We have a baby monitor. We do not use it to monitor the baby. Instead it is a weapon against wandering toddlers in the middle of the night. It is one of those under-mattress sensor pad ones, that alarms if the baby stops breathing in the middle of the night. Over anxious parents (like me) buy them for their newborns because they are afraid of cot death (or in my case, of their newborn removing his oxygen supply whilst asleep and asphyxiating). Now I have more experience and have read the internet, I know you’re not likely to get an alarm from one of these things until its way too late to resuscitate your baby, so they are a bit useless for the stated purpose. (It must be true, its on the internet.)
Not so for the wandering toddler. An alarm which beeps when it feels no breathing motion is an alarm that can detect a small boy who has decided toys are a more appropriate pasttime at 2am than sleeping. Without an alarm, this behaviour is hard to detect, especially if you’re not on the same floor as said boy. After 2 attempts at sneaking out of bed, ending in 2 floods of tears at the pesky alarm noise, our eldest decided that it’s not worth the trouble of being rumbled before you’ve got your cars out of the garage.
A second feature of the alarm is a blue night light which you can switch on. Nathan is fascinated by all forms of traffic and recently we have been learning some road safety by talking about the red man and the green man at pedestrian crossings. “Red man says stop”, “Green man says go” are often receited as we drive down the road. Well in our house, “blue light says stay in bed”. It seems to work, although now I worry less about a rogue toddler in the wee small hours and more about a frightened toddler in a house fire trying to decide between running from the flames and obeying the blue light. Motherhood – pure stress!
The alarm also comes with a remote monitor, so you can put the baby to sleep in one room then go elsewhere in the house and hear what’s going on. It has a microphone, a room thermometer, and of course it links to the under mattress sensor thing.
All of which pre-amble brings me to the point of this post – the sweet things you hear when your toddler has been settled down for the night. All of this is new to us since Nathan only started talking a couple of months ago. Most nights we stay with him until he’s very sleepy as small boys can’t be trusted to stay in bed and go to sleep if they’re not most of the way there already. (well, mine can’t). Sometimes though he is still fairly awake when we leave him. These are the nights I cherish – I rush downstaris to the remote monitor and turn it on, and wait for the monologue. Sometimes it’s just a solitary “bye bye mummy” as he ponders my absence from his bedside. Sometimes he admonishes himself to “stay in bed, go to sleep, good boy”. And sometimes he treats me to a much longer chat where his words are not always decipherable – perhaps including “daddy at work”, “grandma grandad house saturday today wednesday”, repeating the end of prayers “Jesus-Christ-name-amen”, or the super cute “it ok babe Sam-el dont need cry”. Sometimes it’s a lonely “mummy come see me soon” which is both a request and a repeat of my promise to look in on him on my way to bed.
Occasionally I’ll come downstairs and turn the monitor on whilst Darren is still settling Nathan, and I get to hear their (semi) private conversation. I think I will never get over how lovely it is to hear the man I love and the child we share bonding over a bedtime chat.
Right now we are all sharing a bedroom, as we have not yet cleared enough boxes to fit a double bed in the master bedroom of number 10 (the room is currently called “the garage” as thats where most of the contents used to live). I am staying up late to complete a few household chores (midnight washing up, my life is so glamorous), and of course writing a blog entry is an absolute must. Darren has gone to bed, Nathan was in bed hours ago, and Samuel is sleeping by my side downstairs. Usually the first one in bed turns the monitor off. Tonight we forgot and left it on. I’m sitting in the living room listening to 2 boys – one grown up and one still little – both snoring away. Every time the big one lets out a big snore, the little one gives a big sigh, turns over, and starts snoring again. It is the sound of a contented household. And so to bed, to add one more snore into the mix. Samuel’s… of course I don’t snore. 😉