Don’t Burp the Baby

Don't Burp the Baby - a short story by Robert Burton Robinson on

A babysitter learns a hard lesson. (868 words)
Olivia was feeding the baby a bottle when her cell phone rang. It was Ashley, from next door. She had already ignored two calls from her.

She answered on speaker. “Hello, Ashley.”

“How dare you steal one of my customers. This is my street. You don’t come over here and take my jobs. Besides, you’re too young to be babysitting.”

“I told my dad I was old enough, and he agreed.”

“Oh, that’s right, you live with your dad. But what does he know about babies?”

“Look, I’m thirteen–”

“Since when? Yesterday?”

“Last week. Anyway, I know what I’m doing. Just because you’re a couple of years older, you think you know everything.”

“You don’t even have any brothers or sisters, do you? Have you ever even held a baby before? I can’t believe Mrs. Benson trusted you with her child.”

“Well, you live right next door to her, but she hired me instead. What does that tell you?”

After a few moments, Ashley said, “Did she tell you what happened to her last babysitter?”


“Oh, my gosh, you have no idea.”

“What do you mean?”

“She didn’t warn you about the burping?”


“Do you even know how to burp a baby?”

“Of course, I do.”



“Don’t do it. Do not burp that baby!”

“But I–”

“You better listen to me or you’re gonna be sorry.”

“But you have to burp a baby. When she’s drinking her bottle, she can get gas in her tummy and–”

“Don’t do it.”

“Ashley, I need to get off the phone. Emily’s getting fussy.”

“Are you feeding her a bottle right now?”


“Don’t burp her, Olivia–I’m warning you. Do not burp that baby!”

Olivia hung up.


Ashley was lying in bed watching TV when Olivia called her back. “Having problems?”

Olivia sounded frantic. “Ashley, you’ve gotta come over here and help me. Please. I didn’t believe you, but you were right. I burped her and she threw up all over the place and she bit my arm, and I’m bleeding and I can’t stop it and I–”

The line went dead.

Ashley jumped up, ran out of her room and down the stairs. As she flew out the front door, she heard her mother yell, “Ashley, where are you going in your pajamas?”

She ran next door to Mrs. Benson’s house and banged on the door. “Olivia! Let me in! Olivia!”

Olivia flung the door open and Ashely ran inside.

Olivia closed the door.

“Let me see your arm. Are you still bleeding?” Ashley grabbed one of Olivia’s arms, then the other, but saw no blood.


“Where’s the baby? Is she okay?”

“She’s sleeping.” Olivia laughed. “Did you really think I would believe you? That Emily had some demon inside her or something?”

“You little–”

“You just couldn’t stand it, could you? That Mrs. Benson picked me instead of you.”

Ashley smirked. “I don’t know what she was thinking. You don’t have the maturity for babysitting.”

“So, a mature person makes up a crazy story to freak out the babysitter? What if I had done something stupid and hurt Emily because of what you told me?”

“What was that noise?” Ashley asked. “Was that the baby?”

“Don’t try to scare me. It’s not working.”

“What’s going on here?” Mrs. Benson walked out of the kitchen into the living room.

Ashley realized that the noise she’d heard was Mrs. Benson parking her car in the garage.

“Ashley, what are you doing here?” Mrs. Benson asked.

“Well, I was just…”

Mrs. Benson gave Olivia a stern look. “Olivia, I was very clear that you were not allowed to have friends over, but you knew that I wasn’t supposed to be home for another hour, so you thought you could get away with it.”

“No, ma’am,” Olivia said, “and besides, Ashley’s not my friend.”

“Friends, enemies, whatever,” Mrs. Benson said. “You knew what I meant.”

“I’m sorry.” Olivia looked down.

“How did it go with Emily?” Mrs. Benson asked.

Olivia perked up. “It went great. She was perfect, and now she’s sleeping.”

“Good.” Mrs. Benson took some cash out of her purse and handed it to Olivia. “Thank you, but I won’t be using you anymore. You broke my rules, and I don’t give second chances. This is what happened with my last babysitter.”

Olivia glared at Ashley.

Ashley smiled. “Mrs. Benson, you can call me any time. I’d love to babysit Emily.”

“You’re part of the problem, Ashley, and you should certainly know better at your age. Now I want you two girls to go home and think about what you’ve learned tonight.”

Ashley and Olivia walked out together.

Mrs. Benson closed the door behind them.

Ashley said, “So, a certain young girl had to learn a hard lesson tonight.”

“Yeah, I learned that if I’m not careful, when I’m your age, I could be just as mean and stupid as you.” Olivia ran away.

Ashley ran after her. “When I catch you, I’m gonna–” Ashley stopped cold. She was in her pajamas. She turned around and headed home.

Olivia said she was mean and stupid. Was that even the tiniest bit true?

Nah. Olivia was a moron.


Copyright © 2017 Robert Burton Robinson

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