Last Christmas, Mike and I decided to do something different to make our gift-giving to the kids a little more thoughtful and budget-friendly. We went with a set number of gifts, and each gift fell under a category in the adage: "Something you want, something you need, something you wear, something you read."
When it came time to choose something Eli "needed," we stretched the concept into something we needed. Sleep. As in, more of it.
While Elena is content to snooze away until 9 a.m. if you let her, Eli has always been an early riser. Not butt-crack of dawn awful, but early enough for us to grumble. Around here, anything before 7 a.m., especially on a weekend, is unacceptable. For the most part, Eli can handle 7 a.m. He has this odd quirk, though, in that every 6 – 8 weeks his internal clock gradually bumps itself back. He wakes up at 6:50 a.m., then a few days later it's 6:35 a.m., until we cry "Uncle!" at 6 a.m. It's a rough two weeks or so, and then magically his clock resets itself and he's back to waking up at a civilized hour.
In the past, when he'd hit these early cycles, we'd spend a fitful 45 minutes to an hour walking him back to his room, telling him to stay in bed, falling back into our bed and hoping for the best. Sure, we could caved and just gotten up (it's not like any of us were getting any more sleep), but there are precious few parenting principles I hold my ground on. Sleep is one of them.
One day I came across the OK to Wake! Alarm Clock and Night-Light. It's a combination clock/night-light that's designed to let kids who can't tell time yet know when it's okay to wake up and approach their peacefully slumbering parents. The clock features a nifty set of controls that allow you to set what time that might be in your family. The clock glows yellow during sleeping time, functioning nicely as a night-light. When it's okay to get out of bed, it changes to green.
We ended up going with a slightly amped-up version made by the same company (in the photo above, being guarded over by Brobee) that displays the traditional clock face along with the digital time, in hopes that one day the boy might actually be able to tell time. One of my affiliates, Savvy Source, is offering the digital version at 49% off until midnight on Thursday, May 5th.
This is by far one of the best children's products we've purchased in the last year. I love it when cute and functional coexist. Does Eli still wake up too early for our liking? Uh, yes. But now he knows to leave us be until his clock is green. Does he come barreling out of his room at 7:00 a.m. on the dot squealing, "My clock is green! My clock is green!"? Yes, again, but somehow that's infinitely cuter and more bearable than waking up at 6:55 a.m. with a preschooler an inch away from your face.
Disclosure: I am a Savvy Source affiliate, which means if you purchase a clock through the link in this post, I earn a percentage of the sale. However, I would recommend this nifty little clock regardless. I had this post fluttering around in my head for weeks and then BAM! It coincided with this great deal. Honest to goodness.