My Life As A Cat

Another story told at bedtime, this came from my daughter who tends to act more like a cat than she does a human.

“Lannie! Time to get up!” my mother calls from the kitchen. 

I hate mornings. I just want to stay in my bed, under my comforter. I crack one eye open and look. A sliver of sunlight is peeking in through my window, creating a thin pizza slice of brightness across my room. It’s too bright, I decide, and close my eye. It’s too early. Yes, too early. 

“Come on, Lannie, it’s after nine o’clock. You can’t stay in bed all day!” my mother calls. 

Yes I can! I pull the sheets over my head and curl up in the comfy dark. I’m going to stay here all day. There’s no place I’d rather be. I don’t need my friends today, I don’t even need to watch TV. I’ll be happy just to stay here.

My mother opens my bedroom door. “Now, Lannie,” she says, as she walks over to my bed, and pulls the sheets off of me. I start shivering with the loss of all my wonderful warmth. “Nice try, you. Up and at ‘em.” 

“I don’t need to get up. It’s not a school day!” I protest. 

“That’s not the point. You’re not staying in bed all day,” my mother repeats. She throws open my curtains, and my room becomes way brighter than I can stand. 

“Moooooommmmmmmm!” I whine. 

“No ‘buts’. Move!” she orders, and scoops me out of bed. I land on all fours. She then straightens my bed, and puts the pillow back where it belongs. I hadn’t even noticed that I wasn’t sleeping with a pillow. 

“Phooey!” I say, and sit back, kneeling. “I’m not getting dressed!” 

“That’s fine! I just want you out of bed!” she smiles. “Wash your hands and come down for breakfast, please.” She walks out of my room. 

I kneel for a moment, then arch my back, and reach forward with my hands until I’m lying on the warm floor on my belly. I love a good stretch when I wake up. I roll onto my side, then over onto my back. The sun shines on my tummy, and it feels warm, almost like my comforter. I decide that staying in my room might be almost as good as staying in my bed. 

I nearly fall back to sleep lying there, until I hear the sound of cereal being poured into my bowl. I scamper to my feet and race down the hall, nearly slipping as I round the corner into the kitchen. “No milk, please!” I say, as I hop up onto my chair. 

“Are you sure?” my mom asks. 

“Yep! I like it dry!” I say, taking my spoon and getting a huge spoonful, which I then cram into my mouth. I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about the way my cereal tastes without milk, and how it scrapes the roof of my mouth. I could eat this stuff all day. 

“Do you at least want orange juice?” asks my mother, standing at the fridge. 

“Moh fahfs,” I mumble, munching my cereal. My mother disappears to somewhere else I in the house. When I’m finished, I slink off my seat and sneak a cup out of the cupboard. I fill it with orange juice and drink it down quickly before my mother catches me. 

I quickly head back to my room to get my favourite book, and go into the living room to curl up in the bay window, looking out into the backyard. I tuck a large pillow behind me. The sun warms me up almost perfectly. For a few moments, I lay back dozily, not really wanting to read, and just enjoying the lazy day. 

Opening my book, I flip to the page I left off at, and continue. It’s a good book. I’ve read it four times this year, and I’ll probably read it at least another two before Christmas. It’s about a princess warrior who brings peace to her kingdom. I’m not even sure why it’s my favourite story, I prefer stories with spaceships. I think it’s the sword fighting that I like most. 

The morning passes slowly, just how I like it. My big sister isn’t around, my mother is probably downstairs, and my father is … well, somewhere. I have the house to myself. It’s quiet, and I can read in peace. I glance up from my book a few times to look about. I spend nearly half an hour watching a squirrel try to jump on the bird feeder attached to the outside of the bay window. The squirrel manages to get really close, until it notices that I’m watching it. It turns and runs away like I’m going to gobble it up. 

Before I know it, though, it’s lunchtime. 

“Mom! I’m hungry!” I call out, still in the bay window. There’s no answer. “Mom?” Still no answer. Where did she go? “Mom!” Nothing. “Mom! Mommmm! Mommmm! Mommmmm?” 

My mother finally appears from wherever she was hiding. “Good heavens, what is it, Lannie?”

“What’s for lunch?” I ask. 

“Hungry, are we?” she asks. Her hands are on her hips. That’s supposed to mean she’s unimpressed. It doesn’t help me get my lunch any faster. 

“Tunafish sandwich!” I reply quickly

“You have that every day!” she says. 

“But I like it! Tuna is yummy!” I reply. 

My mother sighs. That means she’s going to do what I asked. “Okay, honey. Can you please change into clothes before eating, though? And after lunch, I want you to go outside. I don’t want you indoors all day.” 

“Aw, but Mom, these are my favourite PJs! I’m comfy in them!” They really are my favourite pyjamas. They were a Christmas present from my Aunt Bernice. She always gets me the best things. They’re what my father calls a “dusky pink”, with outlines of cats all over them in black. I would wear them every day, if I was allowed. 

“No way, you. That’s the fifth day in a row wearing those. They need to be washed!” she declares. It’s in “that” voice, the one she uses when she is going to do something whether I like it or not. 

“Fine,” I grumble.

I finish the page of my book and slowly wander back to my room, climbing over every chair, sofa, and table in the living room along the way. I pull out four shirts before I decide on my light blue tank top with sparkles in the shape of a heart. I only have four pairs of shorts, and three of them are in the laundry, so I have to wear my purple knee-length ones. I grab my dark green hoodie as well, since I’m not as cozy in my summer clothes as I am in my PJs. 

Or in my bed. Hmph. I’m still not happy that my mother kicked me out of my own bed. 

“Lannie! Your sandwich is ready!” my mother calls out. I hear the plate clink on the table, and I’m off like a shot. The sandwich is on a dark blue plate, next to a big glass of milk. 

It feels like I haven’t eaten in forever. I wolf down the sandwich, taking long drinks of the milk. I stop only when the doorbell rings. My mother gets the door, while I peer from my chair in the kitchen.

“It’s Grandma!” she calls. I shove the last of my sandwich in my mouth, and slurp in enough milk to finish chewing. I skip in to see Grandma, still licking my lips. 

“Smells like someone had tuna for lunch!” Grandma laughs as I give her a big hug. Grandma is really good to me, so I love her a lot. My mother says Grandma spoils me, but that doesn’t bother me at all. “Have you been a good girl today?” she asks. 

Pshaw! I’m always a good girl! “Yes, Grandma!” I chirp. I can hear my mother snort. 

“Would you like a treat?” Grandma asks. 

“Ohh!” I hug her leg and wrap myself around her. “What is it? What is it?” 

“How about…” Grandma digs into her purse, and pulls her hand out, concealing whatever she’s about to give me, “some chocolate?” 

CHOCOLATE!” I screech. I love chocolate! Really, really, really, really love chocolate! 

“Here you go, sweetie,” Grandma says, handing me a bar of chocolate wrapped in gold foil with a paper sleeve. 

“Yay!” I snatch the bar from her hand, give her a quick kiss, and bound over to the bay window to eat it. 

“Ohh, someone needs her nails trimmed,” Grandma says, holding her hand, “they’re almost claws!” 

“Oh, sorry, Grams!” I say, as I stuff the chocolate in my face. 

“Okay, you, outside!” my mother demands. “And I’m cutting your nails tonight. No excuses!” 

I’m booted into the backyard. My big sister Karen is out there, sitting at the table, listening to her music. There’s a half-eaten tuna sandwich in front of her. I drop down low, hoping she can’t see me, and creep in quietly. I can barely hear her music as I’m just underneath the sandwich, which I can see through the glass tabletop. I reach up ever so slowly, and carefully reach to steal the sandwich when she reaches out and slaps my hand. 

“Mine!” she says, not even looking at me. “Shoo!” 

“Nyah nyah nyah,” I reply, sulking away. I flip onto the hammock in the corner of our yard. The sun’s still shining on it, which is a bonus. I stretch out once for good measure, then settle in for a bit of a nap. 

I’m not sure how long I sleep, if I sleep at all. A rock bounces off my forehead, snapping me completely awake. I sit upright and look around. Did something hit me? Or did I just dream it? Before I can dismiss it as just a figment of my imagination, a small pinecone bops off the back of my head. 

“Stop it, you brat!” I hiss. It’s my annoying next door neighbour, Jason. He and I are actually friends, and we play a lot together, but he has a really annoying habit of bugging me when I’m in the hammock. I think I’ve had two days this entire summer to spend in the hammock without him throwing stuff at me. At least it’s not the ice cold water he used the last time. I hid in my room for two days after that — I did not want to speak to him!

“Wanna play?” he asks through the fence. 

“I’m sleeping,” I say, lying back on the hammock. 

“I’ve got the new Dance, Monkey, Dance video game! We can play it!” Jason suggests. I have to admit, that does sound like fun. I played it at Sue’s house yesterday, and we laughed so hard it hurt. Jason’s a good dancer, too, which makes the game more fun. 

But I’m comfy again. The sun is just right, the breeze is just right, I’m not hungry or thirsty, and I’m in the perfect position in the hammock — I’m worried that if I even move my hand to scratch, I won’t feel as good. You don’t get this comfy without a lot of effort, or unless you’re really lucky. 

“Sorry, Jason, not today,” I say sleepily. 

“Jump rope?” Jason asks. 

“Nope,” I reply. 

“Ball?” Jason begs. 

I close my eyes, and I let myself drift off…

I awake a while later. The sun has moved away from the hammock, and I’ve gotten chilly. I hop off the hammock and look around. The sun has left the entire backyard, blocked by the trees in my other neighbour’s yard. Even Karen has probably gone back inside. I head back to the door, only to find it locked. 

“Hello?” I call, tapping on the door. “Hello??” I walk around to the side window and peer in. There’s no way my mother would have left me home alone. I’m only seven, for crying out loud! I scratch at the window, but there’s no answer. I hop over the fence and walk to the front door. It’s locked, too. I ring the doorbell once, twice, three times. “Hello!!” I yell. “Hi, I’m still here! Someone should let me in!” 

The front door cracks open. I race to it before it closes. Karen is on the other side. “You want in?” she asks. 

“Yeah,” I say, trying to push my way through. But Karen’s blocked the door. “C’mon, lemme in!” 

“I dunno…,” says Karen. 

“Mom!” I yell through the door. “Karen’s not letting me in! Mommmm!”

My mother says something to Karen, and she steps away from the door. I walk in, sticking my tongue out at her. I go back to my room, and hop up on my bed. I take the brush off my night table, and start brushing my hair. It’s long and brown and amazing. It also gets tangled pretty easily, so it takes a while for me to get all the knots out. But it’s relaxing — I like brushing my hair. I can do it for an hour with ease. 

Which is what I do, until I’m interrupted by my father, who yells: “Dinner!” from the kitchen. 

I sigh, have a really good stretch, and head to the dinner table. I think it’s stew. At least, it looks like stew. If stew were a brown blob with little grey bits. I love my father, but can’t cook. He says he can, but the food he puts on my plate never looks like something I could eat. I poke at it with my fork. 

“What’s the matter? Not what you had in mind for dinner?” my father asks. I look at what he’s eating. It looks like chicken fingers. 

“Can I have yours?” I ask. “I think you got mine by mistake.” 

“Nice try, Lannie. This is mine. You didn’t answer when I asked you what you wanted. It’s Leftover Night, so you get what you get,” my father says. 

“You didn’t ask me! When did you ask me? I don’t remember you asking me!” I protest, still staring at the brown blob. I hold my fork just in case the blob comes to life and I have to defend myself. 

“You were in your room. I called you three times, but you didn’t answer. So that’s what you get,” my father grins.

“Hmph,” I hmph. “No fair.” 

I’m the last to finish eating. It takes me an hour. I keep leaving the table to go to the bathroom, or get another glass of milk, or to change my shirt. Everyone else has gone off to do whatever it is that they do, leaving me to my cold lump of brown goo. Admittedly, it does taste good, I just won’t admit it to anyone. 

After dinner, I curl up on my father’s lap as he watches TV. I don’t understand what he watches. It makes him giggle, which makes me laugh. He cuddles me, and strokes my hair, which makes me feel all fuzzy inside. I would stay there all day, if my father were around. He’s only around during the day on weekends. 

Suddenly, my mother appears with a pair of nail clippers. I try to make a run for it, but my father has me by the waist. 

“Mommy said you need to have your claws trimmed, kiddo,” he says. Betrayed!

“No!” I yowl, trying to wriggle free. It’s no use, my father’s grip is too strong. I try to kick, but I’m held tight. I think about trying to scratch my way free, but I realize that I would get on a lot of trouble if I hurt anyone. I make owie noises instead, until they’re done.

When the sun’s down and the stars are out, I’m changed into clean pyjamas — my mother stole my favourite ones and put them in the laundry. My bed stares at me, begging me to climb in. For some reason, though, I don’t want to get into bed. Not yet, anyway. I feel the urge to run around the house for a while. I race down the hallway, skidding around the corner and hide under the kitchen table. My mother looks up from her spot in the living room and wonders what just happened. Then I bolt out from under the table and leap over the chair and land on the sofa next to her, scaring her half to death. I giggle, and leap off the sofa, aiming for the chair on the other side. But my foot catches on the footstool and I crash onto the floor. I burst out laughing. 

“Lannie,” my mother sighs, “go to bed…” 

I’m still giggling as I crawl into my comfy bed. I shuffle around three times to find just the right place to lie down. I carefully pull the comforter up around me, and curl up into a ball. I sigh happily, and brush the hair out of my face.

I might just do the same thing all over again tomorrow.