She most certainly will not be getting out of bed to get dressed for school, thankyouverymuch.
From the kitchen Momma has hollered for her to “GET UP!” and with an edge in her voice added, “…and that’s the last time!”
This happens to be the second of Momma’s “last time” warnings. The warnings started after an entire series of ineffectual attempts to get her out of bed. Momma went so far as to pick out an outfit and physically try to force her into it. This was a grave offense. She is six and a half years old and can dress herself. A lot of screaming and wrestling went into that fiasco before Momma abruptly aborted the mission to try out a new tactic: cooking breakfast.
But all the clothes and breakfasts in the world will not make a bit of difference. She’s not budging. It is so cold in her bedroom it hurts to breathe. To protect herself from the temperature, she has ducked her head under the blanket to breathe her own body-warmed air. Her feet are pulled up beneath her flannel gown. She has folded herself into a little ball to preserve heat. She has gathered all the loose edges of the sheets and blankets and tucked them under herself to keep the mean air from biting her. So Momma can threaten spankings all she wants. There are worse things than Momma’s spankings – like being attacked by the cold air outside the semi-warm cocoon she’s created beneath her covers.
It’s not just the cold terrorizing her, it’s also the snakes. Daddy killed one in his bedroom just the other night. He chased it around the room hitting it over and over with his guitar until it was dead. She didn’t actually see it happen, but she did hear the accompanying soundtrack. The oddly musical killing featured forceful, pounding rhythms and vibrating, jangly strings that reverberated inside the instrument’s hollow body with each blow. It was definitely not a song usually played in Daddy’s repertoire. She was horrified when she found out the cause behind Daddy’s improvisation. Now she imagines the coiling and roiling pit of snakes that surely resides under her bed. Daddy, the Slayer of Serpents and her Champion Defender, has already left for work. So no ma’am, she will not be getting out of bed today.
Momma’s footsteps now creak down the hallway and stop at her room. Uh-0h.
“Come on and get up. I made biscuits and it’s warm in the kitchen. The oven door’s open.” Momma says sweetly.
The brat beneath the blankets cries, “Nooooo, it’s too cold! And biscuits are so yucky. They’re mushy and gross. And there are snakes!”
“There are no snakes. And I’ll toast the biscuits. You like them like that, remember?”
Momma steps closer. Under the covers the child braces herself in anticipation of the coming struggle. When it doesn’t come, she realizes Momma’s footsteps are fading down the hallway. She hears rustling and softly percussive kitchen sounds. The oven door creaks then snaps shut.
She hugs her knees in and shivers.
A few minutes later, the oven door creaks open, then Momma is standing by her bed again, working loose a corner of the sheets. Delicious warmth touches her skin. Her clothes! In her blanket cocoon, she dresses in her oven-baked shirt, warm pants, and toasted socks, then she emerges a new creature. She jumps off the bed and runs out of her room before the snakes can get her. She follows the scent of toasted bicuits to the warm kitchen. For the rest of the day the scent of biscuits and love lingers all around her.