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Day 7: Being the Only Girl

NEWT SS Girl

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#1 Offline SkyLandOceAnna

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Posted Dec 19 2012 - 12:14 AM

The alarm went off. She struggled out from beneath the covers. She wanted to go back to bed, but unfortunately her life no longer allowed her to do such things. She had three boys to get ready for school and had to make breakfast as well. She nudged her husband to get up as well, so he could get himself ready for work, as well as help her with the boys. Two were 8 and the other was 14. It was hard being the only girl in the house. Still she wouldn’t change a thing, except maybe getting some help with chores once in awhile, since she was what was called a ‘housewife’. At least she didn’t clean the boys’ rooms, just took their laundry, and they did the rest. And her husband would do cooking some nights as well when he got home.

 

She went off to the twins’ room and flipped the switch. She told them it was time to get up and they squirmed around under the covers asking for five more minutes. She went over and pulled off their covers. They moaned as they slowly pulled themselves up and out of their beds and to the bathroom.

She grabbed clothes from their closets and socks and bottoms from their drawers. She liked giving them their freedom with choosing clothes, but sometimes those old habits die hard. When the first one came back, she handed him his clothes and put the other’s stuff on his bed and left so he could change.

 

She then went to the oldest child’s room, but he was already getting ready. He liked school and was very responsible, so she went to start working on breakfast. She first, stopped off at her room to make sure her husband was up. She heard the shower running, so she laid out his suit for work and went to start working on breakfast.

 

She made pancakes and bacon and eggs. When she was done, all of the boys came out and sat down. They thanked her for the food and began eating. Being their father’s sons, they ate rather quickly, hardly ever taking the time to savor each bite.

 

When done, the boys went for their backpacks, and to put their shoes on, while Becky and Jay talked about their schedules for the day. Jay would go to work and give his big presentation he put together discussing energy conservation and then stop and get some chicken from the store to cook for supper.

 

Becky would take the boys to school and then do some laundry and housecleaning while they were at school. Afterwards, she would pick the boys up and take them to their taekwondo class. She would be able to relax for a bit whilst they were in class and probably do some folding of the laundry if anything.

After this, her husband put the dishes in the sink and gave her a quick kiss on the forehead and headed off to work. She then yelled to the boys to get outside to the car, so she could take them to school. That’s when the fun started. One of the twins misplaced their math homework, but Becky knew where it was. She told him to check the computer desk in the living room. Sure enough it was there.

 

Then the other twin just couldn’t find his other shoe. She told him to check under his bed and there is was. She never understood how one would find its way in there. It was probably the dog dragging their shoes around by the strings. It was just a little dog and she never seemed to chew the shoes, just managed to drag them around the house and leave them wherever. The only reason she considered under the bed was because she saw the dog in there the night before playing around under the bed. She assumed it was her pig ear, but then decided it could be the shoe, and she was right.

 

The oldest was at the door when Becky and the twins went to it. Becky noticed a big wet spot on his shirt and asked what had happened and why it was wet. He said he got syrup from the pancakes on it and tried rinsing it off. She asked him to go get a different shirt and that she would watch it later to make sure all the syrup was off.

 

He went and changed as the others went out to the car. They tried getting shotgun like they seemed to do every morning, but once again she told them that James, the oldest, got it because she didn’t want them riding in the front. She thought they were still too young and that it was dangerous. James then locked the door and hopped in the front passenger seat.

 

She dropped the boys off and went home to do the housework. She cleaned the kitchen, and then she worked on laundry in-between cleaning the living room and bathroom. It was then time to pick the boys up. She dropped them off at taekwondo and then took a walk around the block a couple times while listening to her iPod, before taking a shower.

 

Once out she worked on putting the laundry away when the boys and her husband came in all excited about thei r class and something else that they wouldn’t say. Jay was acting weird too. While they worked on homework, Becky tried helping Jay with supper, but he told her to just relax and watch something on TV until supper was ready. She did just that and when she could smell he was just about done, she went to try and set up the table, but it was already done. She was happy that Jay had done so, so she went and gave him a big kiss and helped bring the food dishes to the table.

 

Jay called the boys and they had supper and Jay did the dishes, which really shocked Becky. Jay didn’t really like doing the dishes, but it was in such a good mood. She figured the presentation must’ve went better than he mentioned. The kids went to bed without a fuss for Jay, probably because tomorrow was the weekend, and then Becky and Jay went to their room.

 

The next morning while Becky was fast asleep, she heard a loud commotion. She awoke to her children and Jay wishing her a Happy Mother’s Day. Of course! How could she forget it was Mother’s Day? This was why they were so cooperative last night. They wanted her to be happy and rested for her special day. Jay must’ve talked to them on the way home about it. They gave her her breakfast, like you see in the movies, on a little table they sat across her.

 

They all piled gifts at her as well. She made sure to take a couple bites of her pancakes with strawberries and waffles and a few sips of her orange juice before opening them. She got perfume and some bath salts and earrings from the boys. Her husband they brought in some roses from the other room and gave her a wrapped square thing. When she unwrapped it, it was a photo of the boys. She was so thrilled he had done that for her and how cute they all were in the picture.

 

Becky was so thankful for what her family had done for her and by the kind words they put in their homemade and store bought cards. She felt like the luckiest girl in the world.

 

Thank you! Any and all comments appreciated.


Edited by SkyLandOceAnna, Dec 20 2012 - 02:15 AM.

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Wordsmith <3


#2 Offline Draven

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Posted Dec 20 2012 - 01:59 AM

Kind of seems like your 50's era mom.


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#3 Offline SkyLandOceAnna

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Posted Dec 20 2012 - 02:14 AM

I know what you mean; or like what you see in a movie. Thank you for your response! :)


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#4 Offline Velox

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Posted Apr 11 2013 - 06:36 PM

Hey there, SkyIceOceAnna! I'm here to provide you with an SSCC Charity Review. Basically, we just go around OTC reviewing stories that haven't gotten an SSCC review yet. So, without further ado...

 

I seem to review every story slightly differently. This time, I want to mention one thing, and then I'll go through and quote passages of the story, giving my thoughts on them as I go, as most of the things I want to point out fit better with specific passages. I'll probably have a few general things to say at the end as well. 

 

Reading this through, I have to say that I found the main character (Becky, I believe) to be quite strange. Specifically, very controlling. Honestly I felt almost as if these weren't humans, and she was playing house with dolls or something. I'll get into specific examples from the story later, but I wanted to mention this first. I don't think this is supposed to be a weird story at all, but rather just a sweet little "day in the life of" story. Which is fine, but again, the main character just seemed overly controlling. 

 

Still she wouldn’t change a thing, except maybe getting some help with chores once in awhile, since she was what was called a ‘housewife’.

 

I feel like it's kind of implied that she's a housewife, so doesn't need to be said explicitly, but that's just a personal preference--perhaps also because it almost sounds like you're saying that she doesn't get help with chores at all because she's called a housewife. Also, two sentences later you say that her husband would do the cooking some nights, yet in this sentence you say that she wishes she could get help with the chores. Perhaps just change it to "...getting some help with the chores more often" or something. 

 

One thing that I did like, though, was that here and the sentences above, you really showed that the stay-at-home-mom lifestyle isn't just a free pass on work or anything like that. 

 

She went off to the twins’ room and flipped the switch. 

 

"Off" makes it sound like she's "going off on a journey"--I'd make it simply "went to" 

 

She then went to the oldest child’s room, but he was already getting ready. He liked school and was very responsible, so she went to start working on breakfast. She first, stopped off at her room to make sure her husband was up. She heard the shower running, so she laid out his suit for work and went to start working on breakfast.

 

Here's the first big instance when I think things went a little too far. But before I get into that, most 14-year-olds don't seem to really like school. It's not that it's not possible, but it is rare. Sure, it could be enjoyable, but he is a kid in middle school. You could just say that he's responsible, or you could leave it out all together, as him getting ready implies that he's at least partially responsible. 

 

But now, with starting with the third sentence is where things really start to go too far. Assuming she's around 35-45 or even older, and he's around the same, she really shouldn't have to make sure he's getting ready, unless he has some sort of condition or something. And, even more so, she really, really shouldn't have to put out his clothes for him--he's a big boy, why can't he just do it himself? Especially considering that a 14-year-old doesn't need treatment like that, why would a ~40-year-old? Also, before this when she's doing the same to the two twins, that also seemed a little out of place, but they are only 8 so it could go either way. But for 14 and ~40, definitely not, at least for the laying out of the clothes. It's definitely believable that she'd check up on the 14-year-old to make sure he's waking up, but nothing more than that. 

 

When she was done, all of the boys came out and sat down. They thanked her for the food and began eating. Being their father’s sons, they ate rather quickly, hardly ever taking the time to savor each bite.

 

We got a brief look at this earlier, but here it really stands out: the family is just too perfect. I really can't imagine two 8-year-olds and a 14-year-old being so perfect and polite. I mean who knows, maybe it is possible, but this coupled with the other off-putting things and it just seemed equally as weird. 

 

When done, the boys went for their backpacks, and to put their shoes on, while Becky and Jay talked about their schedules for the day. Jay would go to work and give his big presentation he put together discussing energy conservation and then stop and get some chicken from the store to cook for supper.

 

This also sounded weird, as if one of them is the President, and the other is the President's Chief of Staff, going over his morning schedule and what he needs to do. I understand them talking about their day, but not so formally. Instead, it should be brought up in common conversation "I have that big presentation to give at work today about energy conservation..." or whathaveyou. Just something to make it more natural-sounding. Furthermore, this is the first mention of their names, and while it's fairly obvious who's who, they should just be mentioned earlier. Maybe even start out with Becky at the very beginning, then go "her husband, Jay" the first time you mention him. 

 

Becky would take the boys to school and then do some laundry and housecleaning while they were at school. Afterwards, she would pick the boys up and take them to their taekwondo class. She would be able to relax for a bit whilst they were in class and probably do some folding of the laundry if anything.

 

Again, continuing with what I said above, it just seems weird that she'd go through her day like that, especially mentioning everything to the laundry and housecleaning and how she'd be able to relax for a bit (and "while" would be the better word rather than "whilst), probably do some folding of the laundry...I just can't see someone saying that. Instead, again, put it in conversation, and don't mention everything as if it's a list she's reading: "Good luck, dear! I'm just going to be doing housecleaning today until I pick up the boys and take them to their taekwondo class. I'll see you tonight!" Or something to that effect. 

 

After this, her husband put the dishes in the sink and gave her a quick kiss on the forehead and headed off to work. She then yelled to the boys to get outside to the car, so she could take them to school. That’s when the fun started. One of the twins misplaced their math homework, but Becky knew where it was. She told him to check the computer desk in the living room. Sure enough it was there.

 

The quick moving from the kiss to the yell was slightly jarring to me. Quite natural, but perhaps just reword it to something like..."off to work. She smiled and then shouted to the boys to get in the car." or something. Again, just personal preference. I don't think "That's when the fun started." is needed, and I'd reword the following to: "One of the twins couldn't find his math homework, but Becky had remembered seeing it by the computer and told him to check." 

 

Then the other twin just couldn’t find his other shoe. She told him to check under his bed and there is was. She never understood how one would find its way in there. It was probably the dog dragging their shoes around by the strings. It was just a little dog and she never seemed to chew the shoes, just managed to drag them around the house and leave them wherever. The only reason she considered under the bed was because she saw the dog in there the night before playing around under the bed. She assumed it was her pig ear, but then decided it could be the shoe, and she was right.

 

A few things here: 1. They were already dressed when they came down from breakfast--it seems unlikely that the shoe would go missing for this long, without being brought up earlier. Plus, I feel like he would've just looked under his bed by himself, but maybe that's just me. 2. This is the first time the dog is mentioned, and seems to come out of the blue, only to give an explanation as to where the shoe went. I'd bring the dog in earlier. 3. I don't think all that explanation is necessary anyway. Just something like "did you look under your bed?" would be quite natural by itself, without any explanation as to why she thought that, or why the shoe might be there--the reader can piece that together him/herself. 

 

The oldest was at the door when Becky and the twins went to it. Becky noticed a big wet spot on his shirt and asked what had happened and why it was wet. He said he got syrup from the pancakes on it and tried rinsing it off. She asked him to go get a different shirt and that she would watch it later to make sure all the syrup was off.

 

Why was he just waiting at the door? She had told them to get to the car. Also, "and why it was wet" is unneeded, as you just said it was wet the sentence before. I'm also wondering why he needed a new shirt--it would've dried fairly quickly, probably before he even got to school. And either way, since he's 14 years old, it seems like he'd make the decision of whether or not he needed a new shirt. Again, maybe it's just because she seems so controlling earlier that she seems more controlling now, but it did sound a little weird to me. 

 

He went and changed as the others went out to the car. They tried getting shotgun like they seemed to do every morning, but once again she told them that James, the oldest, got it because she didn’t want them riding in the front. She thought they were still too young and that it was dangerous. James then locked the door and hopped in the front passenger seat.

 

1. This could all be reworded with fewer words. "She didn't want them riding in the front because it was more dangerous" and just leave it at that, for example. 2. Here again, you mention James's name for the first time--why not bring it in earlier, instead of just saying "the oldest"? 3. I'm a little confused at the last sentence--he locked his own door and then somehow got into it? Or he unlocked it? Or he locked the rear doors after his brothers got in? 

 

She dropped them off at taekwondo and then took a walk around the block a couple times while listening to her iPod, before taking a shower.

 

Where did she take a shower? It sounds like she's walking around the block of the taekwondo place, and so isn't at home--are there showers she can use there? Or did she come home at some point?

 

Jay didn’t really like doing the dishes, but it was in such a good mood.

 

"it" should be "he", unless they really are dolls. =P

 

The kids went to bed without a fuss for Jay, probably because tomorrow was the weekend, and then Becky and Jay went to their room.

 

Wouldn't that make them want to stay up even later? "Tomorrow's the weekend, so I can sleep in." 

 

They gave her her breakfast, like you see in the movies, on a little table they sat across her.

 

I'd change this to: "They gave her her breakfast on a breakfast tray, and say on the edge of the bed." or something. As it is, them "sitting across from her" sounds like they're sitting at an actual table, and "like you see in the movies" isn't really necessary. 

 

They all piled gifts at her as well. She made sure to take a couple bites of her pancakes with strawberries and waffles and a few sips of her orange juice before opening them. She got perfume and some bath salts and earrings from the boys. Her husband they brought in some roses from the other room and gave her a wrapped square thing. When she unwrapped it, it was a photo of the boys. She was so thrilled he had done that for her and how cute they all were in the picture.

 

"They all gave her gifts as well." would be better, IMO. Also, maybe it's just me, but I've never thought of someone making both pancakes and waffles. =P 

 

---

 

So I think I've said enough. =P I really liked the idea behind the story, and the sweetness of some of the things--her kids/husband doing the whole nice Mother's Day thing, etc. Though actually on that point, unless I'm mistaken, Mother's Day is always on a Sunday. Yet the day before, in the story, she takes the kids to school, so I feel like we lost a day there somewhere. But anyway, back to what I was saying, this seemed like a very sweet story, and I liked that. Very old-fashioned in some ways (like someone else mentioned, a 50s-era mom), and that's definitely not a bad thing. I think the story could also benefit from some internal dialogue--throughout the story, we never really get to see the mother's thoughts, except what's told to us by the narrator, but because of that, they don't seem like she's the one thinking them--that we're just being told them, if that makes sense. That way we see her thoughts, and what it's like to be in that position, rather than just having this outside (almost like a camera) view, where we can't connect with the character. And I think a lot of the sentences could be restructured, too--I pointed out some of them, but overall, a lot of times it seemed like we were going through a list of things in a story, rather than being told a story. 

 

But overall I think it definitely has the potential to be a very sweet, family story, and I think that was set up very nicely. Well-done, and I hope you find my comments helpful. =] 

 

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#5 Offline SkyLandOceAnna

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Posted May 16 2013 - 11:03 PM

Thank you for your comments Velox. I will take it all into account in future stories I write. I appreciate you taking the time to read my story.


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