Metaphysics at bedtime

I don't know about yours, but in our house, bedtime is always a complex business. Our lovely, wild-heart boy has developed a piece of invisible theatre that he will presumably title "Anything but sleep" and tour to massive acclaim when he is older.

Most nights, it is a combination of questions and a story of the sort of length usually associated with 19th Century Russian novels. A representative sample:-

"Daddy, what is your favourite sea creature?"

"Daddy, what would happen if gravity just stopped?"

"Daddy, what is the other side of space?"

Daddy is, by this point, nodding off and thinking about the glass of Malbec that is evaporating downstairs (or at least testing the limits of Mummy's endurance).

Easter saw a new twist however, borne out of an attempt to get his head around the complex theological mish-mash that is Easter in modern Britain:-

"Daddy, does everyone have a religion?", he began.

"Well, lots of people do. Mummy and I don't believe in anything supernatural"

There is then a pause in which I can almost hear the cogs clanking. The Malbec drifts ever further from my grasp.

"Miss NameOfTeacher told us the Easter story in class."

"I see."

"That was about Jesus."


"Did Jesus live after Shakespeare?"

"No mate, Jesus lived before Shakespeare."

There is another pause for processing before he swung back with possibly my favourite line of all time.

"So it goes, 'Dinosaurs, Jesus, Shakespeare, me? No... Dinosaurs, the stone age, Jesus, Shakespeare, me."

"Well, there are a few gaps in between but that's pretty close."

At this point there is a tantalising pause suggestive of him being out for the night. This, along with my hopes of a crack at the plonk, was dashed when he chipped in with a biggie:-

"Does everyone believe the same religion?"

"No there are lots of different beliefs".

"Can I believe in the Easter bunny even if I don't have a religion?"

"As long as you are kind to people, you can believe whatever you like. Mummy and me have based our ideas on things that we have read and discussed and we'd like it if you could do the same.

"I think the Easter bunny is Santa in disguise. I think he comes back in the warm months to give out more chocolate."

"I've... never really thought about-"


And so reader, I was left to contemplate the idea of Santa and the Easter bunny being one and the same. Luckily I emerged to find my Malbec undrunk and a comforting partner to help me rebuild my ramshackle belief-system. It's me down to do bedtime tonight so I'm taking a bible, a Qur'an and A Brief History of Time up to make sure I'm prepared.

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