Speaker Impediment

When you have a young kid, a baby monitor is essential.

Even with our son nearly two and (knock on wood) past the danger zone of accidentally suffocating himself on a bumper or a stuffed animal, the monitor remains a crucial piece of equipment. It allows us to have peace of mind while our kid sleeps in the other room. We are able to have a drink(s), watch a movie, go to sleep, comfortable in the fact that if he wakes up or needs something, we’ll hear him through the monitor.

I don’t even use an alarm clock anymore, secure in the fact that my son will wake me up WELL BEFORE I need to get up for work. It’s foolproof.

Unless the monitor stops working. Then things can get scary.

A few months back I made light of the creepy ways my son appeared to be communicating with unseen entities in our apartment. I referenced the creepy scene in The Sixth Sense when Bruce turns up the volume on the tape recorder only to hear someone whispering behind the static – though not an actual baby monitor, the concept is similar.

For actual baby monitor scares, there’s a similarly freaky scene in Insidious, where the monitor channels the sound of a ghost or a demon (or whatever the stupid monster in that movie ended up being) menacing a baby. And I’m pretty sure something like that happens in one of the thirteen Paranormal Activity movies, or maybe in that new Chernobyl Activity flick. EXTREME TOURISM.

The monitor, or a similar device, is an easy method for generating suspense (unless you have a video monitor – does that “Ghost Hunter” show scare you? Exactly). And suspense is what we’ve gotten lately, as our monitor has gone on the fritz.

The monitor in question, which has until now proven mostly reliable and can be purchased at any number of places, including Babies ‘R Us and Amazon.com:

It’s scary enough to wake up one morning and realize the monitor doesn’t work anymore and clearly hadn’t been working most of the night. Suddenly you’re racked with fear and have to bust in on your sleeping kid, only to see that he’s totally fine and now you’ve inadvertently woken him and destroyed any shot you had at a few extra winks.

If the monitor were completely broken, that would be one thing. As it stands now, it’s only kind of broken; it lets some sound through, which is bizarre. And leads to some creepy situations. Like last night.

As MomandBuried and I were both nodding off in bed, we suddenly heard someone (something?) say “Elmo!” very loudly, seemingly from the direction of my son’s room. But I sleep with the monitor right next to my head, and NOTHING came through the speaker. I immediately turned the monitor up and confirmed that it was on, and apparently working, as I could hear my son stir a bit.

Which raises the unsettling possibility that the monitor is fine and that my sound didn’t cry out for his furry friend in his sleep, and that SOMEONE ELSE is walking around my apartment in the middle of the night looking for Elmo.

I’m terrified to replace the monitor now, lest I get a brand new one and the same thing keeps happening. And then we’ll have to move, because the last thing I need is ANOTHER Sesame Street crazed kid in my house, ghost or not. That show gets old fast.

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