Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Light Switch

The behaviors that Jessica displayed never ceased to amaze me. It was always a challenge to me to figure out how to decrease the behaviors that were inappropriate or unsafe and increase the behaviors that enhanced her quality of life.
Jessica used to like to get up in the middle of the night and play. Doesn't seem to be to too disturbing but I knew she was not getting the rest she needed to develop. (Neither were we.) Besides, the next day she would be falling asleep during lunch interfering with her diet and the whole cycle would start again.
I would go into her room, shut the light off and sometimes rock her and sing lullabies. I would put her back to bed, remind her to sleep. And leave. A few minutes later I would hear her again and walk down the hall to discover her light was on again.
I wondered, what if the light stayed off. Light on = play; light off = sleep. Sounds logical.
The next night I unscrewed the ceiling light bulb. (The wall light switch was the only kind she could work.) I had made sure the night time routine had been completed before I did this dastardly deed. Jess thought it most amusing to see mom on a chair unscrewing the light bulb. All the while I talked about sleep and it being night time. After I tucked her in, kissed her good night and wished her asleep, I walked out of the room. All was quiet.
During the night, I did hear her get up. I walked to her door and heard her try the switch. When the light did not go on she sounded her displeasure. I reminded her from the other side of the door that it was night time and time to go to sleep. She complained a bit longer but settled down and went back to sleep.
Could it be this easy? Yup!
From this point on she hardly ever woke up in the middle of the night again. When she did, whe would try the switch and go back to bed. After we were sure that this was working (and I was getting a little tired of screwing the bulb in and screwing the bulb out), we decided to move the light switch to the outside of the room. No more fiddling with light bulbs. How clever!