Peace and joy has returned to the household. The lightbulb came on and now we all feel calmer and more regulated.
The discontent centered around nap-time and morning time. Okay, I'll admit it, the malcontent was me. The Captain (4-1/2) and Tinker (3-1/2) have all but given up their nap. The Blitz (2-1/2) needs a nap still 4 out of 5 days. They were more than willing to go into their room and lay on their beds and hoot and holler. The difficulty was that they came out of their room every 10 minutes to ask if it was time to wake up. I know they won't nap forever but I have 5 kids -- that hour and a half every day is when I read email, read books, peruse blogs -- it's joy time!
The other thing that wasn't working was that The Blitz had begun waking earlier and earlier. Some days he'd wander out at 6:00 - not so bad - but then the next day it would be 5:30. One day as I was getting ready for the gym at 4:30 a.m. he wandered out. Suffice it to say, I was less than graceful at this appearance. And need I remind you, a kid short on 3 hours of sleep is a not-so-joyful companion!
I considered buying them a projecting clock and teaching them to read it, but that seemed pretty complicated given that they don't recognize the form of any numbers yet. Plus, let us not forget, they are the destructo-kids. I'd have to mount it to the ceiling to keep it safe!
Suddenly I remembered these cute lights they sell at IKEA. $10 each. I ordered a digital timer from Amazon and drove straight to IKEA.
The Captain could not wait for me to install the lights in his room, though he had no clue of my plan. He went in there and cleaned up his whole room because I'd casually mentioned I was going to clean their room then hang the lights.
We explained to the kids that during nap-time and in the morning, they had to lay in their beds until the lights came on. They could play quietly with whatever was in their beds or use the bathroom or speak quietly with each other, but they were not to get up or leave their room until the light came on.
The first nap-time, The Blitz came out 10 minutes after I put him in there. I walked him back, pointed to the light and reiterated the guidelines. He got back into bed, wailed, and went to sleep. That's the last time anyone came out without the light. Seriously. It is like a miracle.
It calmed the chaos quite a bit and now sometimes all three of them nap. Most days both boys nap. Only Tinker stays awake. The light has been a regulating force for them; they now know that nap-time will end and it's relaxing to them. The Blitz and Tinker have both begun sleeping later in the mornings too -- they know it's not time to get up so they sleep. One day the Blitz slept almost to the end of the hour the lights are on!
[The lights are really not bright. Dear Hubby told me how to take the picture correctly but I was too lazy!]