Voyeur

A week and a half ago, the dumpling woke me up at 6:30 in the morning, howling. He usually wakes up happy in the morning, so this was odd. When I went in to get him, I immediately noticed he’d made a 180 degree turn, with his head on the opposite side of the crib from where I’d laid him down. As I squinted down at him in the darkness, I suddenly realized I was also looking at the back of his head. Great.

He was clearly less than pleased to find himself on his belly, with no way to get back to his back. For the record, this was the first time he’d EVER rolled back to tummy (or even tummy to back, for that matter – first roll ever). He’s always stopped at his side when laying on his back and he’s never, ever attempted rolling out of the tummy position.

Alas, it was time to purchase a video monitor.

Back when I was pregnant (or even shortly after birth), as I scrolled through the recommendations for monitors, I couldn’t fathom getting a video monitor. Why do I need to watch my baby all the time? Ugh. So many crazy, helicopter parents out there that NEED to watch their child 24/7. All I could think about was the casual stories from moms on my birth board who carried their video monitor around the house and couldn’t do anything during nap time except watch the baby sleep – checking again and again to see if they were breathing and wondering if they were too hot or cold and was that a cough?! RELAX – is what I wanted to tell them. When I bought a monitor at two months (when we moved the dumpling into his room), I purchased a fairly inexpensive unit with sound capabilities only. I liked it a lot and figured we’d be all set.

As is (always?) the case with parenting, I’m eating my words now. As the dumpling becomes more mobile, I realized that I wanted the ability to check on him without disturbing him. Plus, when he wakes up in the morning, he’s usually so quiet that we’re often left wondering exactly how long he’s been awake in there. So, back to the monitor recommendations I went, hunting for a well-reviewed video monitor.

(Side note – I really like Baby Gear Lab for this sort of stuff. We bought our high chair based on their recommendations and I LOVE it. The monitor has been a great buy as well. Plus I just really like reading through their reviews on everything from strollers to diapers (both cloth and disposable) to breast pumps. Very entertaining, if you’re me and easily entertained.)

I hemmed and hawed for a while weighing the pros and cons of each, as is my nature. I finally settled on the iBaby Monitor, even though the Amazon reviews weren’t as stellar as Baby Gear Lab’s. It came in last week and I LOVE it. It doesn’t have a dedicated receiver; you use an app on your phone or iPad. I chose to use our iPad because I had read that it can be a resource hog (for obvious reasons). I love being able to bring up the app to make sure he gets to sleep. When he’s fussing, we’re able to tell if his eyes are open (he’s probably actually annoyed and we should go in) or closed (he’s basically just talking to himself, let him be). When I wake up in the morning, I bring the app up to make sure he’s still asleep and check on  him periodically until he wakes up. (He’s seriously super quiet in the mornings and it’s very hard to tell over the sound monitor alone that he’s awake.) It was a godsend over the weekend when the dumpling suddenly decided to add his newly acquired screeching skillz to his protest cries and the sounds we heard over the monitor seemed unearthly yet the video feed revealed him to be mostly calm.

I did pause though, our first night using it. A slightly creepy feeling washed over me as I watched my son drift off to sleep. I felt like a voyeur, peering in on a private moment. I turned the app off as soon as he was asleep and I kept it off through the night, only bringing it up to check on him when he stirred. I wondered if every parent felt that way, peeking at their children through video monitors. I definitely like having it and can see myself using it for years to come (especially when the dumpling’s transitioned into a toddler bed – oh lordy), but I don’t think I’ll ever be one of those parents glued to the monitor. The kid needs some space, you know?

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