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Ben was angry. Mummy had shouted at him again! He had not done anything wrong. Not really. Okay, so he forgot about eating his breakfast. Building a car had seemed much more important at the time. Why can’t she understand that?, Ben wondered.

When he came home from school in the afternoon things got even worse. What was wrong with asking for a drink? He did forget to say ‘please’, but so what? Okay, he had shouted at her first. All right, he had kicked her a bit, too. Even so, why did she have to send him to his room? He had missed his favourite programme because of that! It just was not fair.

It did not stop there. When he dawdled over his dinner, Mummy just took it off him and sent him to bed. He just had had this brilliant idea of a plane and so he had drawn it. What was wrong with that? He would have finished his dinner later. There was lots of time. It was not as if he had to go anywhere but bed.

What a day!, Ben thought when he was snuggled up under his favourite blanket. Hopefully, the next day would be better. Maybe Mummy would not be grumpy.

Sadly, the next day was anything but better. If possible, it was worse. When he played rather than eat his breakfast, his mum took it away and told him, “If you are not hungry, you’ll just have to go to school without breakfast.”

Ben was very hungry, until it was finally time for lunch. His stomach had rumbled so loudly during story time that the teacher had asked him about it. He wished he had eaten his breakfast.

After school, his mum wanted to take him to the shops. It was not far to walk, but Ben was tired and wanted to go home to watch TV.

“But we have to get some food for dinner!”, his mum told him.

“I want to go home. I am thirsty and hungry!”, Ben shouted at her.

“Stop shouting. We have to go shopping, and that’s that!”, his mum said quietly but with a very grim face.

So they went. He asked for a drink and a cake in the shop, but his mum would not buy him anything. Ben cried and made a fuss. Mummy did not say anything, but she had this look on her face. She always looked like that when she was really, really, really angry.

They went back home. His mum did not talk to him. Normally, she asked him how school had been and things like that. Not today. She was really quiet. Ben asked her why. Mummy had a sad look on her face, when she replied, “I am very upset. You’ve been a real monster for the past few days.”

Ben did not like how that made him feel: all cold and achy inside. It was not fair. It just was not! He shouted, “It’s all your fault! I told you I was hungry and thirsty. Why did you take me shopping anyway? It serves you right if you’re sad!”

Mummy just looked at him. She did not say anything.

Suddenly, Ben felt bad. He wanted a hug. “Give me a hug, Mummy?”, he asked. “I am sorry.”

His mum heaved a big sigh, then stretched her arms out towards him. Ben jumped off the sofa and held her really tight.

For a while he sat on her knee and it made him feel better. Not good enough, though. He had to do something to make everything all right between them again. [...]

Copyright, Sybille Sterk 2002 - 2004
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