Sunday, January 13, 2008

Humbling new-parent moment #642:

Realizing you're not smart enough to design a baby monitor.

When we first started using the baby monitor I was irritated by all of the static and interference. I don't know if various models differ. If, for example, spending $100 is enough to get a quality product? Or, do you have to upgrade to DECT technology and spend $200? Is an audio device sufficient? Or do you need to spend $220? Which seems like a bargain when it includes a flat screen video monitor! All things being equal, we agree with the Quakers, that the 4th amendment protects even the baby against illegal spying. Also, though we know very little about these devices, we knew (as pawns of the "keeping baby safe" billion dollar industry in the USA) we had to own one. So we registered NOT for the cheapest of it's kind ($19.99), BUT, well... just about...

At $29.99, our baby's monitor promises very little (see the wildly hilarious mixed reviews at the bottom of the link) yet demonstrates first and foremost that we care enough about our baby to use an item that is NOT THE CHEAPEST ONE AVAILABLE!!!

Delivering 2 weeks early and feeling overwhelmed (I refute those that might call it pure laziness) throughout late pregnancy and early motherhood, we owned the monitor months before we took it out of the box or plugged it in (which happened about 10 minutes before JB was put down for the first time to sleep in his own room about a month ago).

I did initially regret not spending more (well, asking the folks that bought things off our registry to spend more). One of the worst features, in addition to the occasional static interference and the tendency for the device to either pick up too much noise or too little noise, I discovered one night when the baby was sleeping downstairs near one of the portable receivers. I was upstairs in the baby's room and in a moment dedicated to decreasing our carbon footprint, switched the monitor off since the baby was not present IN the room to be monitored. Turning the monitor off caused a squealing, screeching ruckus to pour out of the two remote receivers. This woke the baby up and caused him distress, and I was a little PEA-OWED! "What is wrong with these baby monitor designers!?!" I muttered incoherently as I soothed the boy back to sleep.

Then last week I had my second rush-to-judgment toward the monitor's makers. I'll admit it, I was being a hater, inappropriately. It went like this: I was lying in bed, listening to the tiniest amount of static behind which I could identify the dripping of the humidifier in JB's room, and just under that, the nearly silent respiratory pattern of the boy himself. As often happens during a moment of peace experienced by a new mom, my scattered thoughts drifted toward midnight intruders and child abduction. I was about to rant to katy that the baby monitor was useless if someone could come in and shut it off without us knowing, and then scurry off with our most prized possession. Thanks for the false sense of security Mr and Mrs "Safety 1st safe glow" monitor maker!!!

It wasn't until the next morning that I realized our monitor (cheap though it might be) does offer a type of kidnapping prevention... The squealing, screeching ruckus that nearly caused me to return it to the store demanding a replacement, was likely an intentional part of the design.

Sometimes I feel like I'm re-inventing the wheel every minute of the day...
And it's all I can do to keep my mouth shut and not to embarrass myself by the glacial pace at which my neurons are firing.

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