Ben has suddenly developed a super independent streak. He's always been a strong-minded independent child, but now he's decided that he can strike out on his own in the world.
Lately whenever he doesn't want to do something or go somewhere that we are all going, he tells us he'll just stay home and take care of himself. He's convinced that his skill at turning on the television, getting yogurt out of the fridge and fending off bad guys with karate moves is going to keep him safe. It's kind of funny yet it's not.
He's also really obsessed with going places by himself. Usually it's the bathroom. A couple of weeks ago we were out to dinner at a rather busy restaurant. We were in a room that was on the other side of the bar from the bathrooms. So in order to go to the bathroom, one would need to cross the room we were in, then walk through the crowded bar past the front door and that where the bathrooms were. You see where this is going, right? One minute we were all talking and laughing (it was a birthday party and there were about 15 of us there) and the next minute we realized we couldn't find Ben. After looking everywhere in our room we decided to try the bathroom. Sure enough, he was in there. He'd walked through that crowded bar himself, because "he was big enough".
While I love that he's got a strong sense of himself and that independent streak will serve him well when he's learning to do laundry or go off to college, right now it scares the hell out of me. This isn't the first time he's disappeared. Last summer we were at a birthday party in our neighborhood and I was parked about five houses away on the street. We had talked about leaving and Ben said he was ready to go home. Then we couldn't find him. After searching for ten minutes we finally found him, in the car, buckled up, ready to go. He just couldn't understand why I was mad or what was taking me so long.
While I want him to feel safe in the world, I also need to instill a sense of fear of going places alone. I seem to have failed at the fear part. Anyone else have an independent wanderer?