Sunday, May 13, 2012

Caregiver Aids #14: Video Baby Monitor

Why didn't I think of this before?

Skip spends a lot of time in the bedroom. I am in there with her quite a bit, but am often elsewhere in the house or garage. And, now that I've started my new part-time job, I'm working downstairs (here and there) in the family room, so I can close the door and cut off the sound of dog barking while I'm on the phone. Basically, I'm often out of earshot. When Skip wants something, I hear mumble, mumble, mumble, occasionally catching a word or two. Sometimes she calls my cell phone. So, I have to go into the bedroom to find out what Skip needs. The call out for assistance (that I perceive as a "come here now" demand) followed by the need to perform the task, which I often view as trivial (but face it, Skip can't get it done without my assistance), can trigger crankiness. I'm wondering why this isn't listed as a cranky reason.

When I was still employed full-time, we briefly tried a walkie talkie to communicate between rooms. Unfortunately, Skip's hands don't work well enough to operate the buttons so the experiment was a failure. I resigned myself to being summoned by mumble, mumble, mumble for the years to come.

There's a jewelry store ad running on tv that uses a video baby monitor as a prop in the story. I knew there were audio baby monitors, which I assumed only communicated one-way, but never thought that there were video ones. I took a brief look on Amazon to find a huge array of video monitors, but didn't make a decision on which to purchase. Skip and I talked about how she could signal me by waving her hand so, even if I was on the phone, I'd know she needed me. Last night, we watched an episode of The Mentalist on the DVR and saw a baby video monitor used as a plot device. This time, I saw it included 2-way communication, which I didn't realize existed, but which makes sense if I'd thought about it.

So, today I ordered the setup above on Amazon. It's got all the features I'm interested in plus a few we'll never use. Interesting features: 2.8" video monitor, mute on my end, wireless connection up to 600', secure connection to protect privacy, 2-way communication. Unnecessary features that parents will like: infrared camera for night visibility, in-room temperature monitor and 5 pre-loaded lullabys. The info on Amazon said you can use the 2-way communication to sing or speak to your baby. I've already warned Skip she'll be hearing my singing soon! Best feature of all: it's returnable for up to 365 days, as Amazon has a special return deal for baby items. So, if it turns out not to meet our needs, we can return it and try a different one.


steve said...

Certainly you didn't think your little "now that I've started my new part-time job" comment would go unnoticed. For a woman who has "never found a job that aligned with the things I’m passionate about," the gentle reader must wonder, have the stars have aligned?


Cranky said...

Steve - hey! Hope all is going well with you.

It's a terrible thing when your own words can be quoted back to you! :-)

Well, the stars have not aligned for me so that job = passion. But, they have aligned with respect to the kind of job I feel I can take on without overloading myself. I am working for a small company owned by the guy who was my boss at a benefits consulting firm for 11 years, so we know, like and respect each other very much. I can make some dough, work relatively short hours and all from home.

Patrick said...

Back in the dawn of time, we did use a baby monitor. Patti's progression coincided with our toddler daughter's mobility. Monitor left one room to take up residence in another when I was down stairs, in the yard, etc. In fact those earliest models in late 80's early 90's could work almost a block away.

SirFWALGMan said...

Seems like a 365 return policy would be bad for Amazon.. I mean buy the monitor when you need it.. and a year later when you do not return it... which marketing guy came up with that?

You can key code the lullaby's to mean something too.. like if I play twinkle star I am busy on the phone but will get to you in a second.. or if I play Mary had a little lamb that means stop pissing me off! heh.

The baby monitors seem more to me like Spy Cams or something. Pretty cool!

Muffie said...

I bought a video baby monitor for the school where I was principal. I couldn't afford a full security system for our front office, and this served the purpose.
Now we have one for our little grandie, but he doesn't use the 2-way feature -- yet!

Cranky said...

Patrick - I bet the audio only monitors could transmit much further than the greater bandwidth needed for video. Fortunately, in our condo, I will have no yardwork!

Waffles - I know, that return policy is crazy! I really like your idea of using the different lullabys to signal Skip. At the very least, she'll have acknowledgment from me, like a 10-4, that I saw her signal. There definitely is a Spy Cam element ... very high tech!

Muffie - I saw you can add cameras to this system, so it could be used throughout the unit (or a school, as the case may be). Great idea for your school.

kmilyun said...

yeah on the job!
cool - the baby monitor
and boo for the silly words I now have to figure out and type to post my what was a two line comment because the cyber world is full of spam.

Cranky said...

Jan - I hate those word verification things!