Grainy pixels coalesce into view with the push of a button. Static and then there she is: a babe in a cushioned box. She’s still, motionless, but I can’t stop watching. I peer closer, hoping to perceive the rise and fall of her chest under the sleep sack, a substitute for the blankets now outlawed due to associated risks. Today’s crib is a barren landscape of one fitted crib sheet. That’s all. No stuffed animals, no crocheted blankets. No binkies, no dolls. We even sacrificed introducing a lovey, modern parents that we are, saturated by the tragic news of the information age, too paranoid about accidental asphyxiation.
I am entranced, can’t take my eyes away. Sometimes she moves, rolls this way, then that. I glance up, glance back to find her lying perpendicular to where she was before. One side of the crib, then the other. When her eyes open they glow neon with night vision, bright discs punctuating the darkness, signaling wakefulness. Sometimes there’s a pause before she erupts in cries that echo out her bedroom, through the house, through the monitor, ringing in my ears, ricocheting through my head.
It’s easy to get obsessed with voyeurism. I can watch her every move, scrutinize her intentions. I want to predict: Will she wake now? How long will she sleep? And I wonder: Is she comfortable? Is she breathing? Is she dreaming? What about? I peer into the pixels, as into a crystal ball, willing the future to take form. Who will she be, this rolling, round-faced, murmuring babe?