"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." ~e e cummings

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Product Review: American Innovative Teach Me Time Alarm Clock

This is not a "sponsored post." (But if American Innovative wants to send me a freebie for Max's room, I'll take it!)

It will come as no surprise to anyone who knows our family (or who has read this blog) that we have a little bit of a sleep problem in this house. Evan has long been a night-owl/early-riser/awake-all-nighter (sometimes all three in the same night). We've never come up with a real solution to the problem, we just find something that works for a few nights (sticker charts, placebo "sleeping" vitamins, Good Night's Sleep Incentives, etc.) and we celebrate our mini-success. Then, the problem shifts, we go back to the drawing board, and try something new. Basically, we cope. So basically, we've been existing in a state of sleep deprivation for nearly five years. Five. Years. FIVE! YEARS!!!!! 

Lately, our nighttime issue was frequent middle-of-the-night wakings, followed by middle-of-the-night insistence that it was ACTUALLY MORNING (because I would say idiotic things like, "Evan, it's three o'clock in the morning, you need to go to sleep), followed by a 5 am wake-up and a complete and utter disregard for the seriousness with which we would say, "We ARE NOT watching a show right now, you shouldn't even be out of your bed." And none of this, as you can imagine, was done/said pleasantly. There was whining, crying, yelling, demanding, and pleading because three exhausted, stubborn people do not act rationally or respectfully at one or three or five o'clock in the "morning" when they haven't had a good night's sleep IN FIVE YEARS. 

But then....
I saw this....

We've been using it for a week now, and, wouldn't you know it? This little thing just may very well save our sanity.

Here's how it works:
You set the Nightlight Timer for bedtime (the white orb glows yellow and, for most people, probably functions as a nightlight...but it's a "Not Bright Enough" nightlight in this house, so we still use the Original Just Bright Enough Nightlight). We set the time for 7:30 pm, by which time we're usually finishing with bath and winding down to books and bed. Then, you set the Ok To Wake Timer, at which time the glowing yellow orb turns into a glowing GREEN orb, signaling to the child that it's REAL morning, and it's okay to wake up. We set this time for 6:25 am, which gives Evan five minutes to turn off his nightlight and noise machine, tuck his bedtime buddy back into bed, use the potty and come to our room justintime for Wild Kratts to start on PBS. (At which time, Sam is up to shower and get ready for work, and I get to squeeze my eyelids shut, duck beneath the covers, and pretend I'm not being crawled on by a two-year old monkey who has, most likely, already made his way to our bed, too.)

Since we started using this clock, Evan still wakes up at night. But it's been only once or twice a night (MAJOR improvement) and....BEST of all....the midnight showdown between my definition of morning and his is GONE. Now, he knows that REAL morning doesn't come until the light turns green and, as argumentative as he can be, Evan is also a Rules Guy. If the nightlight doesn't say that it's morning, than it must not be. (I'm not sure my word doesn't hold as much sway as a clock, but whatever.) So when he wakes up to use the potty and needs to be tucked back in, or needs me to fix his covers (stripes on his comforter should be straight, sheets should not be bumpy, covers should not be too close to his chin, but not too far down, either, etc.), or needs me to tickle his back ("Because I just think that helps me relax enough to sleep."), I can happily oblige because he asks nicely and there isn't a 20-minute battle of wills to follow.

The first few mornings, he came into our room at exactly 6:27, suggesting that he had been lying awake in bed, staring at the clock, just waiting for it to change color. But twice this week (twice!!) he has slept in past 7 am. 

Other cool features of the clock:
It's both analog and digital (or one or the other, you decide) to aid in teaching time. ALSO, if you press the button on the right "foot" of the orb, it tells you the time verbally. Evan LOVES this feature, and I think it really is helping him to learn time...at least he's much stronger in reading his two-digit numbers (up to 59) than he was a week ago. It's simple to learn how to use and, when your little one no longer needs to learn how to stay asleep, it can function as a true alarm clock. 

But I seriously can't imagine a day when I'll have to rely on a device to Wake Evan Up. I mean, I can imagine it, just as I can imagine a day when I'll be surrounded by books on my Want-to-Read list and Vanilla Lattes and Words With Friends and be instructed to "Get to work!" But I don't think either will actually happen

This clock? It's like a miracle you can plug into your wall.

Lesson Learned:
And in less than six weeks, we get to START ALL OVER again with a newborn who is going to insist upon seeing every other hour on the clock. Breeeeeeeeeaathe.

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