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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Some Lessons Are Hard To Learn

Lisa argued with her mum about everything. If she told Lisa they were having peas for dinner, sheíd say she wanted brussel sprouts. If she said they were going out for pizza, Lisa wanted to have fish and chips. There seemed to be no pleasing her.

One morning, after an hour of arguing, Lisa said, "Mum, you never let me choose or make decisions. You always decide what we are having to eat or where we are going to go."

Her mum, out of frustration with her six-year-old daughter, decided that for one day, sheíd let Lisa make all her own decisions. She knew that Lisa would have a hard time and wouldnít last long. When the sun rose the next morning, her mum called, "Lisa, what would you like to have for breakfast this morning?"

"I donít know," Lisa answered.

"Itís your decision, remember? Itís your choice."

A mischievous grin spread across Lisaís face. "Anything I want? Hmmm," she said and went into the kitchen. "Well, if I can pick, Iíd like bacon, sausage, eggs, fried tomatoes, toast and chocolate milk."

Her mumís eyes widened. "Lisa, Iíll fix you whatever you want, but the deal is that you have to eat whatever you ask for. We canít afford to waste food. Agreed?"

"Okay!" Lisa giggled.

Her mum fried up the bacon and sausages and put them on paper towels to drain the grease off. She cut the tomato into quarters and dropped them into the pan. She cracked two brown-shelled eggs and dropped them in next to the tomato. While those were sizzling, she made the toast and poured a glass of chocolate milk. She put the plate down in front of Lisa. "There you go. Eat it up!"

Lisa liked this. She gobbled down the bacon and sausages and then the toast, but by the time she finished her first egg and tomato, she was full. Her mum sat quietly reading the newspaper. Lisa remembered her mumís words about eating everything she asked for. She didnít want to go back to the way it was, so she forced herself to eat all the food and drink every last drop of chocolate milk.

She get dressed and walked to school. Her tummy hurt and she didnít eat much of her school lunch, but by the time she was ready to go home, she was back to normal. She walked home thinking about what she wanted to have for tea that night. After sheíd finished doing her homework, she went into the living room. Her mum was knitting a heather-purple cardigan. "Mum, Iíve decided what I want to have for tea tonight. Iíd like steak and kidney pie, peas, bread and butter and chocolate cake with thick, buttery icing."

"Thatís a lot of food for one six year old girl to eat. Are you sure?" her mum questioned.

"Yes, Mum. Iíve made my decision," Lisa responded.

"All right. Iíll start fixing your tea soon."

Lisa went out to play while her mum fixed tea. As she chopped the carrots and onions, she started smiling, knowing it wouldnít be much longer before Lisa learned her lesson. "Lisa, itís tea time," she called.

When she walked into the kitchen and saw all the food, Lisaís mouth began to water. She was feeling very hungry, as sheíd only nibbled on lunch. "It looks delicious, Mum." She put a big piece of steak and kidney pie on her plate, scooped a huge spoonful of peas, and buttered a thick slab of bread. She cut the chocolate cake and put it in a bowl and then licked the icing off the knife.

"Thatís an awful lot of food," her mum said.

"Iíll eat it all. Itís my decision," she said, haughtily.

Mum ate her much smaller portions and read a magazine, sneaking glances at Lisa now and then. Lisa had no problem devouring the pie, peas and bread and butter, but when she started eating the chocolate cake with thick, buttery icing, she felt very full. Her hand lifted the bites of cake slowly to her mouth. She chewed much slower. She didnít think she could eat another bite, but forced herself. That night she had a tummy ache. She was up all night crying and felt very sick.

The next morning she went to her mum, who was sitting at the table sipping her coffee. "Mum, I donít want to make all the choices any more. I want you to pick what weíll have for tea," she sobbed, hugging her mum.

Satisfied that Lisa had learned her lesson, her mum replied, "Iíll tell you what; you can pick what to eat once a week, but letís not have too much at once, all right?"

"Thanks, Mum. Now, what are we having for breakfast?" Lisa giggled.

"How about yogurt, toast and a banana?"

"That sounds good, Mum."

From then on, Lisa didnít argue with her mother as much and her mum let her make more decisions. They were both much happier this way.

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