Reading In the Dark
When our youngest turned 18 months, a time when most people are packing away their baby paraphernalia, my husband and I purchased our first video monitor. We had managed to resist the temptation of until then, relying on a standard monitor with terrible reception at first, and soon after, on our children's lung power to alert us to any problems.
At 18 months, however, our daughter began experiencing febrile seizures - an unwelcome side effect of preschool, a developing immune system, and a tendency towards ear infections- and our nights of being blissfully unaware of what was going on behind closed doors were over.
As I knew would be the case, my husband and I were immediately and completely addicted to the video monitor, checking it every few minutes, reacting to every sound, and reveling in how adorable our children are in sleep (even if they aren't always when awake!).The unexpected bonus of our new video monitor, however, was our new found ability to witness our 18 month old's nightly ritual.
Bathed in a neon green light, our child places "Zebra" (her lovie) gently on the pillow beside her, and makes sure that her baby doll is resting comfortably nearby holding its own lovie. Next, she picks up her two blankets, methodically tucking all three of them in. Finally, and most delightful of all, she picks up a books and performs a dramatic read aloud for her nighttime guests!
For the next half-hour or so, our monitor broadcasts a constant stream of gibberish punctuated by clearly enunciated tidbits like "moon," "hush" and "mush." Our 18 month old flips the pages forwards and backwards, sometimes page by page and other time in large sections, as she angles the pictures towards her "babies" and points out important details in the accompanying pictures. Surprisingly, my child who can barely sit still for a pre-bed reading of her favorite book, reads herself to sleep.
And all of a sudden, the ridiculously expensive and addictive video monitor is worth it!