Summer Infant Wide View Baby Monitor Review

Moniter

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Baby monitors are one of those things that are really awesome to have. If you’re in a small apartment you probably don’t need one, but if your house is any bigger than a small apartment you should definitely have one. When I was pregnant, and figuring out my baby registry, I thought that a video monitor would be unnecessary. I thought only rich fancy-pants people had them. So, on my registry, I requested a simple audio monitor, but my brother and sister sprung for the Summer Infant Video Baby Monitor. I’ve been incredibly happy with it, and it’s saved me from a lot of headaches.

Features:

Portability – Has an internal battery, so you can unplug it and walk around your house. Also, has a kick-stand so that you can rest it just about anywhere.

Night Vision – Night Vision is in black and white

LED audio indicator – Has lights that indicate how loud the noise is

Adjustable Volume – Has 5 volume settings, personally, I mostly keep it on the lowest setting

Adjustable Brightness – Has 5 levels of brightness

Zoom Function – Zooms in once at 50% closer

Two-Way Communication – There is a microphone button that you hold to talk, this mutes the other side when in use.

Power-Save Mode – After about 2 or 3 minutes unplugged it goes into power-save mode, which turns the screen off but keeps the audio going.

I have generally kept the monitor plugged in at all times, but I tested it out to see how long the battery lasts without being plugged in. It lasted approximately 7 hours in power-save mode; it would likely last a lot less long if one were to frequently check the video on it. I wouldn’t advise keeping it unplugged through the night, but it would be fine throughout the day. One thing that this monitor didn’t have that I felt it should, is a noise notification (an occasional beep or something, maybe?) when the battery is almost dead. The normally green light at the top turns red when the battery is critically low.

Pros:

See what baby is crying about

It saves you from running into the room for nothing or letting your baby cry when there is a reason for intervening. Did the baby get their leg caught in the crib bars? Poo-splosion? Spit-up? Did the little one somehow manage to put themselves into a dangerous position? Or are they just whining in their sleep a bit? Adjusting to a comfy position? If you have just an audio monitor you’d have to manually go in and check, but this video monitor gives you the luxury of glancing at a screen to see what’s up.

Leeeet’s Just Turn The Volume Off

Sometimes your baby is crying loudly and you don’t want to hear it. Maybe you’re in a room close enough that you can hear it without the monitor on. Maybe you are doing Cry-It-Out and are having a really hard time with it, and having the volume off makes it a bit easier. You can turn the volume right off, but still be able to see what’s going on, and the LED audio indicator shows you the noise levels.

Cameras, Cameras everywhere.

If you started off with the one camera and felt that another one would be nice, you can buy another camera and connect it. The monitor can accept up to 4 additional cameras. This could come in handy if you want one in the play room and the bedroom, or if you have multiple kids. It has the function to switch between cameras on an 8-second interval. I only have the one camera, so I can’t vouch for how the multiple cameras work, I can only tell you what I’ve researched about that option.

Cons:

WHERE IS MY BABY

Sometimes the camera does this funny thing when it loads up. It shows the last image the camera saw before you turned it off. So, basically, if you turn the camera off after grabbing your baby, the next time you turn it on after putting your little one back in their crib, it might show you an empty crib. After a moment it will say “No Signal” and then correct itself to the current video. A very minor con, but I’m sure it’s shaved a couple days off of my life from the sheer shock.

Children of the Corn???

When night vision is on, and your little angel is awake and looks at the camera their eyes glow. It’s horrifying. It once left me and Gear cackling for about 5 minutes though, so as long as you have a good sense of humor it’s fine.

Overall, with my experience of this monitor, I would rate it 4/5

If you have any questions about this monitor that this review didn’t answer? Have you used this monitor? Anything to add? Let me know in the comments!

How Cry-It-Out Helped My Family Regain Sanity

Cry-it-out is one of the more heated topics (and oh, are there ever a lot) in the parenting community. Arguments against it say that it can ruin the relationship that you have with your child, or that it will make your child anxious (there is a study that suggests otherwise, but needs more long-term data). Arguments for it suggest that it helps your child gain independence.

cry it out

I was that dingus mom that totally side-eyed the moms that did cry-it-out. That is, until my baby. my Cog – sweetest little baby in the world, with smiles 24/7— had no clue how to sleep while not attached to my boob.

 

For the first little while, Cog slept like a dream. She woke up to feed and would go back to sleep. But everything changed when the fire nation attacked. we changed her from a bassinet to a crib. After that, every time we put her down she would not sleep. If she was sleeping before we put her down, her eyes would shoot open, like a dragon realizing someone is trying to steal its gold.

Being the holier-than-thou mother that I was, I thought no way is my precious child going to be subjected to any length of crying. We had tried all the no-tears methods. We read all the articles that said that all you need to do was keep up a consistent routine (ie. Bath, change to PJ’s, read stories, walk around the house saying goodnight to everything, baby massage, aligning the planets, destroying the Death Star, etc.) and eventually, your child would realize that that meant bedtime, and would go to sleep.

Well, I did that for months. And let me tell you, that was absolute bullocks. Babies don’t come with game guides. That might work for some babies, but Cog thought it was BS. She would rather suckle non-stop. Thus began my ride of unintentional bed-sharing.

Every night we’d try and put her in the crib, and every night she’d fight us.
Eventually, we kind of gave up and resigned ourselves to going to bed with her at 7:30 every night. My husband and I would still stay up ‘til about 11, but really, we couldn’t do much of anything. We played games, but eventually, the light of the TV started to bother her and wake her up.

She’d sleep on my chest for the most part, but that took its toll on my back. Then we had her between us, but she’d still be attached to the boob; I had to contort my body into a weird crook to accommodate that, which further messed up my back.

On the opening night of Rogue One, (which I was not able to go to because my voice of reason was like “hey, your baby can’t sleep without vacuum sealing your nipple, so how the heck are you supposed to have someone watch her? They wouldn’t stand a chance at getting her to sleep.”) I decided enough is enough. My husband Gear is a big softie and can’t bear hearing her cry. I’d heard the worst night of cry-it-out is the first, so what better time to start it than on a night he’s not home?

Let me tell you, there were MANY tears to be had, Cog cried too.

It took about 2 hours to get her down. I’d sat at the edge of the bathtub, crying, baby monitor in hand, repeatedly apologizing to the tiny screen. I felt monstrous, I felt like I abandoned her, and that she must have felt so lonely. She didn’t know how to fall asleep on her own, and she needed to be alone to do so.

-The method I was using –controlled crying— involved going in every few minutes to comfort and reassure. The first time was after 5 minutes. Then 7 minutes. Then after that only 10 minutes between comfort sessions, and not exceeding that. Nursing after a bit because SURELY after all that crying she’d be parched. At the time, Cog was seven and a half months old. Many professionals suggest that CIO shouldn’t be done with a baby younger than six months. Also, you know your baby’s cries, if your baby sounds extremely distressed, you should definitely intervene.-

The following few nights were also pretty rough, but not as bad as the first. One night she’d refused to sleep until the wee hours of the morning, and had earned herself a raspy voice from crying. That was absolutely heartbreaking. Nothing quite like a baby who’s all smiles during the day, laughing and babbling, with a voice so janked up from the previous night, that they sound like Gilbert Gottfried.

Eventually, she figured it out and would go down within ten or twenty minutes; most days now she’s asleep in less than 5 minutes. Mind you, she still cries for that time; as it turns out, some babies just HATE to go to sleep. Gear and I have reclaimed our evenings and can relax and enjoy ourselves a bit. Being able to have some downtime has reduced our stress and made us better, more patient parents.

I never expected that I would ever do any form of cry-it-out, I never wanted to (and if I have another child it won’t be the first technique I jump to). In the end, I tried just about everything else and that’s the only one that worked for her. Though we still bring her into bed with us partway through the night sometimes, we all sleeping better, and are better for it.

Why Your Parents Screwed Up (And You’ll Screw Up Too)

Why your parents screwed up (and you will too)

 

Spoiler Alert: They were doing their best*.

(*this excludes parents that are abusive, toxic or dangerous people.)

 

Parenting is hard work. You have to put everything that you have into being the best role-model that you can be. Constantly being vigilant that everything you say or do might be what your child is influenced by. And even if you think that everything you are doing is perfect, it’s not.

I don’t know if there is a single person who feels like their parents did a flawless job of raising them. Just about everyone I’ve ever met has something that their well-meaning parents have done that they feel has screwed them up in some way. Parents always want to do what’s best for their kids. They want to raise them to be good people, to be thoughtful of others, to be successful… Strangely enough, though, you can push those wants too far.

My mom is Wonder Woman, she puts so much of herself into her kids. This woman has worked a crummy job that she detests for the past two decades to support the family. All of us children are adults now, but she still wants to spoil us. At Christmas she insists on spending a specific amount, and that it’s even and fair. She insists on paying when she takes any of us out to lunch. She’s been my saving grace during my new life as a parent. However, even a mom as awesome as she is can make a few blips. In any case, any blips my mom has made have been done through love.

Cartoon Parents Can Mess Up Too

One of my favourite cartoons, Steven Universe, the episode “Sadie’s Song” perfectly illustrates how something as seemingly harmless as over-encouraging can be harmful. In the episode, the character Sadie is talked into singing at the local talent show, “Beach-a-Palooza”, by Steven. Sadie is panicked when her mother, Barbara, arrives at home and she wants to hide it from her; much to Sadie’s dismay her mom comes down and is thrilled when she finds out what’s going on. Steven and Barbara start going through Sadie’s closet to try and find a stage-worthy outfit, and as they work their way through, there are all these outfits from things that she’s tried that she stopped doing (ballet, swimming, and softball) due to her mother being too encouraging; Barbara does everything that she can to try and make her daughter succeed, so much so that she ends up sort of taking over and not letting her daughter do anything for herself. In the end, Sadie ends up freaking out says she doesn’t want to do Beach-a-Palooza anymore. She tells her mom “I just thought, for once, that I’d get to do things my way. But you came in and took over everything like you always do!”, to which her mom tells her “I just wanted everyone to know how talented my daughter is”. Good intentions, bad results.

Even Psychology says you’ll screw up

Psychological studies suggest that even telling your kids that they are smart can have negative effects. Oftentimes kids, when constantly being told that they are smart, feel like the only value they have is in their intelligence as that’s what they’ve grown up being praised for. Every time they fail at something or make a small mistake, they will beat themselves up, they will see themselves as a failure. If they were labeled a prodigy, and others start to catch up, they feel like they’ve peaked and that they are stuck in some weird intelligence purgatory. Fear of failure will prevent these them from trying new things.

The thing is, too much of anything is going to mess your kids up. Too much support? You are smothering them, being overbearing, or helicopter parenting. Helping out too much? They become unable to do things on their own or become entitled. Too much discipline? They will likely hide things, and build walls. Trying to keep them realistic? They become fixated on what is attainable and become unable to dream.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions (Who knew??!). No matter what you do, or how well you mean, your kid won’t end up perfect. They will love you, but they won’t think your parenting was perfect.  When your kid grows up, they’ll know that you were doing your best. And they’ll more than likely appreciate everything that you were trying to do for them (even if they are a little messed up from it). After all, to err is human.

Interview With Up-And-Coming Comic Artist Cori Walters

Comic Artist Cori Walters Discusses Current Projects

An american punk story comic cover

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I am incredibly excited, as this is my first interview; I’m also lucky enough that it just so happens to be with a friend! Cori Walters is an amazingly talented and incredibly distinctive artist. Their first professional work as a comic artist was published in November 2016 for Wrong Way: An American Punk Story (Which you can find on Comixology) written by Martin Dunn, The story is about a guy who’s in a bit of a rut in his life, he’s a cartoonist that has some family problems and he longs for the days of his rebellious youth.

 

Prior to this Cori has been working on personal projects for a number of years. In addition to being fantastically talented, Cori is also a really nice person who advocates for social rights and equality. Personally, they’ve taught me so much about feminism, privilege, gender identities, and even my own identity, and I am still constantly learning new things from them. I truly believe they’ve helped shape me into the person I am today.

 

I’d initially found them on deviantArt through a piece of Chrono Trigger fanart about 6 or 7 years ago, began chatting over common interests, and eventually became mutuals on tumblr (which, as you may know, means that when you stick with each other for that long –through all the fandom switches, personal drama, and shit-posting– you are truly bros.) So, without further fanfare: Cori Walters.

 

Mama Michine: Thanks for agreeing to do this interview with me!

 

Cori Walters: Thanks for talking with me!

 


MM: So, let’s start off with talking about your work on “Wrong Way”. You met Martin at Megacon 2016, right? So how did that play out?

 

CW: I was tabling there and Martin was hosting a couple panels on how to break into comics. I make it a point to go to as many of those as I can, just to network. But it actually wasn’t until Sunday after the show that me and him got to really talk. I’d been showing my portfolio around to all the indie publishers and I’d heard his critique was really harsh, so I wanted to impress him, ha-ha. He liked my stuff so we started spitballing about what sort of role I could play at CAE Studios. I noticed he had a Rise Against tattoo on his arm so we started talking about punk music, and next thing I know he’s pitching me Wrong Way.

 

MM: That’s great! So, he started telling you about it at the convention at first? I know he also sent you a folder with a bunch of script ideas, right?

 

CW: Yeah, and after looking through it I was debating taking a comic featuring kids fighting zombies, but at the end of the day I just love having an excuse to draw punk stuff.

 

MM: Always good to have an excuse to let your punk rock on through! In the post that Martin wrote, he said that you actually had to bug him for more of the script. That’s amazing, honestly! How fast after getting started was the whole comic finished? What was the process like between start and finish?

 

CW: Well it’s actually a mini-series so we’ve got more coming down the pipe, but the first issue was wrapped up between the two of us by around September of last year? I started drawing it in July, but real life and other projects kept getting in the way for both of us, unfortunately. The process pretty much centered around Martin having a central manuscript that he wrote years ago, that he was then adapting and updating into the script as it is now. Since he’s freelancing alongside this, how it’d usually turn out is, he’d script out a few pages and then I’d draw them. I also have a day job so being able to break it up into manageable chunks worked well for me, ha-ha.

 

MM: I’ve heard that the way writers write scripts can vary in format, some write the contents and dialog of the page and leave rest of it up to the artist, while others write panel by panel with how they want everything laid out. Which method did Martin Use, and what was it like?

 

CW: Martin has a background in drawing comics and it really shows in his scripts, they’re some of the easiest to draw from that I’ve seen. A lot of the time he’ll specify the angle he wants or the expression he wants, and sometimes he’ll drop in images off google to show me how he wants something to look. Little staging things like that. I like it because it gives me the opportunity to not spend so much time puzzling out how a panel is going to be put together, and more time figuring out the kinds of minutiae that make it look good and read impactfully. More writers could definitely learn from his approach, ha-ha.

an American Punk Story comic page

MM: That’s really awesome, and totally answered my next question ha-ha. Okay! So, now I want to focus a bit more on you. Do you have a flavour of ice cream that is so good to you, that you would K.O. someone for it? What flavour?

 

CW: I really, really like Superman flavor. The kind with the primary colors all swirled together? I have no idea what they are, but I love that stuff.

 

MM: I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that kind before [further research post-interview deduces that the flavour is blue moon, lemon and cherry] Back when you were working in childcare, what is the strangest or funniest thing a kid said to you?

 

CW: There was this one kid who was really into comics, so naturally he kinda gravitated to me when he realized that I would absolutely talk to him about superheroes for an hour. One day we were discussing our favorite Batman villains and he kinda pauses, squints up at me, strokes his chin, and tells me I have a chin that looks like the Joker’s. That’s the harshest, most brutal thing anyone has ever said to me and it didn’t come from my mortal enemy, it came from a 10 year old.

 

MM: That is absolutely brutal, and kind of hilarious. Your style is so unique and distinctly you, do you have any artists that you have drawn inspiration from and adapted to create your style? Who are they, and in what ways did they influence you?

 

CW: Oh wow, that’s a tough question. I draw from a lot of different sources, my art is such a mashup it’s hard to whittle it down. Purely in terms of just what I’m bringing to comics, I always try to aim for things like Osamu Tezuka’s simplification of form, Frank Quitely’s sense of expression through body language, Craig Thompson’s contemplativeness, Natsume Ono’s playful linework….Disney’s Hercules’ swirly elbows, you know. I’m a kleptomaniac of art, if someone draws something in a cool way I’ve gotta try it for myself. It always surprises me when people say my art is unique; I always feel like I’m two seconds away from having how many organs I’ve stolen discovered. Maybe that metaphor’s a bit dark…

 

MM: Well, I can tell you from an outsider’s perspective, you’ve melded it all so beautifully together that it is 100% Cori, no matter how many inspirations you’ve drawn from. Now you do most of your art digitally, right? Which is your program of choice, and why do you like working in it? Are there other programs that you use for more speciality purposes?

 

CW: Aw shucks, thank you! You’re right about the digital, though I do like to bust out my dip pens now and again. The end of last year I actually upgraded to Clip Studio and I absolutely adore it. It’s designed for comicking, and streamlines the process so much more than back when I was porting between Paint Tool SAI and Photoshop CS2 (this upgrade was a long time coming). I downloaded Frenden’s inking brushes for it and I love how uniquely suited it is to inking and just generally making black and white images in general. I still color in SAI though; I have too many custom brushes in there, ha-ha. When I’m working on my webcomic, Spectra, I usually do the actual lettering in Photoshop since Clip Studio can’t quite get the sizing right, but that’s about it.

 

MM: Do you do lettering by hand or do you have a custom font you use for it? I know Photoshop can be a bit of a pain too, when it comes to using fonts, sometimes.

 

CW: I’d love to hand letter but I can never get it to look right on a tablet, and somehow it always ends up aggravating my hand problems way worse than doing it pen on paper. No, I usually just use Blambot fonts, that guy is a saint. Photoshop’s a little tricky, but I’ve been using it for that for ten years now, it’s pretty much second nature to me now.

 

MM: So, you brought up Spectra, how many years have you been working on that now? Are there any other projects that you’re working on in addition to Spectra and Wrong Way that you can tell us about?

 

CW: It’s actually been almost exactly four years since I started Spectra. Time flies! I’m also working on a series about teenage girls piloting giant robots that’s going through some rebranding, and is pretty much shelved until I finish Wrong Way. I’m excited to get back to it though! It was originally titled Chicks Dig Giant Robots but I’m gonna be relaunching it as Youth Battle Nitro Punch here at… some point! And, that’s pretty much it for the big stuff, though I do have some mini-comics and anthology work with some other writers that will surface eventually.

 

MM: That’s a lot of stuff! Kudos! Next question. When it’s the middle of the night, and you can’t sleep, what is it that claws at your brain?

 

CW: Oh god, everything ha-ha. Mostly when I’m going to be able to finish the next set of comic pages.

 

MM: Workflow demons eh? I gotcha. What was it that first got you into reading comics, what was the first comic you ever fell in love with, and why did you love it?

 

CW: When I was in sixth grade, my best friend’s mom accidentally bought her two copies of the same issue of Shonen Jump, so she gave one to me. I liked watching the Shaman King anime whenever it came on so I was excited when it was in the magazine. I still have that issue, the papers all gray and the inks faded from how many times I’ve reread it, ha-ha. It was in the middle of the fight between Yoh and Faust XIII, and I remember being blown away by the depth of the emotions it sparked in my 12 year old brain and how good the drawings you could arrange on a page to do that could be. I’d always loved drawing and had played around with drawing longer-format comics before that, but never thought it would ever be something that could be taken seriously. Seeing that comic was a wake-up call for me; I was so excited, I was like, “I can do this! I can make this!!”

 

MM: That’s so awesome! I love when there’s just a big spark that ignites your passions. Do you have any words for other dreamers out there wanting to chase their ambitions?

 

CW: Doing what you want to do is hard, but if you’re just finding your footing don’t fixate on that. Just start doing it and developing your skills, and pretty soon you’ll find you want to spend more time on it, you want to work harder to achieve your next arbitrary goal you’ve set. Or you don’t and you’ve found yourself a really cool new downtime hobby, there are no downsides here. It kills me to see people holding themselves back by second guessing themselves. If you want to draw comics, make a webcomic and update it when you feel like it. If you wanna make music, get a SoundCloud, post whatever little music idea you have. There’s no bar you have to clear to be good enough to do something, you get good at things by doing them.

An American Punk Story comic page

Big shout out to Cori Walters for taking the time to allow me to interview them, and being a very fun person to interview!

 

You can find Cori on Twitter @CoriWalters666, or follow their Art Blog, or their Main Account on Tumblr. Read their webcomic on Smackjeeves or Taptastic or you can support them on Patreon and get exclusive content.

Liked the interview? Thought I should do something different? Tell me your thoughts in the comments!