I can empathise with HMRC. You start with a basic fundamental principal that relies on the goodwill of all concerned (i.e. Pay. Your. Tax), and before long the less scrupulous are finding ways around it.
So you legislate. You introduce new laws that inevitably get flouted, so you legislate some more. Before you know it, a once simple premise has become 1,400 pages of rules, regulations and amendments.
And so it is with our bedtime routine.
Because much like the tax system, there’s a fine line between the letter of the law and the spirit thereof.
A grey area between your moral obligation to the wider society (me), and the self interest of you and your brother.
A myriad of nuances between sleep avoidance and sleep evasion.
What started as a simple premise (Bath. Book. Bed) has quickly become a statute book spanning many volumes.
Every night I’m drafting new legislation. Every other night I’m having to make amendments. I close one loophole, they find a new one.
I’m convinced HSBC has a junior division in Switzerland advising them on all matters nocturnal. Just last night they claimed non-domicile status from their bedroom?
But I refuse to be beaten. It’s become a matter of principal. No longer am I prepared to have my football interrupted by the ceiling lights shaking or cries of,
“I threw my teddy at Luca and he won’t give it back!”
I’d like to think I have everything covered in my latest revision of the ‘Go To Sleep Act, 2015’, and yet I suspect probably not …
(1) No Talking. To include:
(d) Passing of notes
(e) Sign language
(f) Interpretive dance
(2) Stay in bed.
(a) Your own bed
(b) No jumping. (ii) Hopping (iii) Kneeling
(c) Lay down (ii) Horizontally
(d) Under the covers (ii) Your covers
(3) No fighting.
(a) No weapons in the bedroom
(b) No improvised weapons in the bedroom
(c) Not even for self-defence
(d) A ceasefire shall be honoured between 7pm and 7am
(d) No mind controlling your brother
(4) Going to the toilet.
(a) To be done alone
(b) Regular updates on your progress are not required
(c) Your brother does not need entertaining whilst having a poo
(d) Or someone to pass him the toilet roll (ii) Or throw it to him (ii) Or at him
(e) No laying booby-trap pieces of toilet paper on the floor to slow his progress back to bed
(5) No playing games.
(a) Hide and Seek is a game
(b) So is Snap
(c) And Buckaroo
(d) Calling it Lucaroo and hanging things off his ears/nose/toes – see Buckaroo
(6) There’s no reason to come downstairs.
(a) You can’t have a nightmare if you’re not asleep
(b) A daymare isn’t a thing (ii) nor is a pre-nightmare
(c) Nothing is so important as to not wait until the morning, apart from a fire
(d) Your brother is not on fire
(e) There are no monsters under your bed (ii) Behind the curtains
(f) You shouldn’t worry more about the clowns in your wardrobe. I was joking
(g) Coming downstairs on behalf of your brother does not make the above rules null and void
(h) It’s not morning time yet