When Betty was a few weeks old we decided that, although she was pretty good at making herself heard, we needed a baby monitor.
I remember reading the instructions. The description for the ‘Talk’ facility said something like: ‘Press and hold this button on the parent unit and speak into it to be heard by your baby’. And then it went on to say: ‘WARNING - THIS BUTTON SHOULD NOT BE USED AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROPER PARENTING’.
In the early days I only ever dared use this button once. Betty was grumbling in her cot one night and so I pressed the ‘Talk’ button and began singing to her sweetly in the hope of making her drift off to sleep. However, it had the opposite effect. She went berserk and screamed blue murder until I appeared in person to pacify her. Since then the button has been strictly off-limits.
Last week Tom had a nasty cold and so I made him sleep downstairs for a few days. One night Betty woke up at about 3am and in a whiney little voice began saying ‘No Postman Pat. No Postman Pat’ over and over and over again. Normally I would have asked Tom to go and sort out her disagreement with Pat, but since he wasn’t there I needed to deal with the situation myself. I was feeling huge and uncomfortable and unable to move easily and hoist myself out of bed, so in desperation I turned to the ‘Talk’ facility for the first time in over two years and gently said: ‘Betty my darling it’s time to go back to sleep now, we can talk about Postman Pat in the morning if you like, but right now it’s time to go to sleep’. Lo and behold, I didn’t hear another peep out of her until morning.
I have used this method successfully in the middle of the night a couple of times since. If the monitor company thinks I’m not a proper parent, I’m willing to live with that.