When Lovie was only a couple weeks old, I went out and picked up the Seahorse, a beloved little stuffed toy whose tummy glows a soft yellow and plays soft lullaby music for about five minutes.
I'd wrap Lovie up tightly in a swaddle and place her in her crib, press the Seahorse's belly and Lovie would watch her Seahorse and fall asleep. Oftentimes I'd have to press the belly more than once as the light and music lasted only five minutes, but Lovie adored her Seahorse.
In fact, I used to say that the Seahorse and ceiling fan were Lovie's first BFFs.
Lovie still has her Seahorse but now she calls it her pet: "Say hi to Little Pet," she'll tell me as she cradles the thing like a newborn baby.
The batteries in the Seahorse died long ago and she stopped caring much about it (the pet thing came about recently when she found the Seahorse amidst her toys in a box in her room).
Forever now, Lovie's had to get up at 5:30 weekday mornings so I can drop her off at school by 6:30 so that I can make it into work by 7AM so that we can be home by 5PM and have some time together before bed. After about 13 months, Lovie started sleeping later than 5:30 and I would have to wake her. After a couple times of having one hell of a time getting her awake without her wanting to kill me, I learned to ease her into waking up (I open her door, turn on the closet light, turn off her noise machine while I continue to get ready- making as much noise as possible).
On weekends, she would generally sleep for 11 to 12 hours, very rarely waking before 7.
But then she started growing and growing and with that, she needed less and less sleep. Or something. And soon, we were waking before 6AM on weekends, too.
MAMA NO LIKEY THIS!
So enter The Owl. An uncle to the Seahorse, if you will.
I read lots of stories online about getting some sort of (alarm) clock in her room and telling her she couldn't get up before X time. Lovie's known her numbers for a year now, including by sight, but I still wasn't sure if this would work because her room is very dark due to black-out curtains (HIGHLY RECOMMEND). Well, then I happened upon The Owl and I thought back to the Seahorse days and I just had a good feeling The Owl would work.
Basically, The Owl is a stuffed toy (but not soft like a normal stuffed toy) with a clock inside that can be set and locked for certain wake up time or wake up nap time. The tummy of The Owl can be pressed (though Lovie can't do this since you have to press a little hard) and if it's not time to wake up, The Owl's belly turns yellow and says "It's not time to wake yet, go back to sleep now" (or something) and plays soft bedtime music. If it's closer to the wakeup time that's set it says something like, "It's not time to wake yet, just a little bit longer" and, again, plays soft bedtime music.
When the time is reached that's set for wakeup, The Owl turns green and stays lit for 20 minutes (I think) or until you press its belly. Then, when you press the belly, The Owl says, "It's OK to wake now!" and plays an upbeat song before turning off.
Lovie ADORES when it lights up green. It could be 5:30 in the morning during the week and if she sees it's green, she instantly smiles and asks me to press the belly to play the music so she can dance along with it (incidentally, if I press the belly at bedtime and it turns yellow, she doesn't like it all and asks to shut it off immediately).
It took several weekends before she'd stop calling for us if she woke before The Owl turned green, but once she realized that she had to stay in bed till it was green, she learned to just chill out till then. And once it's green, she lights up (along with The Owl) and shouts out, "Mama! Daddy! It's green! It's time to get up!" which Mama can handle much better than at 5:45AM.
Amazon (where I purchased The Owl) and the makers of The Owl do not know I exist. I'm not being compensated in any way to review this. These are just my opinions.