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Six-year-old Harry looks forward to having a new ...
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Six-year-old Harry looks forward to having a new baby brother, but after his arrival, Harry discovers that he is glad to have his two older sisters around.
Harry knew in his heart that his mother was having a baby boy instead of a baby girl. She just had to. After all, the family would be lopsided if Mrs. Kane had a girl. Harry already had two older sisters, Chloe and Dorothy, and two was enough. One more annoying sister combing her hair in the bathroom or putting her Feed Me Baby right next to him at the kitchen table with pink stuff dribbling down her mouth would be more than he could stand.
Ever since the Kane family had moved from an apartment to a house, which meant that he no longer shared a room with his sister Dorothy, he had been lonely. And when his pet turtle, Personality, had escaped from his tank and ended up a shriveled shell in the dryer, Harry was even lonelier. A new baby meant that Harry was no longer going to be alone. But it also meant that he would no longer be the baby in the family. So in the beginning, Harry had boycotted the baby. He didn't talk about it or think about it. That is, until he figured out with his own special scientific theory that the baby was going to be a boy. A boy baby might be fun. And Harry had some boy tricks up his sleeve that only a baby brother would understand.
Early in December, when the telephone rang, Harry picked it up on the second ring and said, "Hello, who is it?" without waiting for the person on the other end of the line to speak. He leaned across his sister Chloe, flapping the telephone wire annoyingly across her cheek while she tried to work on her homework at the kitchen table.
"You're choking me with that cord," complained Chloe, pulling the curlicued wire away fromher.
"Who is it, Harry?" his mother called from the living room.
"It's Dr. Shapiro," said Harry, jiggling the telephone cord so that it danced on top of Chloe's head.
"He's bothering me with the phone," shouted Chloe.
"He's bothering her with the phone," repeated Dorothy, who was sitting across from her sister drinking a glass of chocolate milk.
"What are you, an echo?" said Harry, holding out the receiver to his mother and thinking that if he had a brother, a brother would surely understand that tapping a springy wire on top of someone's head was a form of making music, not grounds for tattling.
"Wait for the person to answer before you ask who it is, "' said Mrs. Kane, pushing herself off the couch. "And stop torturing your sister."
"My mother's having a baby." Harry spoke into the telephone before his mother could reach him.
"He knows that, " said Chloe. "He's her baby doctor."
"Shush, " said Mrs. Kane as she took the receiver. "Hello, Dr. Shapiro." She listened, looking very serious for a moment, and then she smiled. "I see. Wonderful. Terrific."
"What?" said Harry, tugging on his mother's sleeve. "The baby is coming?"
Mrs. Kane cupped her hand over the receiver. "The test says that the baby is definitely a boy," she whispered. "Thank you, Doctor," she spoke into the telephone, but before she could hang up, Harry grabbed it.
"Dr. Shapiro?" said Harry. "It's Harry, the baby's big brother who happens to be a scientist. I knew it was a boy already."
Harry listened intently. Then he beamed and said, "Because her tummy looks just like a basketball. And I love watching basketball, and playing basketball, and so does my father, and he's a boy and I'm a boy, so it has to be a boy. Good-bye." Harry hung up the telephone.
"It's polite to say good-bye and wait for an answer, " said Mrs. Kane. "And it's not polite to grab the phone from someone."
"Sorry," said Harry. "But I thought he'd like to know my scientific theory, so other families could find out if it was a boy or a girl."
Mrs. Kane laughed. "What did the doctor say about your theory?" she said.
Harry waved a hand through the air and said, "Doctors don't know everything."
"What did he say?" said Chloe, putting down her pencil.
"He said that girls like basketball, too."
"He's right," said Mrs. Kane.
"I'm more right," said Harry, grabbing an apple from a basket on the table, "because in our family, girls don't much like basketball."
"I knew Mom was having a boy before anybody," said Chloe. "Because we found out when I went with her to get her test at the hospital."
"My amniocentesis," said Mrs. Kane. "When you finish that apple, put the apple core in the garbage can."
Harry took a big bite and patted his mother's stomach. "Hello, Mr. Basketball," he said. "Harry the Scientist knew you were a boy baby before anybody." He raced into the living room and twirled in his socks like a hockey player on ice.
"I'm going to keep the apple core for an experiment!" Harry shouted from the other room.
His mother sighed. Chloe and Dorothy joined her. "What kind of experiment?" called Mrs. Kane wearily.
Harry popped his head around the comer. "A compost heap," he said. "I could put the old food into Personality's old turtle tank and let it rot, and then we could use it to make the soil richer in the garden and for our plants, too."
Chloe sounded like her mother. "Just what we need., " she said. "An experiment in stinkiness."
"An experiment in grossness," added Dorothy, rolling her eyes.
"Then I'll do it in the back of the garden," said Harry, grabbing his jacket and running into the bedroom. "I have my tank, I have my apple core. I'm in business," he announced gleefully as he staggered out of the room carrying a heavy glass tank.
Mrs. Kane sat back in her chair and reached for
an apple. She bit into it. "There," she said. "A few more bites and I'll have some more scientific material for Professor Harry Albert Einstein's experiment."