Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Silence is golden?

At what point does listening in on your kids become spying? Although the current debate over whether of not parents should read their children's texts and emails isn't something I have to worry about just yet (though it seems foetuses will be getting iPads soon, the way things are going), it has made me wonder about when to give them a little privacy.
Obviously,with M sharing their room, we still have a baby monitor in with the twins, and can hear their every move. They are 3 years and 2 months now, and I wonder at what point most people switch their monitors off. If we continue to keep an ear on M until she's that age, it means we'll be prying into the twins' private time when they're 5. Surely that can't be right? But at what point do I cut the cord?
In truth, I could probably hear everything I need to hear without a monitor already, especially when we're upstairs in bed, no more than a few feet across the landing from the girls' room. When our monitor broke recently, I was still easily woken by M's 7am demands for milk. But I wasn't ready to let go of my crutch. we bought a new monitor, and whenever M's napping, or the girls are in bed, it's by my side. I can hear them cry, and I'm comforted by the snuffling and sounds of gentle breathing that form the background music of my evenings. Which is weird, because usually I hate breathing. Not the act of it, obviously, but the sound. My husband endures an onslaught of pushes and nudges and kicks if  the poor bloke comes to bed with a noisy cold. I feel bad if I wake (or hurt) him, but I just can't sleep through snoring.Unless it's the girls', then the gentle snuffles easily lull me into contented sleep. Isn't it strange how things you hate suddenly become adored when they belong to your children? Like feet. I hate feet. Cannot bloody stand anyone's feet other than my own ( upon which I love to lavish every luxury), however I could kiss and tickle and snuggle my daughters' feet all day. But I'm getting off the point, which is am I intruding on the twins?
Although their dad or I do have to occasionally go into to see to them in the night, it's very rare and only usually when they're poorly. They pass out when they hit the pillows at 8pm and wake up chattering to each other at 8am. They could easily get out of bed and open their door themselves if they chose to, but despite six months in proper beds, we've yet to have any night-time incursions into our room. They simply chatter away until their dad or I come in, or if one of them needs the loo or is getting bored, they shout until we drag ourselves out of bed. Removing the monitor would encourage them to start getting themselves up and about, and I trust them not to disturb M if she does happen to be having a lie-in. I do truly believe they're ready. I'm just not sure I am.
Having M in the room is a convenient excuse. Although she is also a great sleeper, I do have to sometimes comfort her in the night and, at 16-and-a-half months, I think she's too young to be out of earshot. But at what point will that change? Her dad and I have already decided we'll probably move her to a bed next winter, so she can have a nice cosy duvet and warm blankets rather than a sleeping bag. She only turns 2 in October so, as with so much, it seems she'll be hitting this milestone earlier than her sisters, whose cots we converted at over 2-and-a-half. They took to the change with so much enthusiasm and such ease that it was obvious they'd been ready for a while, so I don't worry about M doing the same. But should I also take that chance to give her and her sisters some privacy as well? Or should I take that plunge even earlier? I just don't know.
Listening in on 3-year-olds hardly seems an invasion, but on 4-year-olds, 5-year-olds? When should I stop snooping?