Monday, May 27, 2013

Monkeys and monitors

I finally decided to take down the baby monitors today.  Given that my first child is 8, the twins will be four in a couple of months, and we haven't used them in months, this may make you wonder, "What the heck took so long?"  It's that silly step that makes you officially say, "I'm all done with babies."  Don't get me wrong - I don't want anymore children.  But there is something about babies...yes, they cry, they spit-up, they fuss all hours of the night...but a baby makes no demands on your mind, your soul.  They are the perfect confident, the best snugglers ever.  Their helplessness and dependence on's both terrifying and endearing, and I can't help but be sad.  We took down the gates last month, the gates that we put up with Princess C, our first child...and now I dismantle the baby monitors...

So why now?  More importantly, what is this woman doing with a baby monitor on her perfectly healthy, intelligent, and capable 8 year old?  Well, when Princess C was 5, we were discussing taking down her monitor.  She is our first, and it can be harder to let go of the first sometimes.  After all, this monitor had been with us for five years, and it was my lifeline at night, when I sprang bolt upright in bed for no seeming reason. I'd listen for the reassuring sounds of her breathing (after I smacked my DH and made him roll over because I couldn't hear ANYTHING over his snoring).  The rhythm of her breathing would soothe me back to sleep. Or I'd realize she was having a nightmare, coughing...for some reason needed me to drag my weary butt out of bed.  That was when I'd curse (but deep down, bless) that silly monitor...

So here she is, 5 years old, and we've got infant twins in the house.  Two sets of monitors in the kitchen and the bedroom.  I'd wake up and strain to figure out who was breathing (all of them, of course, but at 2am when you explode into wakefulness, you are CERTAIN someone has stopped breathing...which was usually my DH, temporarily, thanks to his sleep apnea.  But I digress...)  Do we really need this?  We decided to get rid of them, when Princess C entered this absolutely HILARIOUS stage!

Of course, no child likes to hear no.  And how often do they react with good grace and humor, especially if denied something they MUST HAVE RIGHT NOW or else the world will end and she'll just absolutely DIE!!  (Yes, I'm already in dread of the teenage years).  She'd get the dreaded no, and she'd stomp off to her room, muttering under her breath.  Typically she'd flop down on her bed (right next to the monitor), and she'd start with the most dire imprecations:

"I jus' wanted some dessert and mommy said, 'No!' because she doesn't love me anymore...and if she doesn't love me, I'm not gonna stay!  I'm gonna go...I'm gonna run the zoo!  I'll go to the zoo!  'Cause the monkeys'll let me sleep with them...and I can get a elebant [elephant] to give me a shower.  All I want is one banana.  The monkeys'll share a banana.  They got lots.  Jus' one lil ol' banana...I said dessert, and she said, 'No' without asking what I wanted...jus' a banana...and a little chocolate.  Bet I can find that at the zoo...and I won' hafta shower...'cause the aminals don't care if I'm stinky...I'm not stinky...mama says I'm stinky and hafta shower..."

For the record - "dessert" and "banana" were not synonymous until AFTER the denial.  I'm pretty sure, had I asked before saying, "No," a banana would not have come anywhere NEAR the request.

I'm at the kitchen sink, preparing to do the dishes, when I hear this rant...and I'm transfixed!  I whisper to my DH to come quickly, and we sit next to this monitor, desperately attempting to shush our peals of laughter so we can hear.  We've got this monitor turned up as high as possible in an effort to hear EVERY word.  She just continues going on - I'm sorry I can't remember the rest.  It was AWESOME!  We look at each other, and then DH raises an eyebrow suggestively before grabbing a banana and heading to her room.  He leans against the door frame, peeling the banana, and looks around her room.  "You gonna get undressed for your shower?" he asks nonchalantly, as he takes a bite of his banana.  Princess C is clearly the most picked on child in the world.  "Yes," she gulps.  Taking pity on her, DH asks, "Do you want a bite of my banana?"  She sniffs pitiably, and nods.  He offers her a bite.  She takes it, pride slightly assuaged.  They share some more bites.  DH asks, "Am I as good as a monkey?"  Princess C, now feeling much better, giggles.  "Oh Daddy!  You are the best monkey ever!"

And I thought I married an ape!  ;-)  I love you, honey!!

This stage lasted about a year and a half.  I admit it - there were days when she was driving me nuts and I was sorely tempted to deny her something just to get the rant.  I really tried not to...although I'm not perfect, so I can't say it never happened...Jesus still loves me, right?

And it just worked out that we never took down the monitors until I realized today that I hadn't turned any of them on in months.  Why don't I keep them up for the twins, you wonder?  Seriously?  My house is the size of a postage stamp!  And these girls don't know the MEANING of quiet.  One day they will rant, but I guarantee you it will be at high volume!  If I'm quick enough, I'll record some of it!  Do you think Hallmark would like to use it in a new line of greeting cards?  The outside could say, "Sorry you are having a bad day."  The inside might read, "But there's always a way to make it better."  And then it would play my children, "My parents NEVER let me do anything fun...if they loved me, they'd let me jump outta that ol' tree with a cape tied around my neck so I could be a superhero and fly...stupid broken necks..."

Talk to the monkeys, honey...

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