beetlebaby

 

One day in the summer Dotti’s mum and dad went to the hospital.  When they came home, Mo was with them.

‘This is your little brother’ said Dad.

‘Isn’t he cute and sweet?’ said Mum.

Mo was lying in a little basket. Dotti had a good look at him. She looked at his wrinkly face and his big red feet, his round high forehead and his crinkled-up hands.  Mo looked back at Dotti.  He’d only just been born so he couldn’t see her properly yet, but he flapped his hands and blinked his eyes to say hello. Dotti prodded Mo’s tummy with one finger.

‘I don’t like this baby’ she said. ‘He is sticky and icky. He is like a little beetle that lies on its back and waves its legs in the air. He is a beetle baby. And he has a bad smell.’

‘He’s a bit smelly at the moment’ said Dad. ‘That’s because his nappy needs changing.’

Dotti wasn’t sure what a nappy was. She was sure that she didn’t think that Mo was cute or sweet.

‘If this horrible beetle baby is going to make bad smells’ she said ‘we’d better take him back to the hospital.’  But Mum and Dad just laughed, so Dotti went and sat by herself in the hall to have a think.

After Dotti had thought for a long time, she went outside into the garden. She took her spade and hollowed out a space between the carrots and the strawberries. She smoothed out the earth. Near the fence was a pile of cut grass from when Dad had mowed the lawn.  Dotti collected some handfuls of grass and lined the hollow with it. It took her a long time. Dad came outside to see what she was doing.

‘I have made a nest for the beetle baby’ said Dotti. ‘He can sleep here tonight.’

Dad picked Dotti up.

‘That’s a very nice nest’ he said.  ‘But although Mo is sticky and icky and smelly, he isn’t really a beetle, so he doesn’t have a beetle shell to keep out the sun or the rain. And if we leave him outside at night, the mosquitoes might bite him all over and make him cry.’

Dotti looked thoughtful.  The beetle baby was a nuisance, but she didn’t want to make him cry.

‘Where would be a good place for him to sleep?’ she asked.

‘Mo is very small’ said Dad ‘and he needs his big sister to look after him. How about he sleeps in your room?’

Dotti went back into the house to have another look at Mo.  Mum had just fed him and he was sleepy, but when Dotti touched his hand, he curled his little beetle fingers around her thumb.  Dotti giggled.

‘Mo is going to sleep in my room tonight, Mum’ she said. ‘I’m his big sister and I’ll look after him. And he can watch cartoons with me now if he likes.’  So Dotti and Mo sat on the couch and watched cartoons.


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