Meiling Jade Carter is 8 ½ years old. She has black hair, almond eyes and a cheeky smile. She loves Ginger her fluffy-fat cat and crunchy chocolate crème filled panda cookies.

But, those delicious panda cookies will get her into trouble! Let’s find out what happens….


Mei squealed in delight and clapped her hands with excitement.

“Daddy!” She ran into his arms and gave him a big squeeze.

“Hey pumpkin.”

Dad had been away on business for over a week and Mei had missed him so much. She was thrilled that her dad had come to surprise her and pick her up at school.

Mei threw her bag in the boot and her eyes bulged with joy. In the corner next to dad’s luggage she saw her favourite cookies.  Chocolate crème filled panda cookies. She licked her lips – Yum! She could just image the crunchy outside and the delicious gooey chocolate inside.

“Daddy, you brought me chocolate panda! Can I have some, pleaseeeeeee?”

Her dad laughed, “Patience honey. I’ll give it to you after dinner.”

Mei grinned, “Oh daddy, you’re the bestest!”

Her dad threw his head back and laughed.

“I hope I’m the bestest always not just when I bring you cookies!” He said laughing.

Mei giggled, “You’re always the bestest daddy!”

She opened the car door and plopped on the front seat, “Does mum know you’ve picked me up?”

“Yes I called her from the airport.”

Dad drove slowly out of the wild-maze-like car park and chatted happily, but, Mei’s mind kept drifting to the delicious panda cookies sitting in the boot of the car.

“By the way pumpkin,” dad interrupted her panda cookie dreams. “Pastor Mike called me earlier and I need to go past the church to pick up some important documents.”

“Ok daddy.” Mei settled in the car seat and continued talking and laughing with dad. But those panda cookies kept calling her name…

Well, not calling her really, but she could almost hear them whispering her name, inviting her to eat them.

Once at church Mei got off with dad and they headed to the pastors office. The worship team was practicing for a special program coming up that weekend.

Mei asked her dad if she could stay in the church and listen. He said that was fine.

A few of the worship team members said hi and gave her hi five. Mei sat there for a few minutes enjoying the music but soon those panda cookies started dancing in her brain again.

Suddenly her stomach growled.

Silently, she slipped out of the church and walked toward the car park – how she wished Ginger her fluffy fat cat was with her.

Slowly she made her way to the car and tried to open the boot – ugh, it wouldn’t budge.

She went around the car wiggling the door handles but they were locked. Gr, she thought for a minute, um maybe she could find an old key on the ground.

She walked around the church, down rocky little areas; past the big shed, rolled down her favourite hill and jumped over a few puddles, splashing her uniform with murky water.


She ran to the bathroom and tried to wash the mud off – but each time she rubbed, it changed colour and shape.  Oh, she might as well leave it. She threw the soggy wad of toilet paper in the bin and headed out the door to keep searching for something to open the boot.  Leaning over she looked for anything that looked pointy enough to get inside the car lock.

Uh interesting….

 Mei stopped to watch a huge ant nest scurrying crazily everywhere.

A few carried little bits of food. I wonder where they are going – she thought to herself – let’s check it out. Mei leaned over and followed the ants.

Her stomach growled again and she remembered the chocolate panda’s.

She needed to find something to pry open the car!

Mei kept looking behind bushes, tree shrubs, behind the children’s classrooms and even went near the dark spooky tree near the sports field. Kids kept away from there. But today Mei was too hungry to care and just ran to the tree and looked around. In the corner near the thick lumpy trunk she saw something – she moved a little closer and clapped her hands. It was a twig – stiff and sturdy and pointy –

“Yay, this will make a perfect key!” Mei decided – she wiped it clean on her blotchy uniform and ran up the stairs to see if the stick would open the lock.

She twisted, turned it and wriggled it, but that little lock wouldn’t open! 

She tried again and again but it didn’t work – then suddenly..


The end of the twig broke and got stuck into the lock!

Oh no, no, no!!!!

She panicked and tried to get it out but nothing worked. It was too little to pull.

She banged the boot with her fist so see if it would pop out.


“Mei, Mei.” Her dad called. 

Mei gasped! Then ran the other direction and came behind her dad. He mustn’t know what she’d been up to.

In the car she was really quiet. 

“What’s wrong pumpkin? You ok?”

Mei nodded, “Yes daddy,” she squeaked.

Once home, Mei bolted out of the car. She needed Ginger right now.

Her heart was beating a million kilometres an hour – she was so scared – but she was too afraid to tell her dad the truth. She would get in trouble for sure.

“Ginger I did something naughty!” She whispered stroking him softly.

Ginger purred and rubbed his head on her uniform as if asking ‘what did you do?’

“Well, I found a stick and tried to open daddy’s car but it broke inside and it’s stuck! I think I broke daddy’s car and now he has to buy a new one!”


Uh-oh – dad!! He didn’t sound happy.

Slowly Mei got up from the floor and headed downstairs, holding Ginger tightly in her arms! 

Dad was on the phone, “Yes, yes that’s right….”He looked at Mei, paused, and then continued talking, “Someone tried to pry it open with a stick….”

 Mei swallowed had, “Ginger, “she whispered, “Help!”

Just then, Mum came out from the kitchen wiping her floury hands on her strawberry designed apron- she hurried to Mei’s side and took her by the hand, “Come with me  Mei.”

Mum took her outside and showed her the car – there it was, the lock looking crooked from where dad had tried to open it – the stick wasn’t there but the lock definitely couldn’t be opened.

“Mei what happened? “Mum looked at her and frowned.

Tears filled Mei’s eyes; Mum shook her finger, “No tears honey. No one has hit you or punished you. I want you to start learning to be responsible for your actions and to tell me calmly and with no tears.”

Mei swallowed and buried her head in Ginger’s fur. She cleared her throat and tried again. Her voice shaky.

“Well, daddy brought me chocolate panda’s and I got really hungry and tried to open the car.”

“But it was locked?” Mum asked.

“It was locked, so I tried to open it with a stick.”

Ginger purred as if understanding what she was saying.

“Oh Mei,” Mum rubbed her temples, “honey, you need to think things through! Dad has to pay someone to come fix this.”

Mei held Ginger tighter. She wished she could turn into a cat right now and not get in trouble.

About an hour later, the repair man came and fixed her dad lock – Mei watched from a distance.

After dad had taken everything out of the boot, he looked at Mei, “I will talk to you when I come back down.”

Mei cringed. Oh how she wished she really, really was a cat right now! Then she would run away with Ginger and hide forever.

Mum called Mei to help her in the kitchen. Mei moved in slow motion. She washed her hands, put on her little cat design apron and set the table.

She felt gloomy and her stomach was doing funny little summersaults.

Before dinner, dad took Mei aside and talked to her.

“Mei..” He started to say.

“I’m sorry daddy! Really sorry.” Mei interrupted running to him and giving him a big hug – she started crying.

Dad let her cry until she was ready to talk again.

“Mei, I’m really disappointed that you weren’t patient today.”

Mei nodded and hung her head.

“It’s so important to learn to be patient. The chocolate pandas are yours. I wasn’t going to keep them. Why did you feel that you had to break my car lock to get them?”

Mei sighed and wiped her wet face on her sleeve, “Well, I got really hungry and wanted to eat them.” Mei swallowed hard, “am I in trouble?”

“What do you think?”

Mei nodded again; she was ready to accept her punishment. Well, sort of!

Dad gave her a little list of things that she wasn’t allowed to do for the next two weeks.

  1. No chocolate pandas until one weeks’ time – Oh no Mei groaned. Now she really had to be patient. Not fun!
  2. Not going to play dates at Isabel’s house – aw not fair!
  3. No technology – Gasp – how boring!

Mei looked down at the paper and then at her dad – She knew she deserved it, but it hurt her heart A LOT!

“Ok daddy.” She whispered.

He gave her a big hug and told her to get ready for dinner.

Mei made her way upstairs, Ginger followed closed behind, “Ginger,” she said, “I need to learn to be patient. Will you help me? It’s too hard!”

Ginger purred and bolted up the stairs. Mei giggled and ran after him. Her heart was feeling much lighter.

One weeks later….

Mei sat outside under a tree with Ginger – she opened her little box of chocolate panda cookies and smelled the delicious sweet gooeyness.

She popped one in her mouth and closed her eyes, “Ginger, this are the BEST cookies in the whole world!”

She popped another one in her mouth and nodded her head happily.

She was glad she had been extra patient for one one. Her parents were proud. Mei knew that Jesus was extra proud of her too.


Illustrations by Katie Keleman





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