7 Reasons Blackout Blinds Are Surprisingly Effective
My wife and I are trying to train our child to recognise the difference between day and night at the moment and the latest weapon in our armoury is a blackout blind: a blind which prevents any light coming through the window. This, we not unreasonably thought, would prevent our six-week old son waking up at 5am when sunlight streams through our East facing bedroom window and would help him get into a settled routine of sleeping at night. So far, it has proved effective (after a fashion).
1. Fitting. As the member of the 7 Reasons team that is competent at DIY I envisaged that there would be no problems installing our blind, and I was almost correct. It was incredibly simple to fit, with only a bit of light drilling required. And it was simple right up until the moment – while I was balanced precariously atop a step-ladder – that everything went dark. Not just dim, you should understand, but dark. Preternaturally dark. Darker than spending a dark night in the darkest room of the Prince of Darkness wearing a sleeping mask. Darker than anything ever. There was no light. “Help!” “Help!” I called until my wife came up the stairs and opened the door, flooding the room with light from the hallway. “It all went dark”, I explained to a sceptical wife who couldn’t comprehend – or didn’t believe – that something as insubstantial as a piece of material could block out all light. I climbed down from the ladder with my reputation for DIY prowess, if not my dignity, intact.
2. Baby’s Bedtime. In the evening our son fell asleep before we expected him to and, rather than look a gift horse (or a sleeping baby, which is a very similar creature to a gift horse) in the mouth, we decided we would put him to bed right then. We gingerly carried him up the stairs and swaddled him in his cot. We began to sneak out of the room and paused to close the blind on the way. Everything went black. We couldn’t see a thing. We partially raised the blind again so that we could find the light switch and turned on the light so that we could see the door and find our way out. This woke the baby. Bugger.
3. Mummy’s Bedtime. Eventually, we were able to get our son back to sleep and, quite soon after, my wife snuck up to bed. I have little idea what happened, but after a couple of minutes, from my position in the room below, I heard a loud bang, followed about thirty seconds later by the noise of the baby crying. Then I heard the sound of my wife trying to placate the crying baby with a cuddly toy, before my parental selective deafness kicked in and I returned to what I was doing.
4. Daddy’s Bedtime. Eventually, the baby became quiet again and, having spent the remainder of a fascinating evening reconfiguring the 7 Reasons W3 Total Cache plugin and our email servers*, it was time for me to go to bed. I went up the stairs and changed in another room, so as not to disturb anyone. Then I snuck across the landing into the bedroom and closed the door noiselessly behind me. Where once there would have had been some residual light filtering through the blind to aid my navigation across the room, now there was none. I knew roughly where the bed was though, and I took several tentative steps toward it before stumbling over something and letting out an involuntary scream as I lost my balance and landed in a heap on the bed.
5. “AAAAARRRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!” Shrieked a lump in the bed from beneath me as, in the pitch darkness, a screaming and unknown assailant pounced on her. I groped around for the switch to the bedside light and, finding it quickly, turned it on. I looked behind me to see what was on the floor. “Are you drunk?”, the now slightly calmer lump in the bed enquired. “I fell over an owl,” I replied.
6. “WWWWAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!!” Said a tiny voice from the other side of the room reacting to the sudden light. Eventually we were able to get him back to sleep.
7. Sleep. I was unaware of what occurred during the remainder of the night. I have since been told that the usual cycle of the baby waking up and requiring feeding and changing carried on unaltered by the loss of the light. I was told that this morning when, after what I can only describe as the most blissfully tranquil sleep of my life, my rather tired looking wife shook me awake and informed me it was 11am and that we were going to be late for our lunch appointment. “But it can’t be”, I replied, “It’s still pitch black”.
So there you have it. Blackout blinds do work, and you can use them to lull the unsuspecting into sleeping longer and later. They just don’t work on babies.
*I had hoped to watch a couple of episodes of Bergerac. We sacrifice a lot for 7 Reasons.