Christine Cohen Park
The Third Story of.......
Jake and The Not-A-Straight-Line day
Have you noticed that there are some days when your thoughts go in a straight line like
this –––? Then sometimes they loop around and go up and down and in circles, and all over the place. You can’t stop at any one thing for long.
Jake feels like that. It has been a jumpy kind of day at his nursery school. At lunchtime something got into them all and instead of sitting quietly and eating from their lunch boxes, they’d turned into a tribe of chattering monkeys.
Then a girl called Mia ran off with Jake’s lunch. Mrs Justine told her to bring it back. Mia said she was sorry to Jake and gave him a kiss on the cheek. He didn’t like the feel of it, so he brushed it off! The other children laughed. They danced round the tables, laughing. Jake joined in.
Then the teachers called for them to sit down to have their story. But three of the bigger children ran into the garden and did somersaults on the lawn. By the time they’d been brought back in, there was no time for the story. The mummies and daddies and grannies and nannies and baby sisters and pet dogs and cats and hamsters were already at the school waiting to pick them up.
It’s what Grandma calls a not-a-straight-line kind of a day, when Jake tells her about what happened at the nursery.
Jake walks home with her to have their tea. After they’ve finished, when Grandma asks him what game he wants to play, he thinks and thinks but no good ideas come to him.
‘Grandma, what shall we play?’
‘Shall we get out your box of cars?’
‘Will you help me?’
‘You can manage by yourself now, can’t you?’
He wishes grown-ups wouldn’t say this – ‘you can manage by yourself.’ He drags the box across the floor and turns in on its side so the cars tumble out. It makes a satisfying noise …‘Bang, crash, wallop!’ He puts a few of the cars back and then overturns the box again to hear that sound. Then he pushes some of the cars along the floor. Today it is not much fun.
Do you want to play with your Lego?
Shall we play one of your board games?
He shakes his head.
‘What shall we do, Grandma?
‘Do you want to hide Drummer and Munro again but somewhere different?’
Jake is thinking…He becomes very quiet. I do have an idea, Grandma. But you have to come with me to my bedroom…
‘Did I miss a word…?
So Jake takes Grandma’s hand and they climb to the top of the house. On the pillow of his bed and on the shelf above are lots and lots of soft toys: teddies large and small, a polar bear, a lion, a tiger, a lamb, three kittens, a horse, two monkeys, and more.
‘We’ll hide all of these, says Jake beginning to smile.
All, Darling? What about just your favourites.’
‘And who is going to take them downstairs?’
Jake is smiling even more. ‘It’s going to be a lot of work for you, Grandma. We’ll need a case to put them in.’
‘Do you know where Mummy and Daddy keep their cases?’
Jake goes to a cupboard under the rafters on the top floor. He squeezes through the low opening and drags out a dark red case. ‘What about this?’
They pack the soft toys into the case and grandma has to take it downstairs. Jake turns them out on the floor but they only make a quiet thud not a satisfactory noise like the cars.
‘Now you hide them, Grandma ,and I find them.’
‘First we have to know how many we’re hiding so we can know we’ve found them all.’
Jake counts 10 of the animals – ‘that’s enough, isn’t it?’
‘It certainly is. What is the highest number you can count to, Jake?’
‘Right, well you stay here and count slowly to 15 while I hide them.’
Grandma goes into the hall leaving the door ajar. ‘Shut your eyes, and no peeping!’ She has to be quick because 15 doesn’t take very long to count, even if you do it slowly.
She hides 2 of the teddy-bears high on the umbrella-stand, and the smallest under Mummy’s boots, the lion in the coat cupboard, the polar bear under some parcels, the 3 kittens under her own hat on the banister, the horse and a monkey up the stairs.
When Jake starts searching, at first he can only see the horse and monkey on the stairs. Oh dear!
Grandma says she will give him some clues.
‘What are clues?’ he wants to know.
‘Clues are hints to help you guess.’
Here are Grandma’s clues:
‘Some of the toys may be keeping warm in the place you go to when you want to put on your coat…’ (he goes to the cupboard)
‘If it is raining you may need to take an umb... ‘ (he goes to the…?)
‘Mummy has some shoes that go right up to her knees…’(he sees the shiny boots and the teddy bear’s head sticking out.
He has got 6 of the toys and only 4 more to go. Grandma goes on giving Jake clues until he has found, 7, 8,9,10. All the soft toys are recovered!
Now Jake wants to hide the toys and for Grandma to look for them. There are funny places he chooses like in the breadbin and under the trolley and of course, down the back of the sofa. When Grandma can’t find all of them he has to lead her to them. Sometimes Grandma can be very slow!
Grandma and Jake count the soft toys once more: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 – There should be one more. ‘We’re missing the little teddy.’
Jake can’t remember anymore where he has hidden it. But he likes the little teddy (almost) most of all, and doesn’t want it to be lost, and Grandma is saying supper is almost ready. Oh dear, oh dear! He’s really sad. He wishes he could remember. Where did he hide Little Teddy?
Grandma and he look everywhere they can think. Then they look again. Grandma says, ‘We’ll leave it for now and Mummy and Daddy will help find the teddy later. But Jake says let me think… let me think. He walks around the sitting room thinking and trying to remember, while Grandma finishes making his supper.
He hasn’t thought as hard all day. Then at last his mind goes right in a straight line and he calls out,
‘Grandma, come. I think I have an idea.’
‘Do you, Darling?’
‘I think it is under somewhere that we like to sit.’
So Grandma goes to the sofa and bends down very low and there underneath is Little Teddy!
That is good enough. But what makes Jake even happier is – can you guess?
Grandma and Jake take all the soft toys up to Jake’s bedroom and put them back on his pillow, and on the bookshelf. Then they go downstairs for supper. Jake is very hungry as would any boy been who’d found and hid enough animals to make a zoo, and made up his his own first clue.
As he is eating he look over to the corner of the bookshelf and notices the black plastic figures, Drummer and Munro.
‘Grandma do you think they’re sad that I didn’t put them in my game today?’
‘I don’t think they mind having a rest, do you?’
‘Maybe I’ll give them a bit of my sausage just in case.’
‘When you’ve finished if there is a tiny tiny piece left over, I’m sure they’d love it.’
‘I’LL HAVE TO BE QUICK SO MOKI DOESN’T GET IT…’ He takes another mouthful.
Sometimes it seems that things are not going in a straight line. They loop all over the place. But sometimes it ends up all right, in the end.
Tips of More Things To Do To S-t-r-e-t-c-h Your Mind
You can become a master of clues, making them up making them up for your Mummy or Daddy, your friends, even your animals…
You can draw a picture from the story, or from a funny place you yourself would hide your toys, and send it to me.
You can learn to count five numbers higher than you can count at the moment. Then see if you can make up that number from things around your home. Then see if you can split them into two equal halves…