The morning routine before school is a skilled affair. Every day it feels like playing with an old World War II bomb you found under the duvet in The Boy's room where you left him the night before. It needs to be treated gently, carefully. It could go off at any point. And the worry is once it goes off it continues to remain active for the rest of the day.
So, the routine is followed. We've learnt the best way to do things over the years. Get dressed. Breakfast. Television. Bathroom. Shoes. Get Out of Here. But by far the most precarious stage, the one where it could all go wrong, is Bathroom.
The clock strikes 8.15am. It can only mean one thing.
Or, to give it its full title:
Hey, I'll Tell You What Mate, We've Had Quite a Pleasant, Chilled Morning Getting Ready, How About We Head Into the Bathroom for a Fight?
It's got easier over the years I'll give you that. Different strategies have worked, some better than others. Musical toothbrushes, Toy Story toothbrushes, electric toothbrushes, flashing toothbrushes, soft toothbrushes they've all played their part. Strawberry toothpaste, banana toothpaste, bubblegum toothpaste you've served us well. Mint toothpaste, you will continue to be the root of all evil. Bicarbonate of soda toothpaste, you're beyond words.
Once teeth brushing is completed (I say brushing, it's more just holding a toothbrush in your mouth for two minutes - it might as well be a thermometer) then we can move on to washing. For this you must use ice cold water. Never use the hot tap to lightly warm the water - anything above freezing cold BURNS during the washing process. Put your hands in the freezing water. Hold them there for longer than would appear humanly possible. On no account should you rub the hands together. Next touch a bar of soap with the very tip of your fingers. That's the soap bit done. Now throw water all down your school uniform. Be careful to avoid your face at all times. Perfect. Face and hand washing done.
Some mornings I get cocky. Things have gone well. We're doing good. I get carried away, I reach under the sink ... I know it's here somewhere ... There it is. The hairbrush.
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.