Mark’s Big Idea

“Mark’s Big Idea,” Friend, Sept. 1972, 44

Mark’s Big Idea

Mark had a baby sister.

Everyone said to him, “How nice, Mark, that you have a baby sister.”

Mark’s teacher said it.

Mark’s mailman said it.

Mark’s uncle said it.

Mark’s friend said it.

Everyone said, “How nice, Mark, that you have a baby sister.” And Mark became tired of hearing it.

Mark’s mother seemed happy.

His father seemed happy.

But Mark didn’t feel happy at all, even though he would smile and say thank you when people said to him, “How nice, Mark, that you have a baby sister.”

Mark was unhappy because no one seemed to have time for him anymore.

When Mark wanted his father to play catch with him, his father had to do the shopping or go to work or rake the leaves or cut the grass.

When Mark wanted his mother to read books with him, she always had to bathe the baby or do the dishes or feed the baby or rock the baby.

Mark didn’t think it was fair. After all, he had been there first. So Mark spent a lot of time sitting around alone just thinking.

He spent a lot of time staying in his room.

He spent a lot of time doing nothing else.

One day Mark got tired of sitting around alone in his room. “Boy,” he said out loud, “I must do something about this!”

He thought and thought. He sat and thought. He walked in circles and thought. He lay down on his bed and thought. He even stood on his head and thought. At last he knew what to do.

Mark went into the kitchen where his mother was feeding the baby.

“I’ll feed the baby,” Mark offered. “I’ll feed the baby so you can start dinner. Then maybe we could read a book if there’s enough time.”

“Why, thank you, Mark,” Mother said, giving him a big hug. “I think I will have time to read if you feed the baby.”

As Mark fed his baby sister, she pushed the food out of her mouth with her little pink tongue. Soon it became a game for Mark. He tried to get some food into her mouth before she pushed it out. Before long she had eaten all her dinner.

“Good girl,” Mark smiled. “Good girl.”

His sister smiled back at him.

Mother finished peeling potatoes. “Now let’s read,” she said. Mark and his mother sat in the big chair and read books.

When Mark’s dad came home, it was still light enough to play catch. But Dad said, “Well, I guess I better finish raking those leaves.”

“I’ll help you, Dad,” Mark beamed.

“Great!” his dad answered.

Together they raked the leaves into a pile beside the porch railing. Mark stood on the porch and jumped into the pile. The leaves flew all around. Mark and his dad laughed and raked again. Then his dad jumped into the pile.

They had time to play catch too.

When they went in, Mark went over to the playpen and put his hand on the baby’s soft cheek. He thought about the people who said to him, “How nice, Mark, that you have a baby sister.”

And Mark said out loud, “Yes, it is nice.”

His baby sister smiled at him, her eyes twinkling.

And Mark smiled back at her.

Illustrated by Nina Grover