I clean the toilet. At the age of 46 I can admit that two years ago I was uncertain how many sides a dodecahedron had? I can also admit, that it was my four year old that caused me to wonder. A speech delay combined with autism makes for any number of misunderstandings and confusions. How can a child point out incorrect pronunciation of a Pokemon character, too subtle to be understood by elderly years, and yet simultaneously, that same child is unable to remember the word ‘cup?’
I use bleach and ignore the screaming environment. As usual I am a vision of loveliness, jeans, T-shirt and yellow Marigolds. A small and persistent person, is close by, watching my progress after his latest ‘oopsie, too late, oh well, never mind, better luck next time.’
I resolve to be more careful about what new mantra I install in them next time. I scrub, flush, rinse and cleanse. His nasal tones reach my ears. Although he is always nasal, this time he is more nasal than usual, because his nostrils are pinched closed to protect them from the bleach fumes. “What is your favourite shape Mummy?”
“Er, I think probably a circle.” It is unusual for him to be close by whilst I am performing this kind of task, he is almost ‘chummy.’ [translation = unusually friendly]
“Wot abow trapezoids, don you like dem too?” He doesn’t usually engage me in ‘casual conversation.’
“I do like them, I just prefer circles.”
“You don like parallelograms too?” O.k. maybe not ‘casual conversation’ per se, as this is one of his preferred topics, but he still has to tolerate the fumes to remain here and chat to me.
“I do, it's just that I like circles best.” I think we might be having a reciprocal conversation?
“Oh. What is your favourite tertiary colour?” How many exchanges is that? Why is he still here? Why hasn’t he given up yet and left me stranded in mid- ‘conversation’ like he usually does? Just as I begin to think that we might really be having a conversation is usually the same moment that he disappears, whilst I’m in mid-sentence.
“Brown, because it is the colour of chocolate and that is my favourite food too.”
“Well, that’s lovely. Thank you for telling me that. You’re getting to be such a great helper. I love how you use your words these days.” I turn to face his blue eyes, eyes where the pupils are focused on mine. I move to one side so he can flush, perform his ‘helper’ duty.
“Daz o.k. I love how you ……you……you are dah great cleanerer!” His hands move from his nose to cover his ears in anticipation, of the Niagara flush.