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She looked up, her big brown eyes soft and pleading.

“You can’t have one unless you say it,” he said, matter of factly. He might have smirked, just a little. She wasn’t going to say it.

Her lip quivered.

“Are you going to cry? I won’t change my mind. You can’t have one unless you say it.”

He held the jar just beyond her reach. She stretched for it, her chubby fingers splayed out like a little starfish.

He frowned and held it a little higher.

She screwed up her face, as if ready to throw a tantrum. He looked around for somewhere to put the jar, to free his hands so he could cover his ears.


He blinked. “What did you say?”


He laughed, ran to the kitchen door and shouted. “Mum! Come here!”

Their mother ran in, fear and concern all over her face. “What? What’s happened? Are you okay?”

He pointed at his little sister. “Say it again,” he said, taking a biscuit out of the jar and holding it up.

Looking very irritable, she stretched up again. “Biscuit!”

With a laugh, he handed it over. Their mother stared.

“Biscuit? You made her say biscuit? What kind of a first word is that?”

He giggled. “Well, it’s more interesting than ‘mama’, right?”

© Kari Fay

(Author’s Note: Obviously this isn’t written from memory… but rumour has it this was how it happened. My first word!)