It’s one of those mornings. Everyone else in the family is getting ready for school and work, but Mathilda is still hiding under the bed cover in her loft bed. There are no signs of her even thinking about getting up.
I have tried friendly reminders. I have made sure she took her meds and ate half a banana. I have talked cheerily about All the Good Things About Tuesdays, and made sure she remembers what time it is: time to get out of bed. All to no avail.
Now I am hesitant. I could, of course, remind her again, but that’s not very likely to work, not on a morning like this. I quickly decide to take my chances with the plain truth.
”Mathilda. It’s getting late. You need to get up now. If you stay in bed any longer, you will be really stressed out later. And you don’t like to hurry, do you? I would really like to help you. But I’m not sure how.”
Mathilda makes one of her distinctive noises, the one that sounds like a moan went for a walk in the park, where it met a growl and a wail, and they all decided to go swing on the swings, only now the swings are squeeking too… She hides her head under under the bed cover again.
All of a sudden Mathildas big brother is in the room with me, calm, confident, a piece of chocolate in his hand:
”Mathilda. Hand!” he says.
Mathilda peeks out, discovers the chocolate and is all eyes. She quickly nabs it from his hand. And her head stays above the cover this time.
Now Mathilda is chewing. Big brother smiles at her. Now Mathilda is smiling, too.
”Get down here”, he says, nodding ever so slightly towards the floor. His tone of voice makes those three simple words sound like a secret joke, like something only the two of them could possibly understand.
I quietly walk out of the room. There is really no need for me now, I am mostly in their way. Behind me I can hear Mathilda climbing out of bed, like a tiny squirrel with curious eyes and a bed head. The two of them laugh together.
Once again, I have been taught by a master.
Afterwards, when I tell Mathildas brother how impressed I was, he replies:
”It’s pretty simple, really. All you have to do is take her mind off things. If you make her think about something entirely different, she’ll follow you to the end of the world.”