– Effie Doesn’t Like Sundays –

“I don’t like Sundays,” I said to my mother, who was busy working at her computer.

She never used to work on Sundays because she worked during the week in her office. Since we’ve been stuck indoors for a month, my mother has set up her office on our dining room table. Sundays used to be when we would play in the park or go to the cinema or meet our friends. Now we mostly stay indoors.

I was bored. I was bored of being home and not seeing my friends. Bored of finding things to do at home, which was boring because I was running out of things to do at home. I was bored of my brother playing tricks on me and I was bored of my mother working when we should be outside having fun!

“You said the same thing last Sunday, Effie,” my mother replied, still tapping away on her keyboard and staring at her computer. “Why not go play with your brother…surely you two can find something fun to do together.”

I looked at my half-eaten ham sandwich, spun my plate around in circles and watched how my lunch bobbled around until cucumbers and raisins no longer clumped in their own small piles. 

“Effie!” My mother snapped. “Stop spinning your plate!”

“It’s more fun than playing with James,” I said, because anything is more fun than playing with my brother at the moment. Since he turned ten, he thinks he’s way bigger than me. Sometimes he calls me a ‘baby’ but he never calls me that in front of our mother. She’d be very cross with him. And I am most definitely, absolutely NOT a baby!

“Eat your lunch, sweetheart.”

“I can’t. It’s all mixed up now and won’t taste right.” I thought that sounded like a good reason not to finish my boring lunch. Boring sandwich, boring cucumber. And raisins are the most boring of all! Okay, I actually like the taste of raisins but when my brother told me that they are actually dried up grapes, I decided to let my mother know that I don’t want to eat old fruit. She then explained raisins are not old grapes, they are just grapes dried in the sun to make them taste yummier so I still eat them. They just don’t taste as nice as chocolate.

“Eat your lunch. Then go find James. It’s meant to rain today so maybe you could play a board game together.”

“Rain! It’s going to RAIN! But it’s been sunshine forever. It’s only rained one day and that’s when I got to make rainbows and see Zara standing across the road. It’s bad enough I can’t go to school but now it’s going to rain?”

“We can’t control the weather, lovely. Besides, our garden needs rain after these weeks of spring sunshine.”

“See—another reason to not to like Sundays.”

“Finish your lunch.”

I looked down again at my jumbled up lunch and listened to my mother tap on her keyboard across the table—CLICKITY-CLICKITY-CLICK!

I could hear James in the garden, kicking his football against the fence—POW-POW-POW!

The clock on the wall kept making a ticking sound as seconds passed—TICK-TICK-TICK!

That’s what being bored does—makes you hear things you’ve never heard before. I could even hear my brain telling me loudly that I WAS BORED!

Not eating my lunch would be a battle I would lose. I gobbled my sandwich, nibbled all my cucumber circles except for one and swept the raisins into my hand, stuffing them in my pocket for later.

“Done!” I announced to my mother, as I walked to the kitchen with my plate and empty glass. She didn’t look up from the screen but said ‘Well done’ when I nudged by her.

“I’m going to find James.”

“Have fun, lovely.” My mother calls me and my brother lovely a lot. A lot, a lot. She also calls us sweetheart and honey and chicken. She never calls me baby, like James does. Because I’m not a baby! I am also not a chicken but it doesn’t bother me so much that she calls us that. She gives us nicknames because she loves us. My brother calls me baby and I don’t think that’s because he loves me. Even though my mother says that he does.

I opened the back door to the garden. Still no rain.

“It’s not raining yet!” I shouted back into the house to my mother.

I stuck my last cucumber circle into my mouth and walked out to find James.

“What do you want?” He asked, always happy to see me…not!

I walked to him and smiled a big smile–a very, very, VERY green smile!

James wasn’t expecting a green grin of cucumber instead of teeth and he jumped.

“Hahahahaha!” I grabbed my tummy and bent over with laughter.

“That’s not funny!” James’ face looked really cross—eyes narrowed, voice angry and I think I saw steam come out of his ears. James loves to prank me but I don’t think he liked being the one who gets tricked.

I removed the cucumber from my mouth. “Now you know how I feel when you prank me! Hahaha!”

“You didn’t prank me. I was just surprised how horrible you look today!”

“I did scare you, James. Or maybe you were just surprised. I dunno which but it was funny!”

James still didn’t look like he saw the funny part of it. He used to laugh a lot more when we played together but now he’s all serious a lot of the time because he’s bigger than me. And he tells me a lot that he is ten now, which I haven’t forgotten. I think James would have thought the cucumber smile was funny when he was nine but it seems like he lost some of his funniness when he turned ten. Maybe things change when your age is two numbers instead of one. I like being eight.

“I’m bored. Wanna play a game?”

“No,” James answered quickly, then began kicking his football again against the fence.

“I heard it’s going to rain today.”

James looked at the blue sky. “It’s not.”

“Mum said. She said it’s going to rain any minute.”

“It won’t rain. Go inside, Effie. I wanna play football.”

“Can I play football with you?”


“I’m bored, James.”

“I’m practicing my football skills. Go be bored inside.”

“It’s going to rain soon, James. Then you’ll be bored, too!”

I turned and walked back inside. 

“It’s not raining yet,” I informed my mother.

“Okay. Thanks for the update, lovely.”

“I don’t like Sundays.”

My mother stopped tapping on her keyboard and looked at me. “Effie, why do you not like Sundays? You say that every week.”

“Not every week. But most Sundays. It’s just that Sundays is when the weekend is over and we have to go back to school.”

“That doesn’t make sense. You have two whole days off at the weekend: Saturday and Sunday. You have all of Sunday to relax and have fun. You don’t have to think about school until Mondays.”

“But we’re not even at school now!” I said.

“Yes, at the moment you are staying home. All the kids are staying home. But you still have schoolwork to do—it’s just you learn at home. Miss Wolf wants you to do your homework and learn new things.”

“It’s not the same,” I said. “I don’t get to see Ruby and Zara. I miss my best-friends.”

“I know, sweetheart. But you’ll see them soon. And you can ring them. Do you want to use my phone?”

“Maybe later,” I said. “I’m going to get my paints out and paint some pictures.”

“Sounds good, lovely. I’ll just finish this project then you and James and I will go for a walk. We’ve not been out for—”

“I know—we’ve not been out for our daily walk. That’s another reason not to like Sundays. We now don’t go to the park on Sundays or meet our friends. We go out for a walk once a day. That’s not fun.”

“It’s just for a little while, Effie. We’re all just staying home for a while then we’ll go back to school and work when everyone else does. You know all this. Remember last week when we made rainbows for the essential workers who look after us?”

“I remember. I loved making the rainbows.”

“Great! So you go paint more rainbows, then we’ll go for a walk.”

“You said it was going to rain.”

“We’ll go out before the rain starts.”

I ran to the front window. “No rain yet! I’ll be in my room.” Then I ran upstairs.

I pulled on my purple apron, put some paper on my desk and got out my paints. Then I sat down and looked out my window for something to paint.

The sky was blue and I could see a bird in the tree outside our house. So I used a big brush to paint the blue sky. Dipping the brush in brown, I painted the tree trunk and branches. Then I got my thin brush to paint the bird…but the bird flew away!

I looked at my half-finished painting of the tree and sky but no bird. It was boring without the bird.

I looked out the window again. A big white cloud was floating in the sky. It looked like a huge scoop of vanilla ice-cream. Yummy! So I dipped my brush in white paint and splodged dollops of white in the blue sky. There was no bird but the fluffy cloud made my picture much prettier.

I wanted the bird to fly back. It was a bright blue and black and white bird with a yellow beak. I could try to paint it from memory but I couldn’t remember if it had a blue head, white wings and a black tail…or if it had a black head, blue wings and a white tail. I gave up on the bird.

Then I saw a plane flying in the sky very far away. I used a very thin brush to paint a grey plane in the sky. My painting looked better with more things in it but I wanted the bird to fly back so I could add all those colours.

At least it wasn’t raining!

I grabbed my picture of the outside world by the edges because it was still drying, then I went downstairs to show my mother.

“It’s beautiful, Effie!” 

“Thanks. There was a bird but it flew away. It’s just a bit boring without the bird colours. I only used blue and brown and white and grey.”

“You could add green to it. Paint some leaves on the tree.”

“I guess.”

“Why don’t we go for that walk now. Before the rain starts. The clouds are coming and the sky will get darker.”

“Okay,” I said.

“Please go get James. He’s still in the garden. I’ll close up my computer.”

I went out the back door again. But James wasn’t there. There was no POW-POW-POW. His football was on the grass but James was not there to kick it.

I went back inside and shouted upstairs, “James! We’re going for a walk now!”

He didn’t answer. Then I guessed what James was doing. He must have been hiding in the garden, probably behind the tree or in our mother’s flower bed. I bet he was planning to jump out and surprise me. Revenge for the cucumber!

I went back into the garden. “James, I know you’re out here. You can’t scare me!”

I slowly walked towards the tree then popped my head behind it. No James!

I peeped behind the bushes. No James.

I looked inside our Wendy House, but James wasn’t inside.

Where was he?

I stood by the back door and scanned the garden one last time. Then I felt the rain start. Trickles of water tapped off my head, then it grew harder, then a massive whoooosh landed all over me! Oh, no!

“Looks like it’s raining now!” Completely wet, I looked up to see James leaning out of his bedroom window, holding the watering can from our garden. “Yep! Lots of rain today Effie!”

“James! I’m soaked!”

I saw my brother smiling down at me. “Hahahahahaha!” Then he closed his bedroom window.

“Mum is going to be sooooooo cross, James!”

In fact, my mother was more than cross when I walked back inside, leaving puddles across the kitchen floor and dripping on the dining room table.

“Be careful of my laptop! Oh, goodness—my papers! Stand back in the kitchen, Effie. You’re drenched!”

A while later, I was dried and in warm clothes. My brother, on the other hand, was getting wet in the garden, as he weeded the flowerbeds and it had started to rain. It actually had started to rain—it wasn’t just me standing over him with a watering can! Weeding was his punishment for drenching me with water. James wasn’t laughing now.

“James, that’s enough dandelions. We’re going out for a family walk. And no more pranking! Grab your coats,” said my mother.

It felt good to get out and walk. It wasn’t as fun as playing in the park or seeing my friends, but we enjoyed the fresh air and not just sitting inside. I don’t think James wanted to do anymore weeding because he was actually nice to me on the walk. He brought the football and we kicked it between us as we walked along the footpath. I shared my raisins with James and he ate them, evening though they were warm from my pocket and he thought they were just old fruit.

The rain had slowed to a light drizzle now and I could see patches of blue bursting through the grey clouds in the sky.

When we got home, I took my painting upstairs, sat at my desk and looked out the window again for the bird.

The bird did not come back.

But a rainbow did. A big, bright, beautiful rainbow in the sky. I took out all my rainbow colours: red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. I took out my thickest brush and swept arcs of colour in the sky, behind the tree my painting. Then I painted green leaves on the tree.

It was a happy picture now. Not a boring Sunday painting. It was colourful and told a story about my day: there had been sunshine, there had been rain and now there were rainbows!

I actually enjoyed this Sunday and I was glad it rained so there was a rainbow in the sky.

I coloured my world in rainbow colours today.

What colour did you colour your world?

Effie x

– Effie’s Making Rainbows –

“Let’s make rainbows today,” my mother suggested. My brother and I were sat staring at our bowls of soggy cereal. “You two look like you need cheering up!”

My big brother shifted his stare to his orange juice, then grunted.

“It’s Friday. I have art Friday mornings,” I said, thinking about how much fun it would be to sit next to Ruby and Zara, painting pictures and cutting paper shapes. “I miss art. I miss school.”

“Then let’s have our own art lesson here,” answered my mother, her voice sounding excited and encouraging. “What do you say, James?”

“I don’t like art. I like P.E.,” James clarified to our mother, focusing back on his cereal bowl again. “And I definitely don’t want to make rainbows, whatever that means.”

My mother drew in a big breath, held it for a count of five, then let the air pass slowly out of her mouth.

Our school has been closed for a month. Since then, I have noticed that my mother holds her breath a lot when James says he doesn’t want to do something. It’s not easy being home all the time—it’s not very fun for me and James because we miss our friends. Some days I think James is extra grumpy. I don’t think my mother likes it when James is grumpy.

My mother loves us very much but I know it also cannot be easy for her to now work from home and try to home-school us. ESPECIALLY when my brother does not want to make rainbows.

“James,” my mother explained, “you still have to learn even if you’re not at school and art can be fun. Give it a try!”

My mother and I both looked at James and waited for what seemed like a very long time for his answer. His mouth scrunched up a lot and his blue eyes got all squinty. I knew that look. He was definitely deciding what was the best thing to do: go along with our mother’s suggestion or dig his heels in. I didn’t think James wanted to see my mother count to five with her mouth full of air again.

“Okay,” he mumbled. “I’ll try it. But I’m not making rainbows!”

Sometimes it feels like my mother and my brother are having a battle to see who wins. That first round was won by my mother. James was going to do art.

“Why are we making rainbows anyway?” I asked my mother. “Can we paint puppies or flowers or trees or spaghetti instead? I love all of those things!”

“I’ll explain the rainbows. Effie, go get your paints and put on your apron. James, you’ll need to wear an old t-shirt. I’ll get some paper plates and I’ll cover the table. Meet you back here in two minutes.”

“Paper plates!” James and I shouted out at the same time.

“Paper plates! Now, hurry so we can get started.”

James and I carried our breakfast bowls and glasses into the kitchen sink then hurried off to our bedrooms.

Art is my favourite thing to do, other than playing with my friends. So I was feeling happier than when I woke up that morning and saw the rain and grey sky outside my window. I pulled on my purple apron that hangs on my desk chair and I stuffed paints and brushes into its deep pockets.

We met back in the dining room minutes later. My mother had covered the wooden table-top with the blue plastic sheet we use for messy projects. She had filled two glasses with water to clean our brushes and had placed a white, paper plate in front of three chairs at the table. Between the plates were enormous piles of colourful markers, pencils and crayons.

“Yay! My favourite lesson of the day!” I shouted, adding my pocketed tubes of paint and brushes to the collection of supplies.

“What do you think, James?” Asked my mother.

“It looks…interesting.”

Since my brother recently turned ten he uses the word interesting a lot. It seems to mean many things to James, but mostly he says interesting when my mother suggests something new to do or she cooks something he’s not eaten before. Maybe James thinks the best thing to say to something new is interesting. I think it’s interesting that James does that!

“Great,” our mother replied, smiling and motioning to us to sit down. “And after we finish art, we can go in the garden and I’ll teach a P.E. lesson. Sound good, James?”

“Sounds…interesting.” This time, I agreed with James. The idea of my mother teaching P.E. definitely sounded interesting.

Our lesson began with my mother’s instructions: “While you have had to stay home and not go to school the past few weeks, many grown-ups have also had to stay home and look after their families. They have had to work from home—”

“Like you,” I said.

“Yes, Effie. Like me. But lots of other grown-ups have kept working because their jobs are essential to everyone.”

“What’s essential mean?” I asked.

“It means their jobs are very important right now to help us. Like nurses and doctors, people who sell us groceries and—”

“Football players are essential,” interrupted my brother.

“I’m sure they are essential to you because you love football, sweetheart, but essential workers are people who have jobs we cannot do without.”

“But—” James interrupted again.

My mother held up her hand in her gesture that means stop right there and don’t answer back. Then she said: “I know what you are going to say, lovely. That athletes are essential workers. I know athletes are important to you and to many people who love sports. But I’m talking about the grown-ups who go to work every day to make poorly people feel better and keep us safe and make sure we have food to eat.”

“Like your cereal, James. You have to have your cereal every morning or you’re grumpy,” I added.

James sat quietly, looking at me and my mother. Again I wondered if inside his head he was wondering if it was better to continue stating his point or simply accept that the people he thought were essential were maybe not THE MOST essential to us right now.

Or maybe James was thinking that he wanted to tell my mother to stop calling him sweetheart and lovely, as she does that a lot. A lot, a lot. But I kind of like her calling us those names. She does it because she loves us.

“I got it. Football players are not essential,” James murmured. Round two won by my mother. “But I’m still not going to paint rainbows.”

My mother continued: “One way that people are showing their support and gratitude to essential workers is by painting rainbows then putting their pictures up in their windows.”

“Like an art gallery?” I asked.

“Kind of,” my mother answered. “Just think how lovely it must be for essential workers walking or driving past homes that are showing their support. All those beautiful rainbows in windows must make them feel very happy!”

“Can I just write thank you on a paper plate?” Asked James.

“I guess you could, sweetheart.” From the corner of my eye I saw James wince. He thinks he’s too big now to be called anything other than James. Sometimes I also hear his friends call him mate. My mother would never call him mate.

“Why don’t you make a football?” I suggested. “The plate’s round anyway and then you can make a picture of something you like. You definitely don’t like rainbows.”

“That’s a great idea, Effie!” My mother agreed. “Why not make a football using rainbow colours? That would really stand out in our window.”

I wasn’t expecting my brother to make anything that morning but my football idea seemed to change his mind. James picked up a fistful of coloured markers and began colouring football designs.

I decided to paint a big rainbow. And a heart.

My mother also decorated a plate. She drew a rainbow with markers and underneath drew a picture of our family.

We all wrote Thank you! on our plates.

“Ooh!” My mother said, looking at our creations. “What a beautiful rainbow, Effie!”

It really was one of my favourite rainbow drawings ever! Red and orange, yellow and green, blue and purple…plus a giant red heart!

“And I love those shapes on your football, James. Do you know what those shapes are called?”

“Football shapes,” James replied. I don’t think he was really trying to give a correct answer because football shapes is not really a thing.

Interesting,” I said to him, smiling at my mother. James did not smile. Instead, James said to me that my rainbow was not interesting at all. I stuck my tongue out at him. He stuck his tongue back out at me.

“Alright, kids!” My mother said firmly. “This is meant to be fun! Be kind to each other. That’s what this lesson is all about. We are making these to show kindness and care to other people. So be kind and caring towards each other. Got it?”

James and I nodded.

“I really do love your football design, James,” added my mother. “Those shapes on the ball have six sides so they are called—”

“Hexagons,” answered James.

“You see—now we’re having a maths lesson!” My mother smiled and looked very happy that James and I were learning something while we were not at school. My teacher, Miss Wolf, has been sending me homework to do at home while we’re not in school and I have missed seeing Miss Wolf because she is the best teacher in the world. But today I decided my mother would be an AMAZING teacher!

“Ready to put them on show?” We nodded and each of us carried our decorated plates to the front window of our house. My mother flipped them over so the pictures faced the outside, then stuck the plates to the glass with Selotape.

The three of us stood there for a minute quietly, staring out of the window at the rainy morning.

“I don’t see anyone walking by!” I said, feeling a bit upset that no one was looking at our rainbows.

“Remember, sweetheart, that most families are staying indoors and only going out once a day for exercise. A lot of the essential workers will be working right now. But people will see our Thank you! art. When it stops raining, I’m sure we’ll see our neighbours walk by. Mrs. Wilson will walk by with her dog, because Rex needs to walk outside every day. She’ll love our rainbows.”

“And maybe we can tell our friends about our pictures,” I suggested. “Then they can stop by our house when they go out walking with their families.”

“Absolutely!” Agreed my mother.

“Can we send them messages now? I want to tell Ruby and Zara about my rainbow picture.”

“Yes, lovely. We can let Ruby and Zara know. And we can also let your friends know, James. I’m sure they’ll also think it’s—”

Interesting,” replied James.

“Right. Interesting. We can let all your friends know about rainbows. Maybe they’ve already made their own rainbows. Now, let’s clean these brushes and tidy the table then we’ll get ready for our P.E. lesson.”

I glanced at James. His face looked like he was trying to figure out what was the best answer to give my mother again: either go along with her P.E. lesson or try to talk her out of it.

“You know what? P.E. sounds great but it’s raining outside. P.E. in the rain isn’t very fun,” James answered. I think James had come up with a third answer: use the rain an excuse not to have his mother become his new P.E. teacher. “Maybe we should just go for a walk.”

I was worried that my mother would be upset by James not wanting her to teach us but my mother’s face looked happy.

“Great idea, James! Let’s put our coats on and go look at rainbows!”

James says he does not miss school but I think that morning, he would have wanted to be at school in his P.E. lesson with his friends. I don’t think James wanted to walk around in the rain, looking at rainbows. But we are a family and my mother said it was important that families stick together and be kind to each other and to other people, especially essential workers.

So we went out in the rain and looked at people’s windows.

We saw giant rainbows painted on cardboard and small rainbows coloured with crayons. Some people had taped multi-coloured letters to their windows that spelled out: T-H-A-N-K-Y-O-U-!

We even walked by one house where someone had knitted a rainbow and hung it on their door!

After a long walk, the three of us returned home and saw two familiar people standing across the road from our house. It was one of my best-friends, Zara, with her mother!

“I love your rainbow, Effie!” Shouted Zara.

I waved with both my hands. “Thank you!”

“I’m going to go home now and make rainbows, too!” Zara said, then I watched her turn and walk away with her mother. I felt sad because Zara and I can’t play together every day like we usually do. My mother says we will play together again soon but we now need to follow the rules so we stay healthy. 

“Shall we walk by Zara’s house tomorrow and see her rainbows?” My mother suggested.

“Yes! Yes, yes, yes!” I answered.

“And maybe the sun will be out tomorrow, James. Then we can have P.E. in the garden. We can run around with your new football, the one you got for your birthday.”

“Maybe…,” my brother answered. “Yeah, I guess that would be fun.”

My mother smiled and my brother smiled back. Round three to both of them.

My brother and my mother love each other. I know that. And even if they sometimes seem to have little battles, everything always works out okay.

The sounds of raindrops were growing louder under my mother’s huge umbrella. Fat blobs of water fell from the sky and I was hungry for lunch.

“Let’s go inside,” my mother suggested. We began walking towards our front door when a voice shouted over to us from across the road.

“Thank you!” 

The three of us turned around to see a man hunched in the rain. It was our postman, Mr. Jones, standing opposite from our house. He was wearing a blue cap and a red raincoat, with a large sack slung over his shoulder.

“Thank you for your rainbow pictures. They really cheered me up today!”

“You’re welcome,” my mother replied. “We are grateful for all your hard work!”

“Are you essential?” I shouted over to the man.

“I guess so,” he answered. “People still need to receive their post! And I’ve just put lots of letters through your door!”

“Oh, thank you!” I said, hoping that there was a card waiting for me from my grandparents because I had not been able to visit them for a month.

The man smiled and tipped his hat at us. “At your service, Miss Effie!” We all laughed. “Have a good day,” he said, then continued along our road in the rain, pushing letters from his heavy sack through the slots in our neighbours’ doors.

“Hot chocolates?” My mother really knew how to cheer up our days!

“Yes!” James and I said. “Yes, yes, yes!”

And that’s how I coloured my world today. 

I coloured my world in colours of the rainbow.

How did you colour your world?

Effie x

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