Despite being read several five minute bedtime stories last night, Ernie woke up in a grouchy mood. He did not make his bed, or brush his teeth, or comb his hair. He stomped downstairs, with his pug Spot, for breakfast.
“Good morning, Ernie!” said dad, who was mixing eggs into a batter. “Do you want pancakes?”
“I want waffles,” said Ernie grumpily.
“Don’t have any. Only pancakes today,” Dad said. He finally looked over his shoulder and saw that Ernie was still in his pyjamas and wearing a frown.
“Hmm,” said dad. “Did you brush your teeth? Or make your bed?”
“No,” said Ernie, sulking.
“Go on. Brush your teeth and make your bed first,” dad said. “The pancakes will be ready soon.”
Ernie sighed and started up the stairs when there was a knock at the front door. Ernie went to answer it.
“Hello, Ernie! Oh hello Spot!” Violet chirped. She was his know-it-all next door neighbor, and was five and three quarters.
“ello, Violet,” Ernie said, suspiciously . Violet rarely smiled at him. What was she up to?
“Can I pet Spot?” she asked. “We can’t have a dog because my sister has allergies.”
He nodded. She pet Spot’s black and tan head, and hugged him until his curly tail twitched. She did not want to let him go.
“It’s my birthday party tomorrow. Are you going to come?” she said.
“Tomorrow?” said Ernie, confused.
“Yes. Mommy invited you. Are you going to come?” she asked.
“Are you going to have chocolate cake?” he demanded.
“We’re having strawberry cake!” she said, as she danced up and down.
“I don’t like strawberry,” he said. She blinked at him. How could anyone not like strawberry?
“I don’t like chocolate,” she said. Ernie blinked at her. How could anyone not like chocolate?
Ernie’s mom appeared at the door. “Oh hello, Violet,” she said. “Are you excited about your birthday party tomorrow?” We are looking forward to coming.”
When Violet waved goodbye, Ernie said, “I’m not going to her birthday party.”
“Why not?” asked mom.
“No chocolate cake,” he said.
“We are going,” mom said firmly. “There will be games and prizes. All your friends are going to be there, even Benny. We’ll have to find Violet a nice gift today, won’t we? Now go upstairs and change.”
Ernie raced Spot up the stairs. He did not want to buy a birthday gift for Violet, but he did want to go if Benny was going and there were games and prizes. Maybe the birthday party wouldn’t be so bad after all.
In the afternoon, Ernie was outside making mud pies. They looked exactly like chocolate pies, and that made him think of Violet’s party.
Maybe he should bring a pie as a birthday gift? He found an old pie tin and scooped two handfuls of mud into it. He decorated it with grass and worms and brought it inside.
“I made Violet a birthday present,” he said as he handed it to mom.
She studied the pie. “Hmmm. Making a gift is a good idea, but I do not think Violet will like mud and worms. Maybe you should make something else.”
Ernie thought about it. Mom was right. Violet liked spiders and caterpillars, but she did not like worms.
And speaking of spiders…Ernie had another wonderful idea. He found the old record player and record (“Itchy, Itchy Spider”) that used to belong to his favorite Uncle Jasper. Then he went to find dad.
“I have a birthday present for Violet. Watch!” he said. He then started to dance with Spot, exactly the way he and Uncle Jasper did the last time Jasper came over for dinner.
Dad was horror struck and tried not to laugh.
“Sweetheart,” he called to mom, “Come here fast! You need to see this!”
They watched Ernie itch, itch to the right. Itch, itch to the left. Hands up! Hands down! Circle, circle, circle!
“Did Jasper teach you that?” mom asked. “He always forgets the crawling spider bit.”
“You know what he’s doing?” dad asked, astonished.
“We made it up as our family dance,” she said. She joined Ernie and Spot. Itch, itch to the right. Itch, itch to the left. Hands up! Hands down! Circle, circle, circle! Crawl, crawl, crawl!
“Well,” dad said, still goggling at them, “Violet takes ballet lessons and I don’t think she will understand….uh, er, that.”
At Violet’s birthday party, Ernie was no longer grouchy. He and Benny had each won a prize each for the games. Ernie didn’t have to eat strawberry cake because Violet’s mom had made super-chocolaty brownies too. He was having a such a good time…except he felt a little guilty that he had not found a gift for Violet.
“Time for birthday presents!” Violet’s mom announced. Everyone oohed and aahed as Violet unwrapped a doll, a stationery set, and several stuffed animals.
Animals…then Ernie had the best idea ever!
He raced home and got his toy wagon. He put a box on it and his present inside. Ernie put on the lid and raced back to the party.
“Happy birthday, Violet!” he said. Mom and dad looked at each other. What had Ernie brought?
Uncertain, Violet looked at Ernie.
“Hurry!” he said. “It won’t last long.” Now, mom and dad looked alarmed.
She opened the box and up jumped Spot, who licked her! “I know you can’t have a dog, but you can play with Spot for your birthday,” said Ernie generously.
Violet squealed, hugged Spot, and said, “This is the best birthday ever!”
And that concludes our five minute bedtime stories for today!
This story has been written by Victoria, a Bedtime Stories For Kids contributor.