Chapter 1 timing: 15 minutes
Post 1: Adoption Day
Do you know what February 14th is? I mean…besides a day when grownups get all mushy, pink and red hearts cover everything from socks to coffee mugs, and a friendly bear is sure to get his fair share of heart-shaped candies if he is well-behaved and super nice to his humans…
Well, February 14th also happens to be the greatest day of all (at least, according to Flapjax). February 14th…is Flapjax’s Adoption Day!
Adoption Days are a pretty big deal for stuffed bears. You see, every other day of the year, we humans tend to be the main focus. (We’re a bit selfish that way.) And while Flapjax loved his human family – especially his best friend in the entire world, Libby – he was always ready to be the center of attention.
And this year was going to be the greatest year of all if Flapjax had anything to do with it.
Ever since Christmas, when the excitement of new toys and holiday-themed treats had calmed down, Flapjax had been preparing Libby for the next big event.
Now, Flapjax was not shy, at least not when it came to making sure Libby knew exactly what he wanted for his big day. Weeks before, Flapjax devised his plan.
First, Dad would cook them pancakes for breakfast, in honor of Flapjax of course. He was the best at it, and if it was a special day, he’d even make them bear-shaped! And the pancakes would be smothered in blueberries. And whipped cream! And sprinkles…the rainbow kind. He would open hundreds of presents from his family, and then he and Libby would spend all morning playing with them. For lunch, they’d have ice cream sundaes, also with rainbow sprinkles of course. Then they’d build a giant fort out of furniture and blankets and all of the pillows they could find, and once they were done with construction, they’d spend all afternoon playing Star Wars in their newly build fabric version of the Millennium Falcon. And watching Star Wars! And The Jungle Book! And maybe Zootopia, if they had time. And dinner would be homemade cookies stuffed with rainbow sprinkles. And to finish off the day, Mom would read to them from his very favorite book in the entire world – The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. He would fall asleep dreaming of adventures in Narnia with Libby, Mr. Tumnus, and the Pevensie gang…
He couldn’t wait until February 14th !
Post 2: Flapjax to the Rescue
As January turned into February, Flapjax got more and more excited. He woke up every single morning, jumping up and down on a very sleepy Libby until she gave in and told him how many days were left until the 14th. She even pinned a calendar to her wall and circled Flapjax’s Adoption Day in a thick red marker so that he could cross each day off and watch as they got closer and closer to the big day.
But when Flapjax awoke on the 14th so excited he could hardly breathe and pounced on Libby to make her celebrate with him, Libby just let out a whimper and started coughing. And coughing. And coughing…
Flapjax’s brows wrinkled with worry. He peeked over Libby’s shoulders as she coughed, and when she grabbed him to cuddle, he squirmed to get out of her arms. Her nose was all runny, and a runny nose had to be kept far away from fur – Flapjax knew from experience that fur was a rather tempting tissue substitute.
He scrambled over Libby and hopped out of bed as his best friend let out a hacking cough behind him. Flapjax gave Libby a quick look back as he ran from the room and shimmied down the long set of stairs to find his human parents.
The grownups were reading the newspaper in the breakfast room and drinking steaming hot coffee. Gross.
But Flapjax ignored all of that. Instead, he ran up onto Dad’s lap, causing him to spill his hot coffee all over his fancy work suit. Dad shouted and quickly jumped up to get the hot liquid off of him, causing Flapjax to belly-flop to the floor in a puddle of warm coffee. Splat! Flapjax shook off his fur then scampered quickly over to Mom, avoiding Dad’s large, angry, stomping feet. Flapjax tugged at her robe until she bent down to pick him up.
“Flapjax! What are you doing down there?” she asked, looking curiously at Flapjax and wiping off a few drops of coffee that had landed on his nose. Flapjax wished desperately that he could speak to humans. He sighed, frustrated, and tried to tell her telepathically that she needed to go upstairs to help Libby.
But instead of going upstairs, she simply plopped Flapjax on the bottom step and walked back into the kitchen, grabbing paper towels to clean up the spill.
Flapjax stared after her. He was mad and worried and for the first time ever wished he was human instead of stuffed. No one took a stuffed bear seriously.
How could he help his best friend if no one would listen to him?
Flapjax sat on the step and thought. He sat long and thought hard until he came up with a new Adoption Day plan. A rescue plan.
First, he needed supplies. Real tissues, juice, medicine…he knew where to find it all, but getting it was going to be the real problem. After all, he was a very small bear.
He knew where the grownups kept the medicine – it was in a cabinet way up high. He wasn’t supposed to touch the medicine, and he knew he would never be able to open the bottle – paws are no match for those tricky lids – but if he could just get the bottle out, Mom would know what to do.
Flapjax ran back to the kitchen and pulled himself up onto the first shelf of the pantry. He had scaled his way up and across the boxes of cereal and cans of soup. He just had to make one big leap to land on the counter below the medicine cabinet, and he was home free.
He eyed his landing zone and took a deep breath as he held tight to the knob on the pantry door. One…two…and then without warning, the stack of soup cans holding him up began to shift and wobble. It happened quickly – Flapjax was flying through the air before he had time to think, hanging onto the doorknob for dear life. All of a sudden, the door banged into the cabinet, and Flapjax lost his grip on the knob. He sailed through the air, screaming and flapping his arms unhelpfully, before landing on the counter with a plop.
He looked around sheepishly. Phew, no one had seen (or heard) him.
Flapjax rubbed his bruised behind and shook off his misfortune. He had to focus on the task at hand!
He rummaged through the many bottles – orange and white, blue and pink, red and yellow. He found the necessary purple bottle in the back (he knew the one well, yuck) and wrapped his paw around it before jumping back down to the floor…success!
Next up, orange juice.
The juice was in the fridge of course, but much like the icky, syrupy medicine, the fridge was protected from Flapjax and Libby shenanigans with what the grownups called a “child lock”. And if a child with 10 fingers and several more inches of height than Flapjax couldn’t open the door, he had no shot. But he did have a plan…
He slipped over to the drawer with all of the baking tools and rummaged through the measuring cups and cheese graters until he found a long, wooden spoon. He snatched it up and ran as lightly as he could to hide beneath a barstool. From there, he had an excellent view to watch for openings.
After just a few minutes, Mom padded over in her fluffy pink slippers, humming softly to herself as she opened the door and reached for the orange juice. Flapjax started to inch out, waiting until she had put the juice back in the fridge – on the bottom shelf, at bear-height! – and walked back to her breakfast and newspaper, humming loud enough to not notice the soft bang of the refrigerator door as it hit the wooden spoon.
Flapjax grinned and grabbed the juice, hurrying out of the kitchen.
Tissues. He searched around the living room and spotted the blue cardboard box with tissues peeking out of the top. It was on a table with the telephone and a big lamp covered in colorful glass patterns. But it was a bit high up on that table…
It was a good thing Flapjax was a champion furniture climber. Really. They had thrown a Furniture Olympics last summer, and he had been champion of the Volcano Games, where you couldn’t touch the ground because it was covered in hot lava, so you had to jump and climb from one piece of furniture to another until you made it through each room.
And he was ready to use those skills now.
He grasped a couch cushion and inched his way up until he could run across the back like a balance beam. When he got to the end, he leaped across to the box of tissues. Unfortunately, the phone, the tissue box, the glass lamp, and a plump Flapjax could not all fit on the tiny table at the same time. As Flapjax landed, he bumped the lamp. Before he could reach out to catch it, the lamp fell to the floor, crashing into hundreds of pretty reds and blues and greens and yellows on the floor.
Flapjax stared down at the sharp, glittery mess, frozen in panic. Boyyyy was he going to be in some serious trouble…
But then he heard Libby cough again, and knew he had to keep going.
The only thing between Flapjax and Libby now was a flight of stairs. Flapjax looked up at his Everest and gulped, preparing for the climb.
Post 3: Flapjax’s Valentine
The sun was just peeking out above the trees as Flapjax started his climb.
He sniffed. Something smelled scrumptious – something cinnamon-sugary. Mom must be baking! But he couldn’t stop now, not even for treats. He had to get to Libby.
Flapjax couldn’t carry everything – plus himself – up the stairs…not with just two paws. So he heaved the juice up over his head until it hit the step, and then he pushed. And he said a silent prayer of thanks that the lid had been on as he heard the sloshing liquid inside.
Then he tossed up the tissue box, the purple medicine bottle, and finally, with a bit more of an effort, he pulled himself up. He was already so exhausted!
One step down…many, many more to go! But at least now he knew how to do it.
Step by step, Flapjax threw his remedies up to the next one and then jumped, grasping the shaggy carpet and pulling himself up.
After what seemed like ages, Flapjax found himself on the landing in between the floors, panting from the effort. He was halfway there! He looked back down to the bottom of the steps and grinned a huge grin. He was tired, but he was also excited. Libby was going to be so proud of him!
Flapjax began his climb again, this time in a hurry.
Orange juice, up! Tissue box, up! Medicine bottle, up! Flapjax, up!
He was on a roll…
But then it happened. Disaster.
Flapjax was mid-push when he felt the orange juice container tip. Suddenly, the juice fell with a heavy thud and the lid exploded open in a sticky, orange gush.
With a shriek, Flapjax launched himself up to the step and pulled the container back to a standing position, but not before most of the juice had spilled out down the steps like a big orange waterfall.
Flapjax shook the container, hoping there was enough left for Libby.
He ignored the mess behind him and the punishment that was sure to come and instead focus on climbing the last two steps to get to his best friend.
Libby was curled up in a ball under a pile of blankets. She sneezed and wondered where Flapjax could be as she wiped her nose on her sleeve. She would search for him later, she thought as she coughed for the billionth time that morning and turned over with a grunt.
And then she gasped. Flapjax’s face popped up on the side of her bed. A big, triumphant grin covered his face.
Libby grabbed him in both arms and held him up in front of her.
“Where have you been, Flapjax?” she asked nasally, frowning at him.
Flapjax squirmed until she set him down, and then he leaned over the edge of the bed to grab his supplies.
At that very moment, Mom walked in the room with her scolding face on, hands on her hips. She had most definitely seen the mess Flapjax had left on his way to the rescue.
He prepared for punishment.
But she took one look at Libby and felt her forehead, and her anger disappeared.
“I don’t feel good,” Libby whimpered.
Flapjax had his paw around the top of the orange juice container and began to tug. His tail twitched with the effort.
“What’s this?” Mom asked as she bent down to pick up the supplies Flapjax had spent ALL MORNING getting up the stairs.
Flapjax frowned. Mom was going to get all the credit! But she just looked down at Flapjax and smiled.
“Libby, I think someone is looking out for you,” she said, patting Flapjax on the head.
Libby smiled through her sniffles. “He always does,” she said, picking him up and giving him a big bear hug, burying her face in his fur. But Flapjax didn’t mind – in fact, he kind of liked that there was a tissue box right next to her, but Libby chose him instead.
“Mama, I know it’s just breakfast time, but can we have ice cream?” Libby asked, cuddling Flapjax close.
“Well, since it’s Flapjax’s big day, I think that would be okay. As long as you take all the medicine first,” Mom said with a wink as she handed Libby a tiny, Flapjax-sized cup of the purple liquid. Libby finished it in a gulp then stuck out her tongue.
“Yuuuuck,” she coughed.
“Okay, ice cream on the way!”
Flapjax looked hopefully at Libby.
“With rainbow sprinkles? Please!” She called out, smiling at him. “Happy Adoption Day, Flapjax,” she said, hugging him tight.
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