Our storm loving girl

Ever since Namine was little, she has loved thunderstorms. Now, it’s helping her sleep even when the night weather is pleasant.

It’s been a hot minute since I first set up Namine’s voice-activated lights. I did so at first with a Raspberry Pi, before eventually moving it to a Google Mini. Since then, we’ve populated our house with them. They enable us to de/activate alarms and toggle even more lights throughout the house. Recently, I set up the one in Namine’s room to do one more thing, which helps her sleep.

Ever since she was a baby, before she even got rid of the oxygen tanks and tracheostomy tube, Namine has loved thunderstorms. When she was little, she would stay awake and sit up just to enjoy them. As she has grown, her knowledge of their potential destruction has not diminished her enjoyment of them.

Fairly recently, Namine found that she slept better with noise. She has a small fan in her room, so when I tucked her in at night I would turn it on before I left the room. Since the Google Mini is able to play relaxing sounds for extended periods of time, she experimented with the different sounds it could play. She didn’t care for most of them. Even the “fan” noise was that of an oscillating type, rather than the constant low drone of her own real fan. She eventually settled on one: thunderstorm.

It probably would have been fine to leave it at that: after tucking her in, saying “Hey Google, turn on thunderstorm sounds,” and turning on her fan. (It’s not just for the noise, since she likes it cooler, even in the winter.) But as a programmer, I am nothing if not a desire to automate in human skin.

We had bought a pack of smart plugs a while back, primarily for a couple lamps in the living room. I took one of the remaining two and set it up in Namine’s room and plugged the fan into it. Then using the Google Home app, I set up a new routine. I asked Namine what custom phrase she’d like to use; she said, “activate sleep mode.” Make it so, Number One.

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