In the past month or so, Lil E has been waking up and happily getting out of his bed all on his own. He is nearly 4-1/2 now and just realizing he doesn't need to wait for me to come in, kiss him and tell him it is OK to get up. I haven't fought this, but have enjoyed waking up to his fingers touching my cheeks and little voice asking, "Is it time to rise and shine and give God my glory?"
This is all a lovely morning scene. Until it happens an hour earlier than usual. Then, he's empowered and I'm exhausted. Later that night, he's exhausted and I'm doing some complicated parenting math formula to figure out how to teach this kid to tell time before the next morning.
Is it a huge issue? But it is sleep, and every drop of that is precious, as we all know all too well.
When my friend Charlene told me she was smitten with a the Good Nite Lite since she'd put it in her own son's room all I could think was of the few extra minutes I could be getting. This adorable night light (no more lit-up Sponge Bob! no more crappy plastic!) made just for kids in the transition of getting out of bed alone and seeing by the clock that it's an OK time to do that.
Here's how it works: Parents set a clock on the night light, designating the time to come on in the evening and a time to alert children they can get up. At night, a sweet blue moon is illuminated and at the appropriate morning hour, a cheery yellow sun shines.
The kind people at Good Nite Lite sent us one to try and after some fumbling to get the clock set properly, we plugged it in, read some stories, sang some songs and tucked in for the evening. This morning, Lil E padded into my room and whispered loudly, "My sun is shining! It's a good time to get up!"
I looked at my own clock, and it was almost an hour later than the normal time, two hours past the too-early wake-up calls. We were late, but rested. And I was happy, not just to get out of my own bed at a much more decent hour, but to skip the time telling calculations before I had coffee.
UPDATE: After a few days of using the Good Nite Lite, we are still very happy with how our mornings are going. There are two things that would make a big difference in its ease of use, though. First, the clock is too low-tech for the product, making the few minutes it takes to set more irritating than it needs to be. Secondly, I'd LOVE a weekend or special event setting so the wake-up time on sleep-in days can be set a little later.
The Good Nite Lite is $35 and might just have to go on my list of favorite gifts for preschooler kids.