pipe problem...

I have a parent process using _spawnl() to launch a child process and I am
using a pipe to send messages to the child process.  What is funny here is
that in my child process, it takes 4 reads to grab all of the message.  For
example, in the parent app I perform two writes sending the text string
"continue" and immediately following that I send "stop."

My child process's first read from the pipe, "con", the second read from the
pipe, "tin", third, "ues", fourth, "top".  Of course, all this comes out to
be "continue" and "stop".

The parent process has long been done writing the two text strings to child
proc before it gets around to reading from the pipe.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.