As I was the fourth child – there was no room left for questions to avoid going to bed. Mum had already thought of an answer for everything.
‘Mum, I’m thirsty’.
‘Why do you think I made you have that drink before you went to bed? Go to sleep’.
‘But I’m not tired’.
‘You’re not getting out of bed. You will be tired eventually.’
‘It’s too light.’
‘It doesn’t matter. If you close your eyes, it will be dark.’
When we were little, we often had trouble going to bed. Mum tried her best with a pretty solid bedtime routine. Dinner, quiet games only, and then bathtime. After a bath, Mum would brush our hair and read to us. Then it was time to go to bed.
This worked for a long time. But then we needed something more.
So Mum came up with Sleep Dust.
She had a little container on the mantle piece that was filled with what she called Sleep Dust. She would say that this was magic, and that Mr Sandman had given it to her to make us go to sleep and have wonderful dreams.
We would all line up before bed to get this Sleep Dust sprinkled over our eyes. Mum would oblige, and scatter the Sleep Dust over our eyes before putting us to bed. I remember falling asleep quickly so that I could see these wonderful, magic dreams.
As an adult, I think the container was an old pin tin and that it was empty. Mum would pretend to sprinkle something, but nothing was really there.
But also, as an adult, a little piece of me still wishes for that Sleep Dust and those magic dreams.