Authors: Alison Hughes
Tags: #JUV039090, #JUV013000, #JUV019000
She sighed and knocked at the door.
“Sophie? Are you in there? Are you all right?”
There was a muffled giggle and some shuffly sounds. Beatrice tried to open the door.
It opened a tiny bit, then stopped.
It was stuck.
, Beatrice thought grimly,
in a huge pile of Sophie-mess.
Beatrice pushed and pushed at the door. It opened just a little bit more. Enough
for her to squeeze her arm through.
She waved her arm into the room.
“Sophie, SOPHIE! The door’s stuck!”
Beatrice heard a crash and more muffled giggling and shuffling.
Well, she’s alive,
. She’s hopelessly messy
but she’s alive
Beatrice pushed at the door. She opened and closed it. She pushed some more.
backed up a few steps, then ran at the door. She thumped it hard with her shoulder.
More giggles from inside the room.
“I’m trying to
you, Sophie!” shouted Beatrice, rubbing her shoulder.
Inch by inch, Beatrice pushed the door. And inch by inch, the mess on the other side
of the door moved back. Finally, there was just enough room, if Beatrice sucked in
her breath very hard, for her to slide in sideways.
“This better not mess up my ponytail,” Beatrice said.
She kicked away the boxes that had fallen in front of the door, opened the door wide
and looked around.
Her heart sank. The room was a complete disaster. There were mountains of toys. There
were piles of clothes.
There were heaps of stuffed animals. There were empty boxes
littering the floor.
Beatrice crossed her arms.
Her left eye twitched.
This family is hopeless
, she thought.
We’ve only been in our new house for a few
hours, and it’s already a dump
“Sophie? Where are you?” called Beatrice sharply.
“Dat you, Bee? I’m unner here!” called Sophie.
Beatrice turned and tripped over a half-unrolled carpet. She got up and stubbed her
toe hard against a plastic bin of toys.
” she cried. She hopped on one foot and rubbed her toe.
“Here I am!” shrieked Sophie, throwing back the blanket on the bed. She sat up with
a huge smile on her
face. Some of her curly red hair stuck to her face. The rest
of it stood straight up from her head in a bushy mess.
“Aha, there you are,” said Beatrice, trying to smooth and pat down Sophie’s hair.
It wouldn’t go down. It never did.
was in capital letters
Things I Cannot Control (But Wish I Could)
. The list also included
The smell in our car.
Beatrice slid a hand over her own brown hair, relieved to find her ponytail was as
neat as ever. Her hair was
neater than Sophie’s, but there were waves in it,
which annoyed her. She wanted perfectly straight hair. So Beatrice brushed her hair
a lot, one hundred brush strokes every night.
“What have you been doing, Sophie?” Beatrice asked.
“Me an’ my toys been playing BIG FORT! Mrs. Cow don’t like it though.”
She held out a crabby-looking baby doll. Mrs. Cow was Sophie’s favorite toy.
“Doesn’t. Mrs. Cow
like it,” corrected Beatrice.
“Right. A ’cause of the darknest,” said Sophie in a dramatic whisper behind her hand.
cause of the dark
,” said Beatrice. She looked at the scowling doll. “Why do
you call her Mrs. Cow, Sophie? She’s not actually a cow.”
“A ’cause she’s
, a ’course!” Sophie laughed and pointed to a large,
smiling, stuffed yellow rabbit. Mr. Cow did not seem to be aware of his cranky doll-wife.
Beatrice closed her eyes.
“Okay. Whatever. Sophie, why haven’t you put anything away? Your room’s a total mess,”
she said. “Need some help?”
“It’s all done!” said Sophie happily.
Beatrice stared at Sophie. “You’re going to
it this way?”
it like this.”
“But all the boxes…” protested Beatrice.
“Your books…” Beatrice looked over to the corner where a box of books had been dumped
on the floor in a fluttery heap, like an odd little book-bush.
’em all,” explained Sophie.
“What about your toys?” said Beatrice. She waved her hand at the mountains of toys
around the room. Dolls and stuffed animals and blocks and puzzle pieces were all
heaped in piles. “At least let me help you organize those.”
“No! Don’t touch ’em!” shrieked Sophie.
She slid off the bed in a crashing heap and stumbled over to her toys. “I like ’em
all over the place ’cause I can
She and grumpy Mrs. Cow began rolling in the toys.
Beatrice shut her eyes and took a deep breath. She remembered her list of
To Do When I Feel Like Exploding
. She had written it yesterday.
This was the list:
1. Don’t say anything
(note: things said before
exploding can be mean and
2. Count to ten (note: I do
not find this very effective.
Add to list of
to Work Which Do Not)
3. Imagine a peaceful, lovely,
perfectly organized something
(like my room or my lists or
making lists in my room)
4. Imagine actually
exploding (very messy)
5. Growl to myself
6. Add to my
7. Take Edison for a walk
(fresh air + exercise = calm)
…” growled Beatrice quietly, trying out number five. It helped a little.
She walked quickly out of Sophie’s room, shut the door on the mess and went across
to her own room. She sat at her desk and opened a drawer. She got out her list of
Things That Are Frustrating
She found the end of the list.
216. Messy movers
Then she wrote:
217. Sophie’s hopelessly
messy new room
She thought a bit more, then wrote:
218. Sophie’s hair (but she
can’t help it)
She flipped back through many pages to the beginning of the list.
“This is becoming my longest list ever,” she said to her perfect room.
Beatrice went to find Edison.
She had named their dog after Thomas Edison, the great inventor. He was on Beatrice’s
Highly Successful, Very Professional People Who Have Done Great Things
Her family also had a goldfish. Sophie had named him Super-Pig. Beatrice liked to
think Sophie named him Super-Pig because he ate a lot, but she wasn’t sure.
“Edison!” she called. “Time for walkies!”
Beatrice walked Edison three times a day. She had read every puppy book in the library.
They all said responsible dog owners should walk their dogs at least twice a day.
So Beatrice figured that three walks a day would make her the best pet owner she
Beatrice looked for Edison in the downstairs mess.
“Edison!” she called louder. “