Anna Grows Up
by Melinda L

Anna was looking at herself in her bedroom mirror, when her little brother, Matt, entered. "What are you looking at?" he asked.

Anna replied: "I think I just got taller, Matt."

"Really? Right now?" Her five year old brother said, eyes widening.

Anna nodded. "Ever since this morning, at least." she said, holding her sore finger, which she had pinched in her desk drawer earlier that morning, "When I put this dress on it was hanging right to my ankles. Now look at it! It's at least an inch shorter!"

Matt's eyes widened fully, and he put a finger into his mouth. "Maybe we should go tell Mommy?" he suggested.

"Good idea!" Anna shrugged at her reflection in the mirror and followed Matt downstairs.

On the way they met Grandmother, who lived with them. "Happy birthday, dear" she said. Today was Anna's 11th birthday. Grandmother smiled and fondly pinched Anna's cheek. Suddenly Anna's dress seemed tighter, and her shoes crowded her feet. Looking down she noticed her dress was now at mid-calf. She gasped and quickly hurried again to find mother. Mother was not inside.

"Let's look outside," Mathew suggested. He raced out the back door, accidentally slamming in on Anna's finger.

"Ouch!" she cried as her finger got pinched in the doorjamb. Suddenly a button popped off her dress, and she felt her dress get even tighter. "Oh no!" Anna moaned. "I keep growing and growing!" She took off her shoes, which were now much too small, and continued her frantic search for Mother.

Unfortunately, though, it was just the beginning of spring and Anna's feet were still tender from not running around barefoot for so long. "Ouch!" she yelped as the rough ground beneath her tender feet pinched her. She suddenly felt taller and looked down in horror to see her dress was now just a little below her knees!

She finally found Matt and Mother in the cellar. Before Anna could say anything her Mom spoke, "Anna," could you get that jar of preserves on the top shelf for me? I can't seem to reach it."

Never before had Anna been able to reach something Mother couldn't, but she was able to easily fetch the jar for her.

"Thank you," said Mother, turning to make her way up the cellar stairs.

"Mother!" Anna frantically called after her, alarmed that her mother did not notice her increased height.

Mother turned, a questioning look in her eye, "Yes, Anna? Is there something the matter?"

"Don't you notice anything different with me? Don't you see that I am so much taller?"

Mother laughed pleasantly, "You are growing all the time, that is nothing new, sweety!"

"But…" Anna began.

"No but's," Mother stopped her, "come, help me fix dinner."

Being so much taller and bigger, Anna found there was so much more of herself to move around, resulting in her being very clumsy. During the dinner making process, she managed to pinch herself quite a few more times, which in turn, to Anna's horror, made her grow nearly a foot more! In fact, by the time her father came home, she was his height--six feet! She was now wearing one of Mother's dresses, but even that was too small.

"Daddy!" Anna ran to meet him, hoping he would notice her towering height, which Mother still failed to see as abnormal.

"Hi, birthday girl!" He hugged her hello. "You sure have grown tall, it seems like just yesterday when you were just this high." He measured with his hand.

"I was that tall yesterday!" Anna cried.

Her father chuckled and said, "It just seems that way. Here let me give you a birthday pinch to help you grow an inch!" He reached towards Anna to give her the traditional birthday treatment. Anna's eyes widened and she opened her mouth and screamed…

"NOOOOOO!!!" She sat bolt upright in bed. Where was she? Morning sunlight streamed in through a window. She realized she was in her own bed in her own room. She must have only dreamed that she was so tall, because now she was at her normal height. "That was horrid dream!" Anna said to herself.

After putting on the same dress she had worn in her dream (which now fit as it should, of course), and fixing her bed, she started to make her way downstairs to see if Mother needed help making breakfast. At the bottom of the stairs Anna met Grandmother.

"Happy Birthday, Anna," Grandmother hugged her. Today was really Anna's 11th birthday. "My, my," Grandmother said, holding Anna at arms length, "You are growing so tall! Soon you will be as tall as your father!" She playfully said.

Anna gasped and ran back upstairs, relieved, upon examining her height in her mirror, that she was still her normal size. As Anna was looking at herself in her bedroom mirror, her brother Matt entered, "What are you looking at?" he asked.

"Nothing," Anna quickly said, not wanting to explain her weird dream.

"Have you seen my box of crayons?" Matthew asked.

"Yes, you left them in my room yesterday, so I put them in my desk drawer," she answered, crossing her room to her desk. Anna opened the desk drawer and handed Matt his crayons. Anna's finger was in the way when she shut the drawer, and she accidentally pinched it!

"Ouch!" she cried. Suddenly her dress started to feel snug and she looked down, aghast to find that her dress was at least two inches shorter! "Oh, dear!" She gasped, "Am I having a dream within a dream?" Anna went right over to her bed and climbed in, shoes and all. She went to sleep right away, hoping that when she woke up, it would be for real this time. Or was none of this a dream at all? She would have to find out tomorrow...