Oh, Toenail Cutting Day, how I have missed you.
Like all great events, the key is in the preparation. Twenty four hours is the optimal period to prepare The Boy for Toenail Cutting Day. Any longer causes anxiety. Any shorter and I might as well be performing open heart surgery on him with a blunt teaspoon and no anaesthetic.
So, to prepare:
1. Empty the bathroom of any item that isn't secured down.
2. Find the largest bath towel. Place it at the foot of the bath ready.
3. Put the nail scissors discreetly behind the toilet cistern ready. It is of the utmost importance that these aren't spotted in advance.
4. Lower the toilet seat lid. This will be the operating table.
Now we're ready. Stage 2.
Run the bath. Don't add any cold water, just boiling, almost scalding, hot. After calling 'bath's ready', prepare for a 90 minute battle to get The Boy into the bath. By which time, the water will be at its ambient temperature. Now The Boy is in the bath that he didn't want to get into, he will refuse to get out. Don't try and be clever and take the plug out. He will sit in a cold empty bath quite happily. Instead, frighten him. Tell him that these horrible little creatures called bacteria live in the bath and they eat children's skin, starting at the fingertips and that's why they go all wrinkly.
Yes, I am a mean, horrible man but means must.
As he leaps out of the bath wrap him in the large bath towel that you had in place earlier. Keep the arms tucked inside, that's key - imagine a roll of carpet with a head sticking out of one end and feet at the other. Holding him, you can lower him on to the toilet seat in the same movement - there should be just enough 'give' in the towel for you to bend him into the sitting position. Now take out the nail scissors. Speed is of the essence.
If you thought it was weird up until now, wait for this bit.
Each of the toenails has been assigned a name. The left foot is always girls, the right foot boys. The left big toe is always Fiona. On the right, it's Fred. The other names are allowed to change. And so the nails are cut with phrases such as "Oh Florence, haven't you grown since I last saw you", and "come on Ted, be a good boy and get your haircut..."
Thank God he bites his fingernails.
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.