I mentioned in the last kidlet update that Leo is sleeping in his own room these days - which is great on so many levels. Our family bed was getting pretty crowded with four of us in there. He had been sleeping in his own bed for a bit, but bedtime was taking a ridiculous amount of time because I would put him to bed in his room, then put Zoe to bed in our room...or, jb would put him to sleep and I would put Zoe to sleep and both adults had to be out of commission for bedtime. It just made sense for me to put them both to sleep in one fell swoop - the trade off was that our bed was crowded.
So we knew we had to make the switch back to Leo sleeping in his own room. Our strategy was to make his room a place he wants to spend time - rather than the room that stores his clothes, as it has been. The key to making his room irresistible? Bunk beds.
|This is the face that captures how he feels about his new bed|
|His favorite friends love it, too|
|The bottom bunk is "Zoe's bunk"|
|But it's also a "reading club house"|
The top bunk is his own territory. We insisted that adults are too big to be on the top bunk (in part because I think I'd snap that bed like a twig and in part because the whole point is that we are trying to get him to sleep alone), and Zoe isn't able to get up there unassisted, so we've tried to sell it as his own little haven.
|He even can indulge in a show|
|Of course, Leo invites Zoe up to hang out sometimes|
So once his room was cemented in his mind as the best place on earth, our goal was to ease him into falling asleep in his bed alone. This was totally new to him. He has always fallen asleep snuggling with either jb or me. Usually in the family bed, but even when he was in his own bed, I would lay with him or massage or cuddle him until he fell asleep - so sleeping without a human next to him is a brave new world.
We started with plenty of stuffed animals to keep him company. Added some glow in the dark stars for ambiance. His humidifier duck keeps him breathing easy. That little penguin projects stars in different colors on the wall and ceiling. And, as always, we read him a book before tucking him in. Still...the transition from snuggling on our lap to tucked in alone in the dark needed something to make it seem less sudden.
This is why the timing was perfect when we were asked to review the Goodnight Dimmer SmartBulb. The SmartBulb is shatterproof - which is awesome in a kids room. When I first opened the box Leo yanked it out of my hand asking, "What's this?" and my first reaction was a slow motion "Noooooooo!" But then I realize that it was no big deal because apparently you can throw it against the wall and it won't break into pieces thanks to a special coating. (We did not test this theory, despite Leo's lobbying for it.) These bulbs last up to 3x longer than traditional bulbs and come with the 2 year guarantee. It's a green, energy saving, incandescent option - I didn't know that existed! - that was designed by a grandfather right here in PA.
The coolest thing about this bulb, though? It automatically dims. No dimmer switch or special lamp required. I just screwed it in to the inexpensive Ikea lamp in Leo's room and with a double click (switch it on twice in a row) it's set to slowly dim to a night light over a 20 minute period. This allowed for a gentle transition for that part of Leo's bedtime routine that is still new.
|Dimmed down to a drowsy night-light|
So this is how it goes in our house for bedtime now (and it's been working): I set the bulb to slowly dim. I tuck Leo in and kiss him goodnight. Then I lay in the bottom bunk with Zoe and nurse her. While the Smartbulb is doing it's thing, I put an audio story on my phone. Leo lays in the top bunk, listening to the story, reassured that he's not alone since Zoe and I are in the bottom bunk, and the dimming light sends his body the message that it's time to wind down and rest.
Next thing you know there are two sleeping kids.
|Bottom bunk baby|
|Top bunk big kid|
Beautiful, right? This frees my evenings up to snuggle with jb, watch a show or write a bit. Hallelujah! Around midnight Zoe usually wakes up and I move her to our bed to put her back to sleep. I'm loving being able to put both kids to bed at the same time AND having enough room in my own bed.
The one downside? Now that Leo and Zoe are no longer bedmates there is no more synchronized sleeping. Or well, not quite as cute...
|Bunny is no Zoe|
Sweet dreams, everyone!