Word Winding

attempting to spin cacophony into sanity

The Red Light Green Light Experiment

Owlet and Platypup are over the moon about their baby sister. Truly. Platypup even says she’s the one he loves most in the world. (The rest of us try not to feel like chopped liver about it.)


But that doesn’t mean this is a seamless transition from four to five for our family.

Cria is an easy baby thus far: she nurses, she sleeps, we change her diaper and take her to the loo, she nurses again, she sleeps again. There are moments of minor fussiness that quickly resolve. Usually the solution is burping… or spitting. And then more milk.


Even an “easy” baby is still a major upheaval for older siblings, though, especially those who are toddler/preschool age. Platypup may be the sweetest, gentlest big brother *with* Cria, but with the rest of us chickens he has become an irrational short fuse on a powerful set of lungs. To make matters worse, he is more sensitive to others yelling and screaming than the average kid… And Owlet’s typical response to any perceived slights against her is to — yup, you guessed it, yell and scream. (At least at home. Hardly anyone believes me because she’s a model citizen out in public.)

So they’ve both been doing their best to ensure Cria develops the ability to sleep through at least 120 decibels. Which will surely come in handy later, but Thor and I may go mad in the meantime if we can’t turn this train around and find the mild-mannered sweethearts we fear we have inadvertently swapped for banshees.

Enter red light, green light.

We are far from the first to apply traffic signals to parenting. But during the course of a surprisingly cordial family brainstorm session on restoring the peace, we came up with a promising take on it.

Instead of “no” or “stop,” both of which are apparently rubbish within the confines of our home even though they continue to work perfectly well outside of it, we are trying to adhere to the following:

Step one: say “red light.”
[Person stops. Hopefully. Otherwise skip steps two and three and go straight to cacophony.]
Step two: explain why.
Step three: when the issue is resolved, say “green light.”
[All is peace love and puppies.]

It’s worked for the hour between implementation and bedtime this evening. How long will it last?


I dunno. Wish us luck!


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