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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Achievement (03/08/12)

TITLE: Try. Fail. Repeat.
By Joanne Sher


“I'm so proud of you.”

I pursed my lips and sighed, dropping my gaze. I wouldn't look at her – not after she had complimented my rival. I wouldn't see her smile or the encouraging glow in her eyes. I wouldn't watch the way she treated him. I had tried it too – but I had failed. Matthew Nathaniel Smith had blown it. And I'd been working at it longer than Andrew.

Most of all, I wouldn't watch Andrew gloat.

There was only one solution: I needed to try again. And again. And again.

I wouldn't surrender until I had accomplished it. And I wouldn't let them see me fail even one more time.

I crept off into the other room, pushing the door closed with my foot. Silence, except for the thump of my heart.

I had watched others do it over and over. It wasn't impossible. I'd never read a book or taken a class, but, then again, neither had Andrew. At least, I never saw him study.

Practice? Absolutely. Over and over. Just as I had. Only one difference: Andrew succeeded. I didn't.

Well, I was done falling on my face. He wouldn't be the only one rewarded for his efforts. I'd stay in this room until I could do it too.

I tried once. Twice. Three times. Failure. Fists clenched and arms crossed, I sat. This wasn't working.

Inhaling deeply, I focused my mind on the task. What had he done that I hadn't? Why had he succeeded while I failed?

My eyelids squeezed shut, I reviewed my memory of his most recent performance. Examined each part of his body in turn, from the soles of his chubby feet to the tip of his bald head. There had to be something.

Didn't there?

But I wasn't seeing it. I leaned against the wall, rubbing my tongue across my gumline (it helped me think.). Was it Andrew's confidence? His stance? His focus?

And as I looked down at my hand, it all sharpened for me – like a blurry image just coming into focus.

I rose to my full height, rested my hand on the couch arm beside me, and put one foot in front of the other. And again. And once more. Then, with a deep breath, I let go and took one more step.

And I didn't fall. So I kept doing it. My smile widened, and my fingertips danced in the air. And I giggled. Boy, did I giggle. Even when I found myself back on the floor, my diapered rear kissing the carpet, the laughter didn't stop.

“Ma! Ma!” I screamed once the words could escape my lips.



“Poor boy. Are you trapped in there?”


I scooted back to the couch, pulled myself up again, and watched until her face peeked through the doorway. As soon as she saw me, I repeated my performance. Without an error – straight to her pantleg.

She lifted me, swinging me up into her embrace. “Oh Matty! Look at you. Such a big boy – just like your brother. I'm so proud of you.”

As I glanced over her shoulder, Andrew crawled by with that pick-me-up-too-mommy look.

I hugged mama tighter, and stuck out my tongue. Victory.

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This article has been read 1063 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 03/15/12
Oh this was so clever and such a fun read. I clearly was right there in MC's thought process. I loved it.

Good job. Thank you.

God Bless~
Allison Egley 03/16/12
Hehehe Oh, this is great! I actually wrote a similar story for the challenge a few years ago, so I can't say I was surprised by the ending (knew about half way in) but then, what can I say? Great minds think alike, right? ;-)
Yvonne Blake 03/16/12
Love it! I didn't "get it" until the diaper. Great writing!
Catrina Bradley 03/16/12
I love it! Especially when he achieved success - I could picture his fingers dancing. What fun, and what an important achievement.
Sharon Eastman03/17/12
With a new group of babies in the clan, I can really identify with this. I liked the suspense until the diaper line. Then I laughed. I really enjoyed this.
annie keys03/17/12
Bahahhahaha! What a delightful piece! Loved it! I suspected, as I read, what direction your were going in, but didn't really catch on until the 'diaper' showed up.

Loved this piece; well done! You made my heart smile!
Verna Cole Mitchell 03/17/12
Delightful piece! I didn't catch on right away--what can I say?--I'm a bit slow. So when the "light dawned," I got a big laugh. Great storytelling!
Glynis Becker03/17/12
Love the perspective of this piece. So delightful and well-executed. Great job!
Amanda Brogan03/17/12
So cute! This had me guessing all the way up to the diaper part as well. :) This will be a winner for sure!
Seema Bagai 03/19/12
Very cute. Good choice of details--the bald head and chubby feet. Great idea.
Sarah Elisabeth 03/20/12
haha, too cute! You had me, didn't see the end coming until his little diapered rear end :-)
Kathleen Langridge03/20/12
So very creative. Had me going especially with the bald head and chubby feet. The diaper brought the light just as it did for so many others. Excellent.
Laura Manley03/21/12
This was absolutely adoreable! It took me a while to catch on. I like your technique in keeping the reader hooked until the revealing of what's really going on! Lovely story!
C D Swanson 03/22/12
A hearty Congratulations!
God Bless you~
Sarah Elisabeth 03/22/12
WHOOOOOOHOOOOOO JOANNE!!! Congrats on your EC!!!
Verna Cole Mitchell 03/22/12
Another WoooooooooHoooooooooo, Jo, here for a well-deserved placing with this really delightful piece!
Dannie Hawley 03/22/12
So sweet! I knew when the MC got to the furniture arm that it was a baby, if it wasn't an incredibly short adult, ha! Super job hooking and reeling us in. Congrats on the win!
Carol Penhorwood 03/22/12
What can I say that hasn't already been said? I loved it!
annie keys03/22/12
Congratulations! Well done!
Amanda Brogan03/22/12
YAY JOANNE! Big congrats on your EC! Told you this would be a winner. ;)
Beth LaBuff 03/22/12
This has everything--charm, suspense, a touch of humor, and an a-ha moment! You exhibit fantastic skill with this. Super work! I LOVE THIS! JJJJJoooooooooooooaaaaannnnnnnnnnneeeeeeee! Woo woo!!!!!!!!
Laury Hubrich 03/22/12
Very cute entry:) Nice job, Jo! Congratulations!!!
Linda Goergen03/22/12
Congratulations! What a fun read! Clever POV...so well done! Applause!
Nancy Bucca03/22/12
Aw, what a priceless story! Congrats on the EC.
Donna Wilcher03/23/12
This kept me guessing right until the end...Loved it!
Sherrie Coronas03/23/12
Ah. So clever. I was guessing and guessing. Loved the surprise. Congratulations!
Suzanne R09/10/12
Fun! I puzzled over the plot - you drew me in well and truly - and laughed when it all became clear. Excellent writing. Lots of fun to read.
Jacob Gibson09/30/14
Helloooo again! Time for another critique to repay you for the one you gave me. (Wild Rollercoaster) All I have to say for this one is that it had me grinning at the end. You honestly kept me guessing until the diaper part. Actually, that's my only suggestion for this. Don't mention the diaper at all: let the reader figure it out as soon as the baby says "Ma ma!" In my mind that would make it even funnier. Just a suggestion. God bless!