Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thursdays with Trixie

Trixie and I were chatting via messenger, as we do many nights a week, and she tells me that she is almost done with the post and is going to send it to me.  I ask her what it is about and when she tells me, I start shaking my head.  I don't know if it is funnier that she has done what she has done or that I could totally see myself doing the same thing.  It will be interesting to hear your take on this story...

We have two baby monitors. You might assume, based on that fact, that our house is large, or that our two children each have their own bedrooms. Oh, silly, silly reader. You would be so very wrong. Our house is a tiny bungalow, not more than 1250 square feet. The bedroom that my two kids share is mere inches from our own. If anything were to happen in their bedroom, I believe that we could hear it from every part of our house. And yet, two monitors. It is hard, I was just saying to Mommy C, to explain how these things happen.

But it’s not, really. This is how it happens. First, you have your first baby, and of COURSE you need a baby monitor. Doesn’t matter if you live in a one room shack, you get a baby monitor because the baby people have convinced you that there is a certain set of things you MUST HAVE BEFORE YOU HAVE A BABY IN YOUR HOUSE. When you are pregnant with your first born, you are so worried about being a parent that you listen to everyone, especially when it comes to what to register for for the baby shower. Oh, the baby people are smart. Registering for a baby shower is much worse than registering for your wedding shower. I remember. I remember thinking, oh, this will be easy. I’ve registered for things before. I’ve walked the aisles of a store with one of those cool-o shopping guns. Fun, fun, fun.

But no, not fun. Stress. With wedding shower stuff, it really, at the end of the day, doesn’t matter which martini shaker you get. But with baby shower stuff, the baby people pound it in to you that what you get your baby matters very much indeed. Sure, you could get X version, which is inexpensive and simple. But, boy, if you REALLY loved your future baby, you would get this expensive, complicated doo-hicky. Or this one. Or that one. They’re not all that specific about which one is really right, just to drive you that little bit of extra crazy. So you pace the aisles with your lists of items, trying to make sure that you have everything that you need to make you a better parent. [Editor's note: As I read this I picture some baby product exec, looking something like Mr. Burns, heckling parents-to-be.]

And one of those items is a baby monitor. A fairly simple concept - a device with a receiving end that you place in the nursery, and a broadcasting end that you have with you. But just as sure as the fact that babies can sense when you’ve decided to relax with a glass of wine, the baby people have come up with a zillion different kinds of baby monitors for you to try to wade through. There are monitors that listen, monitors that check breathing, video monitors, two-way monitors, monitors that hook up to your tv, monitors with one channel, monitors with 100 channels. Trying to figure this out, I felt like someone from a third world country might feel standing in front of the toothpaste aisle at the Safeway. Overwhelmed? Um, yes.

So I did what everyone else does: I asked around. I spoke with my neighbor, a wonderful mommy with children slightly older than mine. She got a particular audio monitor and liked it, so I got that too. And it works just fine. Except (1) it gives off a lot of white noise all of the time; and (2) it has two channels, and one of them very clearly picks up my neighbor’s kids’ room. We took the other channel, and agreed on the honor system to not listen in on the other channel unless asked. Still, I try not to have any really big fights with my husband in the kids’ room just in case. I move us to the other bedroom three inches away, where I’m sure NO one can hear us. Totally.

But then, my Monkey got a little older, and sometimes, he would make noises that were hard to discern. You know how that goes. You are sitting happily in the living room, having that aforementioned glass of wine. Suddenly a noise. You pause the TV. What was that? Is he ok? Is that a “I’m stuck between the slats of my crib” cry? Or a “I’m testing my parents for fun” cry? Do we go in? Do we let him work it out? Follow that with endless debate, a few sharp words, a rushed decision to go in and “peek,” and finish it up with extended crying because he spied you peeking and is now pissed that you haven’t picked him up. Great.

Around the 7,000,000,001th time that happened, I began to crave a video monitor. This lousy audio monitor is so limited! I complained. We soon will have two kids! I rationalized. Finally, my husband caved, and we decided to get one. Which one to get? By baby No. 2, you are somewhat immune to the baby people. We asked neighbor mommy which one they had, and got that one. Yay! A video monitor. I can see what the noises are. I can tell when blankie has fallen and a rescue is required. I can watch in endless fascination as he puts himself to sleep. I can, naturally, also switch over to the other channel and watch the neighbor kids. Yikes. Again, a meeting of the minds, and again, a commitment not to walk naked through the kids’ rooms. Which, ok, I probably shouldn’t be doing anyway, but a good reminder is always welcome.

However, video monitor has some drawbacks, largest among them is the very loud feedback noise it makes about every 5 minutes. Very annoying. Now the white noise of audio monitor seems downright soothing. For a while, we had one monitor watching over Monkey in his room, and one watching over LambChop in the bassinet in our room. Yes, you read that right. We had a monitor In. Our. Own. Room. So we could hear her in the living room, duh. Don’t judge, you know it’s not enough just to hear the big cries. You have to hear ALL of the noises, so you can analyze them endlessly. Really, now that I think about it, the video monitor destroys the one night time game my husband and I really like to play (ok, the OTHER night time game....) : “what’s that sound?”

Anyway, now they are in the same room, and rather than get rid of one monitor, which would likely have been the sane thing to do, we now have BOTH monitors in their room. The audio monitor, so that we can listen to the white noise and any sounds they make, and the video monitor (with the sound turned off to avoid the annoying feedback), so we can check the video as a supplement to the “what’s that sound” game. You see how that makes perfect sense, right? Right?
*sigh* I would feel like a complete lunatic at this point, but I just found out that my neighbor mommy has gotten a THIRD monitor for her (similarly sized) house. It is an audio monitor with many channels, some of which make no sounds at all. Hmmmm....maybe I should check that monitor out too....


Rebekah @ Mom-In-A-Million said...

We broke the monitor cycle when we moved into out new house and the monitor started picking up conservative talk radio. I can't sleep with that going on all night. I'd have nightmares. And since our son is two years old and capable of calling "Daddy? Daddy!" very clearly in the middle of the night, I feel good about this. Especially the part where he calls for Daddy and not me.

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