Before my daughter was born, I was told (or maybe I read it, I can't remember) never to take the baby monitor out of her room because as she grows, she'll forget the monitor is there and someday when she is older, I will be able to eavesdrop on potentially troublesome conversations between her and her friends. I knew that when my daughter was a teenager the monitor would not be in her room, that she would have remembered that it was there somewhere along the way and demand that it be taken out. Yet still I kept it in her room well past the baby stage. I'm anxious and she goes through stages of night wakings, so I kept it in her room without giving it a second thought despite the fact that she is now five.
During a dinner with some mom friends, one shared that late one night her son had walked in on her and her husband while they were (literally) in an awkward position. The other moms jumped in with stories of similar close calls or precautions they take, then I asked if any of them have monitors in their children's rooms. Apparently I was the only one still using monitors and they all looked at me like I was nuts. I defended myself by pointing out that neither of my kids had every surprised me in my bedroom, but even so, I knew the monitoring could not go on forever. What did catch me by surprise was that my daughter was having similar thoughts about the monitor too.
A few days after the moms dinner, just as I was climbing into bed, I heard my daughter's voice very quietly ask if someone could bring her some ice water. Normally she barks her demands in a loud voice, regardless of the time. I should have know that this was a test and I was about to fail. The night after the water request, as I went to bed I noticed her monitor was off. She had a playdate that day and I assumed it had become unplugged. I let it go, but the next day I mentioned it to her, saying I thought her monitor had gotten disconnected. It didn't. She very sweetly said that she turned it off because she wanted "some alone time." I almost snorted. She's five and she has her own room. How much more alone time can she need? The monitor's receiver stays near my bed, I don't carry it around with me, which means I wasn't going to hear her talk to herself or her Polly Pockets or whatever she would do during this "alone time" anyway.
My next thought was: Holy crap! What am I going to do when she is older? I don't have a Plan B/Post Monitor idea. I told my husband that I am not going to be the type of mom who reads a private notebook or journal kept by our kids, but before I could finish the sentence, my husband was laughing. I would have dropped the subject, but I had just watched a recorded Frontline episode Into the Teenage Brain, and I was in full freak out mode. Apparently my husband thinks I am the type of mom who would plant a GPS chip into our kids while they slept. All I did was keep a monitor in our daughter's room about a year or so longer than needed and now he thinks I am Big Brother. I am sure our kids will agree with him when they are teenagers (assuming I allow them the freedom to read 1984 - just kidding).
In the meantime, I am going to respect my daughter's privacy and remove the monitor. Oddly enough, my daughter pointed out that her brother has a video monitor and she does not. "Don't you want to watch me?" she asked. Great, now I have nightmares of what this girl is going to do with webcams during her alone time when she is older.