Chameleon - UBC's Journal of Children's Literature
v 1 n 1
Spring 2003

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by Ginger Mullen

Bully for Hugs       This morning, my mom forgot that I'm almost six.

      She said, "Ginny, let me help you comb your hair." She always pinches my hair into tiny barrettes.

      From my window, I looked across the courtyard into Billy's apartment. He was brushing his hair…all by himself.

      "No! I'm not a baby anymore." I combed by hair by myself. I made one big ponytail, like a giant sunflower.

      After breakfast, my mom said, "Ginny, why don't you wear your sailor outfit?" She tries to dress me like I'm a doll.

      Billy's in grade two, and I bet he doesn't need help getting dressed.

      "No! I'm not a baby anymore." I dressed myself. I put on my mossy pants and my bumblebee shirt.

      I didn't have kindergarten today, so I asked my mom if I could go outside to play. She said, "Yes, but come give me a hug first. Everybody needs a hug, you know."

      "No! I'm not a baby anymore. I don't need hugs. Or kisses." My mom blew me a kiss anyway. I caught it because an airy kiss is not the same as a mushy kiss.

      I rode my bike to the corner of our street where the bigger kids wait at the bus stop. I pretend I'm going to school with them.

      Billy pointed his fat finger at me. "Look at the baby with her training wheels. I bet she wears training underpants too."

      Everybody laughed. I bit my lip and looked at my pedals. They laughed even more. I thought I might cry if I moved. It seemed like a whole day before the bus came to take them away.

      All morning, when I thought about Billy, I stomped my foot and pretended his face was underneath. "No! I'm not a baby anymore. I don't wear training pants!"

      At lunchtime, my mom said, "Ginny, why were you shouting?" I didn't tell her. I wish she wouldn't watch me through the window.

      I practiced riding my bike all afternoon. I rode up the block and down the block, and down the block and up the block. I sped like a train. I stopped and started as fast as a fire truck. I flew in circles like a jet. I was going to race Billy and win. All the kids would laugh at him like they laughed at me.

      When I saw Billy riding his bike after school, I yelled, "Hey, Bully, my four-wheeler is faster than your two-wheeler!"

      He ignored me. When I zoomed my bike, he started to pedal faster. I caught up with him. "Yahoo!" I screamed. I was flying so fast that I teetered and tippy-tipped and crashed into Billy. We both fell onto the sidewalk.

      Billy shouted, "You stupid baby! You can't even ride with training wheels!" He picked up his bike, wiped his eyes on his sleeve, and limped home.

      I ran home, too. My eyes stung and my throat hurt. My voice wobbled as I told my mom what had happened. I wanted to cry. I didn't.

      I looked across the courtyard into Billy's window. His dad was kneeling on the floor. He was giving Billy a big hug.

      "Mom," I said, "can I sit in your lap?"

      "I'd like that, Ginny," she said.

      I'm almost six and I'm not a baby anymore. I snuggled with my mom anyway. I gave her some hugs, and some kisses too. She likes that.

Illustration by Kathryn Shoemaker   

Chameleon: UBC's Journal of Children's Literature

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