times, it is difficult to make your voice heard, even when you have something very important to say. Can you think of a time when you spoke up, at home or at school, because you had to say something really important? Was there a time when you just couldn't get your words out?