Death By Exhaustion

This evening Carolyn and I decided to talk to the girls about how important it was for them to stay in their beds all night and not to come through to our room. We actually ended up talking to them about who would look after them if we died. It’s fair to say the conversation didn’t quite go as planned.

The girls haven’t been sleeping well recently. Anna who usually sleeps well has been waking and doing her best to get into our bed. No particular reason other than she likes it. We recently woke up and found her laying comfortably in-between us. As we looked at her she just smiled and said “I got under the cover at the bottom of the bed and crawled up so you wouldn’t wake up!”. Iris on the other hand has never been a great sleeper. She often wakes in the night and tends to stroll in to our room chatting away. “Daddy can I tell you something…?” “No.” She is fully aware that she shouldn’t be getting up in the night but she really doesn’t care.

Both the girls have Gro-Clocks. They are brilliant. You can set them so that overnight they show a light blue light with pictures of stars and in the morning a bright yellow sunshine shows. Really easy so even a two year old can understand; If the clock is blue you stay in bed and if the sunshine is on you can get up. Anna used to be pretty good with following these rules. I once found her with her clock under her covers staring at the clock and getting quite angry with it for still being on stars. I think she genuinely thought the clock wasn’t turning to sunshine just to spite her. Iris however doesn’t care for rules. She had the clock in her room for less than a week before she worked out how to reset the timer and turn it from stars to sunshine. She started off pretending that it had just come on itself but now she quite openly comes through at 4am and says “My clock was on stars so I changed it to sunshine. Can I get up now?”

So anyway this past week they have both been getting up in the night and Iris has been particularly problematic going back down to sleep after waking. Carolyn and I are both shattered. So we brought it up at tea time.

Carolyn – Right girls, we need to talk about sleeping at night.

Both girls look up at her waiting.

Carolyn – What should you do if you wake up at night and you don’t need a wee and your clock has stars on?

Slight pause before…

Anna – Shout?

Brilliant they are in this mood, we are going to get nowhere. Iris instantly clocked that Anna’s answer was funny. She had to join in.

Iris – Run to your room for cuddles?

Anna – Turn our lights on and play?

Us – NO!

Me – You roll over and go back to sleep. Unless you need a wee – then you can get up to go to the toilet.

Iris – I can go for a wee by myself?!

Oh no, at this point the only bit of the conversation Iris seemed to have listened to is the bit about getting up for a wee. And she thinks it would be a good plan to go on her own. I suddenly had visions of getting up in the morning and finding Iris stuck having fallen into the toilet.

Me – No Iris, you can wake us up if you need a wee.

Anna – Why can’t we keep getting up at night?

Carolyn – Because we are very very tired.

Anna – And if you are very tired you will be poorly?

Carolyn – Possibly, yes.

Iris – And then you will be died.

Oh, I wasn’t expecting this to be part of the discussion. How do I respond to that?

Me – Yes, we will die.

I can’t say I was convinced this was the right thing to say but I thought it was worth a shot.

Iris didn’t bat an eyelid.

Iris – So we would have to live with Becky and Neil?

This is what would happen. But I have no idea how Iris knows this?!

Me – Oh well, yes you would.

Iris – And Mog could come with us.

Me – Um, yes.

Mog is the most annoying cat on the planet but I think Becky and Neil would probably keep her too. Although they may not… Should we have got this written into our will too?!

Iris – Ok then. Anna and Mog and me will live with Bec and Neil.

Carolyn – But it would be better if you stayed in bed and we stayed alive though. Wouldn’t it?

So that was that. I’m not convinced that the girls are going to behave any better overnight. Iris may do herself harm trying to use the toilet by herself. And Carolyn and I are going to die through exhaustion. Actually, it doesn’t seem that unlikely.


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Joe Ellis-Gage is a registered paediatric nurse who runs Mini First Aid Norfolk – a  local company running first aid classes for parents, grandparents etc., first aid classes for children and Certified First Aid Qualifications (Full 12 Hour Paediatric First Aid, Emergency Paediatric First Aid and Emergency First Aid at Work for Schools etc.). For more information head to the Mini First Aid Norfolk website or Mini First Aid Norfolk on Facebook

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