Y’all may be wondering where I’ve gone.
I’m not holed up watching “Gangnam Style” on YouTube, although I did finally get around to watching the first half of the video today and then closed the screen before I gave up all faith in humankind. I’m not busy training for a marathon, an idea I flirted with briefly before I realized that would mean that for months, my exercise would be dictated by a training schedule and I wouldn’t be able to say, “Today, I feel like hiking instead of running.” I’m not out updating my wardrobe, a task so herculean at this point that I’ve decided to keep putting it off until whatever’s in style now is out of style again, thereby rendering the whole thing moot.
If it were January, you’d know where I’ve been. But Downton Abbey doesn’t start for another month.
Mostly, I’ve been with Benjamin, who is going through his most acute phase of fears yet. This happens with him periodically, but we’ve never seen it like this. For more than a month, he has been terrified to go anywhere alone. Anywhere. If he needs to practice the piano, his sister escorts him into the living room. I stay in his room until he falls asleep at night, and he calls me to get him out of bed in the morning. He was sleeping in Lilah’s room, but she gets up earlier than he does, and wakes him. Sleep deprivation wasn’t helping matters. He is capable of going to the bathroom alone. Not at school, of course, but he’ll use the home bathroom as long as he knows someone is standing right outside, a limit I insisted upon the first time I heard, “Lilah, come in the bathroom with me; I need to poop.” At school, he needs a friend to accompany him.
This means we are never without Benjamin. Benjamin talking, Benjamin yelling, Benjamin banging, Benjamin fake burping, Benjamin poking. The list goes on. I knew how exhausting he was before, when we used to get long breaks during Lego time. I had no idea how much more exhausting he could be if he was with us all the time. Lilah, who is the most patient Rosenbaum, is pretty good-natured about the job of walking him around the house, which takes off some of the pressure.
We’ve tried riding it out, assuming it’s a developmental phase. It doesn’t seem to be waning. To make matters worse, he’s not very nice to his sister (or the rest of us) on a pretty regular basis. We’ve tried telling him, “If you want someone with you at all times, you have to treat people well.” But then he gets frustrated and snatches something from Lilah and I try to send him out of the room to cool down but he’s terrified and he needs someone to go with him but Lilah is howling because she wants her crayon back.
If you’re looking for me, I’m over here behind the large stack of empty chocolate wrappers.