We are in the middle of setting a routine for The Kid.
Get up, Eat Breakfast, Get dressed, Take medication, Brush teeth, Shoes and socks and if there is no whinging or whining or “I’m not goings” he can have half an hour of moshi monsters while I pack a lunch box full of awesome cool things that I wished I got when I was his age in my lunch box.
We take him to school, he sits in the front of the class with his same teacher that he had last year, who is so amazing and wonderful as she changed her job role from 15 years to teach a different year, in order to continue teaching The Kid for his consistency and routine. He learns separately to his class as he’s too far behind but included enough so he doesn’t notice.
For lunch he ignores the delicious lamington, passes on the cheese and biscuits, declines a chocolate custard (WHAT CHILD DOES THIS?) laughs at the sandwich I lovingly made and cut into triangles as per his request; and eats only a packet of salt and vinegar chips.
After school we wait with baited breath at the gates, hoping that we see a smiling child running towards us (he is the first one out every day) and not a scowling, eye rolling aggressive creature that lurks inside when he’s scared and confused.
So far the creature is hiding away, curled up for another day when he needs it to cope, when things get too hard or too sad or just too unfair for words. We come home and we eat the snacks from his lunch box that he neglected that day, do homework, I convince him to read, if only a few pages. We stumble but learn quickly and feel proud that The Kid feels comfortable enough with us to show us that he is struggling with school and needs help.
We barter, me for chores and good behaviour and The Kid for Moshi Monsters (we are experts now) Twilight-his favourite movie or trips to the beach or the pool.
Shower, PJs, Dinner and quiet time before milk, teeth and bed.
My favourite time of the day.
Not because he’s going to sleep and we get a break from the controlled (as can be) chaos but because in those moments when it’s just me and him and he’s lying in bed and I’m walking around and picking up dirty socks and school uniforms and toys from the floor and turning on night lights and fans that we talk quietly.
About the next day, what we need to do, where we need to go, what time he has to get up, what time he has to go to bed.
It’s where he tells me he wants to play soccer in a team and wants to go the the movies and the beach and go fishing.
Where he talks about how he likes “this bed” not his bed and how there are so many pillows and blankets and how warm and cosy it is.
I let him be cheeky and laugh at his jokes and watch him out of the corner of my eye as I unpack one thing from his box that he’s refusing to touch.
Then I turn out the light and he closes his eyes and I close the door and exhale.
He likes it, I think.