Seeing a frog in the yard today made me think back to years ago when Stephanie and Jonathan were kids. Jonathan had a bad habit of tattling, and he and Stephanie like all brothers and sisters complained about each other a lot when they were growing up.      

I remember that one day when Jonathan yelled. "Stephanie, Momma said she's waiting on you to dry the dishes."

Stephanie climbed down from the fence grumbling as she pushed the toe of her scuffed up shoe in the dust. She complained about not liking to dry dishes. She added that she didn't like to do any kind of chores. She said she just wanted to watch the white and brown spotted horse that belonged to our next door neighbor.

"Momma said," Stephanie muttered. "That's all I ever hear is Momma said."

"I'm going to tell Momma," Jonathan shouted, grinning showing his two upper front teeth were missing. "She'll make you wash and dry the dishes next time."

"Tattletale," Stephanie yelled. "If you tell Momma I'll put a frog down your shirt."

"You better not put a frog down my shirt," Jonathan shouted. "I'll tell Daddy if you do."

"You tattle everything," Stephanie said, her dark blue eyes sparkling with anger. "You better keep quite or you might find a frog on your pillow tonight."

"Momma, Momma," Jonathan screeched, running up the steps. "Stephanie said she was going to put a frog in my bed."

"Stephanie," I said, “Why do you have to tantalize your brother?” You know he's afraid of frogs."

"Sorry, Momma," Stephanie muttered. "I better dry the dishes."

Jonathan didn't say anymore about Stephanie not wanting to do her chores, but the minute his dad came in from work he tattled everything.

"Stephanie," her dad said. "You can't watch the horse for two weeks since you were complaining about doing your chores."

That night when Jonathan went to bed he let out a yell that could be heard all over the house.

"Stephanie put a frog in my bed," Jonathan sobbed. "She told me she was going to."

"Stephanie," her dad said. "Would you please come out here?”

"Yes, Daddy," Stephanie said, coming out of her bedroom. "I'm sorry I put the frog in Jonathan's bed."

"You're always sorry," her dad said. "Why do you pick on your brother"?

"I don't know," Stephanie said, hanging her head not looking at her dad.

"Yes, I do," she said in the next breath. "He's a tattletale. He just tells things to get me into trouble."

"Is that true, Jonathan?" His dad asked. "Do you tell things to get your sister in trouble?"

"Yes, sir," Jonathan muttered. "It's fun watching when Stephanie gets into trouble."

"It isn't nice to try and get anyone in trouble, Jonathan," his dad said sternly. "Since Stephanie can't visit with the horse for two weeks. I think it's only fair that you're grounded and can't visit your friend Michael for the same length of time. It's time we all get some rest, good night children."

"Jonathan, I'm sorry I scared you with the frog," Stephanie said. I shouldn't have said anything about doing my chores. I can't watch the horse for two weeks because of my complaining."

"I can't talk to Michael for two whole weeks for tattling," Jonathan said. "I don't think it's fun getting you into trouble anymore."

"If you'll stop tattling all the time I won't ever put another frog in your bed," Stephanie said. "Is it a deal, Jonathan?”

"It's a deal," Jonathan said. "I won't tattle anymore."

Today Stephanie and Jonathan are real close and both think the frog incident as being very funny.

Copyright © 1990  Jo Ann Lovelace. All Rights Reserved.