The Benefits Handbook / by Susie Lubell

He was starting to show signs of growing out of his little obsessive world. He even declared to me last weekend that he no longer loved cell phones. He only cared about purses. Not cell phones or wallets any more. I considered this progress. But then, on Thursday, my son found the benefits handbook for my new job and this has become his latest fixation.

Now, to his credit, this is no ordinary handbok. In fact I took a job at Shutterfly and will be starting next Monday. So the benefits handbook is actually an 8x8 inch hardbound trademark photobook. Just looking at it makes me giddy. It's a lovely melon color with a hard bound laminate cover. Delicious. And inside are all kinds of charts and tables highlighting my medical and dental benefits for the foreseeable future. Did I mention the hardcover binding?

So he loves this book. Ever since I told him that I'm starting a new job he has been very anxious to come with me and help me with my new job. Apparently he and I are the only ones that work there. And now this book is somehow tied into his little fantasy where he and I spend every waking hour together, at home, at work, in the bathroom, everywhere.

On Friday I was making dinner and the house was oddly quiet. The baby was with me in the kitchen while I was cooking, rummaging around for scraps but my son was AWOL. I found him alone in his room "reading" my benefits book.

Look mommy, it makes a noise when I open it. And then it says where we work together. And I do this one and you do this page. And these are all of our benefits story. The end.

I thought his fascination with the ear thermometer was weird. This one really takes the cake. Maybe it's a transitional object to help ease him through my transition. Or maybe, like me, he is just completely enamored by the binding.