Can we chase away the sleep monsters?

PUBLISHED: 16:16 26 February 2018 | UPDATED: 16:30 26 February 2018

I'm hoping Thalia can turn her nightmare cloaked man into a superhero. Picture Getty Images

I'm hoping Thalia can turn her nightmare cloaked man into a superhero. Picture Getty Images


Where have the days gone when she dreamt about eating candyfloss and building sandcastles? asks Jo Malone

‘There’s a man, wearing a dark cloak with a hood, and every time I kill him, another man the same jumps out of his pocket.’

It’s the latest recurring dream for Thalia, and nothing we do seems to help.

She used to have very sweet, if complicated, dreams and she does have a phenomenal imagination; her ‘what if’ questions go a lot further than any seven year old I’ve known. She can take us from ‘what if a rabbit ran in front of the car right now and…’ to ‘unicorns floating on lily pads on floods so huge that they wash the car away so we have to stand on the roof and steer through the window’ type scenarios in a four minute car journey.

Every evening as I tuck her in she’ll have a ‘can I tell you something’ moment such as what would happen if her bed flew out of the window or that she needs me to move her pictures around that instant because they’re arguing.

It usually finishes with her asking for something to dream about and turning down all my ideas. Admittedly they are usually a bit rubbish such as her getting an ‘understanding’ value sticker at school, fairies painting the flowers different colours or knowing what the birds are singing about.

But I’m usually aware that Keola needs tucking in, that I have yet to finish the conversation with darling husband Rob that we started three hours before, that I haven’t had dinner and that I have still to research raising money for my London marathon charity. So I’m trying to exit swiftly while leaving her with happy thoughts.

Recently I’ve been failing and she’s been arriving in our room later, upset by her dreams. Mostly they involve menacing characters who clone themselves, or crocodiles and sharks circling her bed.

I’ve tried suggesting she changes the dream endings so everything works out okay, such as her waving a wand so the crocodiles turn into tadpoles or the cloak-wearing man becomes a super hero or Father Christmas, but she’s not convinced.

Talking about this at breakfast I ask Keola what she dreamt about, thinking something happy would reassure Thalia there are good dreams. “I dreamt Daddy got run over by a big car in the library car park,” says Keola, eyes watering.

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