Just occurred to me this hot July day upon seeing a very pregnant woman toiling through the day, what might explain Ben’s very appealing quirkiness; that is, of course, if he has any. He is close to perfect.
It happened back in the day when central air was not universal and we lived in a third floor walk-up in Chicago. Not in the burbs, mind you, but Chicago itself and just a few blocks from the Lake. Steamy ole Lake Michigan.
It was a hot and sweaty summer. I was seven months pregnant with Brad and all we had was a crappy little window air conditioner unit, and I was so tired I thought my entire body was going to go into spasmodic sleep requirement mid-step. So I laid on the couch, face and arms tucked into the corner between the back and cushions so Ben could use me as a Jungle Gym if he wanted without much damage. My back only was exposed. Just a few minutes sleep. That’s all I wanted. What could Ben do? He was only eighteen months old.
I dozed a few minutes then awoke to the most excruciating pain of my life. Ben would not be ignored. He must have tried, but could not make other inroads, so he had bitten me directly on my trapezius muscle -- and crazy hard. He had never bitten me before nor since, but definitely did enough damage for a lifetime.
I couldn’t lift him for weeks. The poor child longed to be picked up, little arms reaching up, but try as I might, I couldn’t budge his skinniness an inch off the floor because it hurt like a son-of-a-gun, and I didn’t have an ounce of strength, days and weeks on end.
It was his fault, yet who could blame him and who could explain it to him? I felt so terrible.
I’m sure he developed a syndrome from that. Some syndrome some heartless psychologist has named. Something akin to "Abandonment Syndrome" but worse like "Failure to be Lifted?" Do all mothers feel such guilt?
Then to make matters worse, I left for five days. I went to the hospital, of course, but what did he know? And then what happened? I reappeared doing what? CARRYING his brother, Brad, whom we kept, adding insult to injury.
So on behalf of me, his mother, please find Ben's neuroses, if you think you detect any, charming. I do. It's my only recourse.