One of the most important pieces of baby gear that one should own--in my opinion--is a baby video monitor. We didn't buy one until Little Husband was around five months of age and I could have kicked myself for not getting one sooner. Not only does it give you incredible peace-of-mind as a new parent, it also serves as a great tool for sleep training. Thanks to the video, I knew exactly when I needed to go in and intervene while LH tried to fall asleep. I also knew when to leave him be and let him fall asleep on his own.
The video monitor also clued us in to the idiosyncrasies that befell our little man. If he's thrown all of his toys/blankets/pillow out of the crib, we knew that he had pooped his diaper. If he was standing and bellowing at his bedroom door, we knew that we were being too loud in the kitchen. We quickly learned that if he cried out in the middle of the night, it was because he was searching for his beloved "Blankie" in the dark. Once the object of his affection was found, he would contentedly drift off to sleep. Most important: if Blankie somehow fell out of the crib, we always knew to go into Little Husband's room and retrieve it for him.
Side bar: LH is not stupid. Once he realized the cause-and-effect of this action, he began "dropping" Blankie on the floor all the time. We're not stupid either: we quit going in to retrieve Blankie for him, and after a few Blankie-less nights, he quick accidentally-on-purpose dropping it.
My point of all this is to say that I love our video monitor. I cannot live without it. I think that most people don't buy one because of their sky-high price (quality ones go for upwards of $180). Considering what people spend on baby clothing that they only get a few months' worth of use out of, the video monitor is a bargain since you can use it for years.
One night, while helping me clean up after dining on our front deck, Husband, in all his masculine efficiency, decided to bring in the video monitor while simultaneously carrying a large pile of dishes. I looked over to see him pinching the video monitor between his thumb and index finger in such a way that his thumb was pressed firmly against the video screen. I didn't think anything of it until I picked up the monitor later and saw a thumb-shaped white spot on the video screen.
"What the...", I asked myself, "What's this?" I tuned to husband and showed him the monitor's screen.
"Huh---I wonder what that is?" he replied.
"I think it's a thumb print. In fact, I think it's your thumb print!"
As if to prove it, I took husband's thumb and put it up against the spot. "Yup--definitely your thumb print. I think you burned out the screen when you were carrying the monitor earlier!"
What Husband didn't know is that I covertly held my thumb up against the white spot as well, to see if it could be mine. It could have, but since I'd caught Husband in the act of carrying the monitor in such a way that could cause the burnout, I decided to let the blame reside with him. He accepted it, no questions asked.
I did a little research in the ensuing weeks and learned that you cannot buy a replacement monitor. You can buy a replacement camera, but not a replacement monitor. If we wanted another one, we'd have to fork over another $200.
It really wasn't a big deal except that sometimes we couldn't see what Little Husband was doing in his crib because the burnout spot was in the way. Then one day the spot got a little bigger.
"Husband! You've got to stop carrying the monitor with your thumb over the video screen! Look at this---the burnout spot is spreading and I know it's not me doing it!" I told Husband one evening.
He looked at the monitor in dismay. "I swear I'm not doing it," he said, "perhaps it's the baby sitter."
I wasn't convinced, but I had to admit that it was a possibility. I blew on the monitor and rubbed my fingers lightly over the burnout spot but that seemed to make no difference.
Last week we went to the beach and brought the video monitor with us. A few days into our trip we noticed that the burnout spot was gone! "Holy cow!" I exclaimed! "How on earth did it fix itself?"
Husband and I then commenced devising elaborate, scientific reasons why the monitor repaired itself.
"It's got to be the humidity!" I declared. "It somehow caused the video screen to expand thus peeling the layers apart and correcting the problem!"
"Perhaps it's the salt in the air. Salt is a great electrical conductor and once it corroded the internal components it actually served to increased the charge of the current thus fixing the screen!" was Husband's theory.
We didn't spend much more time thinking about it, we were just glad that it was fixed.
A week went by and our vacation ended and we made our way home. Husband dutifully hung the video camera in its place over the curtains in LH's nursery and aimed it at the crib. That night we resumed our ritual of turning on the monitor after putting him to bed.
"Oh holy crap," I said "Look at that--the screen is burned out again!"
Husband grabbed the monitor and peered at it. "How could that be?" he asked.
"I have no idea! You must have pressed the screen with your thumb again!" I blamed.
"No, I definitely did not--wait a minute! I know what that white spot is. That's the curtain rod!" Husband said. "It's slightly in the way of the camera lens, and it's so close that it appears as a white spot on the screen. That's what's been wrong all this time!"
"What? Wait a minute---!" I grabbed the monitor and peered at it closely, Then I held it out and looked at it from a distance. Then I peered at it again closely. "Holy crap, you're right!" I told Husband. Then I collapsed in a chair and laughed until I couldn't breathe.
"All these months you had me convinced that I'd broken the video monitor!" he said, which only caused me to laugh harder.
Net result? Unless he is absolutely positively caught in the act, it will be approximately 10 years before I get to blame Husband for anything ever again.
Of course, there's always Little Husband...