Sometimes, when Ryan is napping and the house is especially quiet, I think I hear the slight electric hum of the monitor.
But that’s not possible. Because finally, after more than three years, we turned it off and packed it away.
I have no idea how long is “normal” to use a monitor. I’m pretty sure we surpassed it. But as solid sleepers, we’ve always liked the peace of mind it brought us to know that if Ryan woke up and yelled for us, we would hear him.
Maybe some parents stop using it when their child makes the move to a regular bed. But in our case, Ryan didn’t capitalize on his newfound freedom; he would sit on the bed and yell for us the same as if he were still barred in.
Naturally, we didn’t encourage him to start coming out of the room on his own. The less a three-year-old is wandering around a house when you don’t know it, the better. So we kept encouraging him to call for us if he needed something, milking those extra months of slight control for all they were worth.
Until one day when we were over at my in-laws watching football. We put Ryan up in his room for a nap and somewhere around halftime, we heard the door to the family room open and click shut as dude nonchalantly walked into the room to start playing. He’d woken up, jumped down off the bed and waltzed down the stairs without any warning from the trusty monitor.
As the next couple of weeks went by, he started waking up in the morning without a sound, swinging open his door and calling out down the hallway: “Hello??”
So one night when our old, cheap monitor was throwing off some particularly harsh feedback, I sighed and turned it off.
We never switched it back on.
We can no longer hear him chatting quietly to himself as he drifts off. We can’t hear his head swishing back and forth in his bed as he rocks himself to sleep.
It’s half freeing and half sad.
Freeing to not have to worry about constantly bringing it upstairs for nighttime and back downstairs for nap time. Sad to think he’s old enough and self-sufficient enough that we don’t need to be constantly listening in.
Another big milestone come and gone, the only evidence being a dusty piece of plastic, wrapped in its own cord, perched on a shelf in the basement.