We both accomplished our missions. By the time CV got back, the kids and I were snuggled in on the couch watching Dora. CV was able to put the light up, and when Dora was over, we all had a talk about the Magic Light: on means talking is OK, off means time for sleep. Riley, ever resistant to new experiences, was skeptical of the whole thing, but went to bed without a fuss.
At 5:45 a.m., I heard Riley talking. This is already a big improvement over 4:45 a.m., but since the star was not set to go on until 6:00, I decided to intervene. I snuck in the kids' room.
"Riley, is the star on?"
"Is it OK to talk?"
"I'll lie here with you until the star comes on. Try to sleep some more."
Time passes. What seems like quite a bit of time passes. I check the clock. 6:15! Star malfunction! I switch it on manually.
"Mama!" said Riley, whispering. "That star is beautiful."
"Yes, it is. And what does it mean?"
"I can talk now, Mama?"
"Yes, Love, you can, but quietly."
At this point, Maddie and N were awake, too. I reminded them to talk quietly, and said that it wasn't time to get up yet and that I was going back to bed for a bit. They talked, albeit not quietly, for another 15 minutes or so, and I got them all up at 6:30. I think it's going to take a while for the Rules of the Star to be obeyed, but I think it's going to work. I hope it's going to work. In any case, I feel better for trying something and for keeping my cool in today's early morning hours.