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Why I Won't Cut The (Monitor) Cord

Jun 16, 2014 | Updated Aug 16, 2014
Michelle Longo

I realized my eyes were closed and I didn't remember the last page I had read, so it was obviously time for sleep. I got up, turned off the light, then crawled back into bed. The sleeping conditions were perfect: a cool breeze and complete exhaustion. I figured I'd be unconscious in five... four... three... two...

Mmm-hmmm. No. Over there. Yes. [Unintelligible muttering]

My eyes popped open. Out loud, to no one in particular, I said, "You have GOT to be effing kidding me."

It seemed Nathan had been partially awakened by the sound of the light switch or the mattress compressing under my weight and now he was talking in his sleep. His little outburst meant I was now once again wide awake.

When he was a baby, the first sound of him stirring meant I needed to immediately stop whatever I was doing, even if that was just blinking or breathing. If I could remain completely still, maybe he'd go back to sleep. It rarely worked. It seemed fitting, though, since the sound of him sighing was enough to wake me back then. He and I were stuck in a vicious cycle. The thing was, I'd have given anything to make it stop -- whereas he seemed to take some sort of sadistic infant pleasure from making sure I never slept more than two hours at a clip.

But that was a long time ago, and I am no longer so sleep-deprived that I believe my child is evil and deliberately trying to keep me awake. However, I think it's fair to point out that often as I'm about to drift off, this kid starts to stir and his voice comes over the monitor and --

Oh, did I fail to mention the monitor?

Yes, so my kid is 7 and a half and I still have a baby monitor. I'm aware that these are intended for babies, otherwise they'd be called child monitors or practically-a-tween monitors. I know hearing his every move is a big part of the reason I have trouble sleeping. Everyone has suggested that I turn the thing off. I have yet to find even one person on my side on this one, even with my very good excuses.

He hasn't had a night terror in months, but what if he has one tonight? My kid doesn't get up if he needs me -- he just calls me from his bed. So if he had a bad dream, or misses me, is too hot or too cold, or just needs to tell me how tired he is at 2 a.m., there really isn't any other way for me to know unless the monitor is on. This is for his safety, really.

I don't care what anyone says. I'm not a helicopter mom. So what if I still hold his hand until he falls asleep or I chaperone school events just so I can keep an eye on him? And maybe I still listen to him sleep and even use that monitor to spy on playdates when I can't be in the room. None of this indicates a pattern of excessive hovering.

He's only 7. It's not like he's 10. That would be excessive. I'll turn it off by 10. Twelve at the latest.

Definitely before college. I don't need to sleep before then, do I? And honestly, what's there to worry about when he's in college?

This post originally appeared on Michelle Longo's personal blog, The Michelle Longo.

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