Princess Practice
written by Sugarberry

"Have a fun time!" Springtime called as she waved one last time before leaving the house. Today was the day of the big spring fashion show and luncheon sponsored by Fifi's Perm Shoppe, Lemon Treat's Boutique, and Creamsicle's Emporium. Springtime had a tough time finding a foalsitter so that she could attend, but had finally been given a hint by the princesses: Ask the Bushwoolies for help! And Chumster, Wishful, and Hugster had been willing to accommodate her need for sitters for her twins, Baby Springtime and Baby Melonball.

The Bushwoolies had arrived on time, and were instructed on necessary matters that might need attention in the two hours that Springtime planned to be gone. The twins had seemed quiet and almost timid while their mother was showing the Bushwoolies around; but once the door closed behind her, things changed.

Baby Springtime and Baby Melonball had been born with the royal symbols: sparkly hair and a medallion on their rumps. This meant that at age eighteen, they would officially join the ranks of royalty at the Royal Paradise. This claim to fame had not affected Baby Melonball in the least, but his sister had soon learned and made the most of the fact that she was special and would one day be a princess, if not a queen. It didn't help that Princess Tiffany often visited the future princess, and filled her head with noble ideals.

Seeing this time with the Bushwoolies as a grand opportunity, Baby Springtime let them know immediately who was boss.

"Me da princess!" she declared, standing as regally as possible in the center of the living room. "Me need throne."

As the Bushwoolies assisted the adult princesses around the Royal Paradise, they saw no problem in helping the baby princess as well. Obeying orders came as second nature to them. Besides, they liked to be active.

"Throne, yeah!" Chumster agreed, looking at the possibilities available.

"This work!" Wishful decided, descending on an autume-gold wing chair in the corner.

Hugster, Chumster, and Wishful put their joint effort into moving the chair to the center of the room.

"Throne, throne," they chattered, and Hugster helped the little princess up into it.

Baby Melonball, in the meantime, had meandered off to the kitchen where he sized-up the feasibility of reaching the cookie jar on the counter. His planning was cut short, however, as his sister's voice rang out, "Baby Melonball, where are you?"

Baby Melonball returned to the living room where his sister sat enthroned. "What you want?"

"You must bow," she curtly informed him.

Now Baby Melonball was not too caught-up in his future as a prince, but he was aware of the fact that he was his sister's equal. "Me no need to," he stubbornly responded.

Baby Springtime was temporarily indignant. "To the dungeon!" she decided, and pointed to his bedroom door. Hugster and Wishful began escorting him back, but Baby Melonball rebelled. "You no can do dat," he charged his sister. "Me a prince!"

Tiffany's royalty sessions with Baby Springtime had always downplayed the role of the prince, which was fine with Baby Melonball as he'd rather be building castles out of blocks than learning proper etiquette at the royal table. But it irked him now to have his sister lording it over him in front of the Bushwoolies.

He turned to the Bushwoolies. "Me a prince!" he repeated, drawing himself up to look more impressive and pointed to his symbol. "Me want throne, too!"

The Bushwoolies looked at one another, shrugged their wooly shoulders, and being accommodating creatures, they energetically set about moving a second chair to the center of the room next to Baby Springtime who sniffed and stuck her nose up in the air as she had often seen Princess Tiffany do. Baby Melongball crawled up into his throne with a grunt of satisfaction.

Not to be outdone, Baby Springtime called the Bushwoolies before her. "Me need jewels to wear."

This request stumped the Bushwoolies, but the little filly knew what she wanted. "Mommy's jewelry box," she counseled, again pointing down the hallway.

"Jewels, jewels, yeah, yeah, got to get the jewels."

With the exuberance of their kind, the Bushwoolies were soon back with the wooden box, which they placed on an end table. Opening the box, Chumster withdrew a single strand of milky-white pearls. "Pretty, yeah!" he observed as Wishful took it from him.

He carried it to Baby Springtime. "Pearls pretty," he commented as Hugster draped the pearls around her neck.

"Yeah, yeah!"

Baby Springtime frowned. "Princess Tiffany says diamonds best."

The Bushwoolies were quiet for a moment; there were no diamonds in Springtime's jewelry wardrobe. It was Baby Melonball who came to the rescue.

"Glitter on table," he declared as he scooted off his throne; he headed for the kitchen where some craft supplies were sitting on the table from an Easter project Springtime and the foals were working on. Grabbing the silver glitter and the glue, Baby Melonball returned to his sister. "Glue glitter on,' he said, pointing to her pearls.

"Yes!" she happily replied. "Buss-woolies help?" she lisped with an uncoordinated batting of her eyelashes. (That Tiffany!)

"Glue! Glue! Glitter! Glitter! Diamonds! Diamonds!" the Bushwoolies chorused. Hugster removed the pearls from around Baby Springtime's neck, Chumster smeared glue over them, and Hugster sprinkled glitter on top of the sticky orbs. They were a blur of constant motion.

"Glue wet," Chumster realized as drops of glue clung to his fur. He draped the necklace over the jewelry case to dry, and turned back to the other two Bushwoolies. Hugster immediately sprinkled silver glitter on Chumster's gluey fur, creating a rather snazzy-looking Bushwoolie.

Baby Springtime squealed in delight and clapped her hooves. "Sparkly Buss-woolie royalty, too!"

Not to be left out of the promotion, Hugster put glue on his fur and Chumster did the sparkle dusting. Then Chumster got the glue and glitter routine done on himself. "Neat, yeah," he grinned.

"Sparkle, sparkle!" the Bushwoolies sang as they bounced around the room.

By this time, Baby Melonball was hungry. "Me hung-gwee," he called out, but between the Bushwoolies' singing and Baby Springtime's squealing, he couldn't be heard.

"Me weally hung-gwee!" he tried again with no better luck.

Stomping across the room, he grabbed a golden hand-bell with a wooden handle; it rested on a shelf near his mother's reading chair. He swung the bell as mightily as he could, simultaneously calling, "TWIME OWT!"

It was a tactic his mom used when the twins were out of control. And it was successful at quieting the quartet of noisemakers. "Me hung-gwee," he stated again when all eyes were on him.

"Yeah, yeah, hungry," Chumster nodded knowingly. Food was never far from a Bushwoolie's thoughts.

"Food, yeah, food," Wishful agreed.

"Eat, yeah, yeah," Hugster assented.

"Cookies and milk," demurely ordered Baby Springtime as she regained her princessly composure on her throne. Baby Melonball returned to his as well.

The Bushwoolies sparkled their way out to the kitchen, and using the chairs, accessed the cookie jar on the counter. Chumster opened the lid. "Oh-oh, empty."

Wishful looked in, too. "Yeah, yeah, empty."

Making sure that nothing was overlooked, Hugster peered in as well. "Yep. All gone."

Hurrying back to inform the prince and princess of this catastrophe, the Bushwoolies then awaited further instructions.

Baby Springtime donned a pouty face, and Baby Melonball looked near tears. "No cookies?" he asked.

"Nope, nope," Wishful verified.

But from her throne, the princess had an idea. "Buss-woolies bake!" She slid off her throne, followed by a revitalized prince. They led the way back to the kitchen, and Baby Springtime pulled open the door where her mom's recipe file was stored.

"Recipe, yeah, cookies," exclaimed Hugster, rifling through the cards and coming up with a handful of cookie recipes.

Chumster scratched his head. "Which recipe, yeah?"

Hugster held up a card. "Peanut butter, yeah, good, good."

"No," Wishful disagreed. "Raisin cookies."

"Coconut, yeah, coconut," Hugster decided.

After several minutes of pulling out cards and then throwing them into a reject pile, the Bushwoolies had still not come to a consensus. But the stomp of a petite hoof made the three stop and take note.

Having gotten their attention, Baby Springtime made her royal decree. "Me and him like chocolate chip cookies."

Suddenly agreeing, the Bushwoolies got down to the business of baking.

"Chocolate chip, yeah, good, yeah, chip," prattled Wishful as he located the flour and sugar canisters.

"Me like chocolate chip, yeah, yummy," agreed Chumster as he got eggs and butter out of the refrigerator.

"Yeah, cookies, cookies, yummy, good," sing-sang Hugster, retrieving the chocolate chips and baking soda out of a cupboard.

"Oops!" said Chumster as he dropped an egg to the floor.

Baby Springtime giggled. "Slimy."

"Sorry!" apologized Wishful as he spilled a cupful of flour over the edge of the counter.

Baby Springtime laughed. "Messy."

"Whoa!" yelled Hugster as the bag of chips exploded as he attempted to open it, and chocolate rained across the kitchen.

Baby Melonball began rescuing chips, and eating them as quickly as he found them. "Buss-woolies fun!" he grinned through a chocolate-smeared smile.

The Bushwoolies regrouped, and eventually had a batch of cookie dough ready to put on the cookie sheets.

"Oven hot," yelped Chumster as he opened the oven door.

"Use mitt, yeah, yeah," advised Hugster.

"Tray ready, yeah," informed Wishful.

"Dough good," slurped Baby Melonfall after sticking his hoof in the bowl of dough.

"Raw cookie no good," contradicted Baby Springtime, shaking her head and hoof at him.

Soon, the timer beeped, and the first tray of golden brown cookies were done.

"Look good, yeah, yeah," grinned Hugster.

"Tasty, yeah, good," agreed Wishful.

"Next tray," said Chumster as he put the second tray in the oven.

The twins climbed up into chairs to be close to the cookies. "Milk," decided Baby Springtime. She almost added, "Yeah, yeah."

Chumster got the milk and poured two tall glasses for each foal. "Don't spill, yeah, yeah," he warned.

The three Bushwoolies and two young ponies soon had polished off the first tray of cookies.

"Me still hung-gwee," complained Baby Springtime.

"Me got tummyache," groaned Baby Melonball.

"Me smell smoke!" yelped Chumster, running through the black curtain that now shrouded the oven, and soon reappearing with a hot tray encrusted with ashen piles of crud which he tossed into the sink.

"Timer not set, yeah, yeah," surmised Hugster as he opened a window to let the smoke out.

"Cookies ruined, bad, bad," observed Wishful with a sorrowful look on his face.

"Me sick," moaned Baby Melonball with one hoof clutching his tummy, and one hoof holding his nose.

"Momma's home!" cried Baby Springtime, hearing the front door opening. She bolted into the living room, knocking her glass of milk off the table as she went. "Mommy, Mommy!" she greeted her mother with a hug around her legs.

Springtime stood just inside the doorway, and sniffed the air as she laid a hoof on her daughter's head. "Do I smell smoke?" she questioned worriedly.

"Just cookies," shrugged Baby Springtime. "Buss-woolies do it."

"Who moved the furniture?" she wondered outloud.

Baby Springtime skipped across to her throne and clamored up. "Buss-woolies."

Crossing the room to her open jewely case, Springtime raised her eyebrows. She gingerly fingered the string of sticky, sparkly beads and asked, "Who..."

"Buss-woolies," innocently answered Baby Springtime.

Springtime took a deep breath, and walked to the kitchen doorway. Looking into the room, she gasped. The three decorated Bushwoolies were attempting to comfort the still-suffering prince. Smoke drifted out the open window. A puddle of milk had streamed across the tile to join the splattered egg. Several forgotten chocolate chips melted into murky pools, and a pastey glob of saturated flour clung disgustingly to the base of the counter. A frazzled, blackened cookie sheet was resting in the sink, and one unbaked tray of cookies sat untended while the still hot oven glowed red with the oven door wide open.

"Oh, my!" Springtime choked, her hoof moving to her head as if she'd suddenly developed a headache. "What happened here?"

"Buss-woolies," chimed Baby Springtime as she peeked around her mother's legs. "Buss-woolies lots of fun."

"I can see that," Springtime agreed as she went to the stove, stuck the unbaked tray of cookies into the oven, and closed the oven door. Setting the timer, she turned her attention to her little colt.

"Cookie dough again?" she questioned, picking him up and packing him off to bed.

To her surprise and complete appreciation, the Bushwoolies were actually cleaning up the kitchen when she returned. The oven timer beeped, and Springtime removed the cookies while the Bushwoolies continued their chores. Checking out the burned cookie sheet in the sink, she decided to leave that for another day. Then she slumped into the closest chair to supervise the rest of the dirty work.

"Mommy?" Baby Springtime tugged at her mother's foreleg.

"Yes, dear?"

"Me sleepy." She crawled up into her mother's lap.



"Me be good princess."

"What makes you say that?"

"Buss-woolies do everything me say," Baby Springtime murmurred, her eyes getting heavy.

"I wondered about that," Springtime smiled as she hugged her daughter tightly. And I'm going to have to talk to Princess Tiffany about a few of her princess lessons, she thought silently to herself.

The Bushwoolies worked amazingly fast at turning the kitchen back into its clean, orderly appearance. Springtime put the sleeping princess on her bed, and served the Bushwoolies their fresh cookies and ice-cold milk.

"Your cookies are very good," she complimented them after taking a bite.

"Yeah, yeah, cookies yummy!" ageed the three Bushwoolies in unison.

When they were finished, they jumped down from their chairs and jostled their way to the door. Springtime giggled at their constant activity and good humor. "Thanks for your help!" she called sincerely.

"Help, yeah, anytime!" replied Chumster.

"Help, fun, yeah, fun!" called Hugster.

"Yeah, yeah," agreed Wishful.

Watching until they were gone from sight, Springtime closed the door. And the twins were so exhausted from their time with the Bushwoolies that they didn't wake up until suppertime. Not a bad day after all!

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