We've been out for the day. In the rain. We've been for a trip into Central London. Or The Dr Who Studios, as The Boy seems to know it.
We went past the Houses of Parliament. I tried to explain to him it's the centre of government. No it isn't. It's where the Slitheen spaceship hit in Episode 4 of the first series. Oh yes, of course it is.
I tried to educate him, honestly I did. "Okay then, do you know why it's called 'Big Ben'?", I asked.
"Easy. Because it's big and it's called Ben. Stupid."
Ah sod it, let's do what everyone does when they come to visit one of the most famous cities in the world. Let's go to the arcades.
The Boy loves the arcades. In particular, the 2p Pusher-Machine-Things. I don't know what their proper name is, but they look like this:
You put 2p in. And try to win... 2p. That makes perfect sense to him. And it's another one of his Special Skills. I've worded that as if there are loads of these mysterious Special Skills he possesses. There aren't. There are two. One of them is in the show. This is the other.
Now anyone else would just walk into the arcade and start playing. Not us. On entering, The Boy will case the joint. He will walk around the entire arcade five or six times to select the 2p Pusher-Machine-Thing of choice. Circling. Studying. There's a science behind it that I don't know and that he won't tell me. This entire exercise must be done in silence. Eventually he will hone in on one machine. Now that machine could have upwards of thirty slots to choose from. Each one needs to be studied. The circling continues, moving round this one machine. The lie of the 2p pieces is examined closely. He'll pause, as if to select a slot, only to move on again. This whole process takes around 30 minutes. And the excitement and tension on his face that he might be able to swap one 2p for another 2p is there for all to see.
Eventually, the slot is chosen. The silence is broken. As significant as the white smoke pouring from The Vatican, The Boy lowers his hand to touch the glass. Then he mutters the immortal words, "it's gonna pay..."
And every time, without fail, it does. We were in the arcades for 2 hours 35 minutes. At the same machine. The same slot. The Boy who the Educational Psychologist said had an attention span of approximately 90 seconds. And in that time he turned 16 pence into £3.44.
Kiss my arse Dustin Hoffman, with your roulette tables and card counting.
2p-Pusher-Machine-Things is where it's at.
This blog is about bringing up The Boy. He's 12 years old and autistic. It's written by The Dad. It's my words, my view. Other people will think differently and have different opinions. Good.