Ruthie went to sleep after a while, and Daddy left. But I couldn’t get to sleep. I went downstairs and heard Bruce in the living room sniffing. “What’s up?” I asked.
“Mommy brought in some new fun-looking Christmas things tonight,” Bruce said. He stood at the coffee table, sticking his nose into a new bunch of shopping bags.
“Is there anything to eat?” I joined him.
“Probably.” Bruce tugged out a roll of shiny paper. He sniffed at it, then moved on to another bag. “Some of this stuff smells pretty good.”
I jumped up on the coffee table. Mama told me that since Bruce is a dog, he thinks almost anything can be food, so I have to be careful about trying every little thing he happens to eats.
Bruce pulled out a roll of string-like stuff wound around a spool. “This is just ribbon. I might chew on some of that later.”
“It’s pretty,” I said, picking at it. It would be nice to bat if I could get some loose.
“Here’s some fun stuff. Bows.” Bruce pulled out a couple shiny, curly things and dropped them, then knocked them across the floor. I chased after them and sent them back to him.
We’d just found a package of little round things that made a pretty ringing noise when Mama hurried in and hissed. “Hurry, get out of here. Jake is coming down. You guys don’t need to be caught messing with Christmas stuff again.”
Oh no. We all ran in different directions. I went to the kitchen and hid under the table.
But Jake came in the kitchen. Oooohh. I crawled even farther under the table and curled into as little a ball as I could.
Jake set a glass on the table, then walked with his crutches to get some milk out of the refrigerator. He pulled one of the chairs out from under the table, and I scooted farther away.
When I heard a funny noise, I crept out from under the table and looked at Jake. He had pulled the foil stuff off a plate of Ruthie’s cookies and held one in both hands. He looked at it but didn’t take a bite.
I tipped my head to the side and listened. Jake made the same kind of sniffy noise Ruthie did when she cried.
I tiptoed out of the kitchen and went to look for Mama. She was lying in a basket of nice-smelling towels in the laundry room again, so I crawled in and snuggled down with her.
“Mama, isn’t Christmas time supposed to be happy?”
Mama’s soft, rough tongue licked my quivering face, but she didn’t say anything.