Wednesday, May 28, 2014


Every time I take a shower and wash my hair, I shampoo first then reach for the conditioner. Every time I reach for the conditioner I start singing the same song. I'm not going to say what the song is, it's embarrassing. But when I say that I start singing the song every time I reach for the conditioner, I really do mean every time.

It starts when I say to myself "Now, where's the bottle of conditioner". The singing starts when the word "conditioner" comes into my head.

All the while I'm waiting for the conditioner to work, about 3 minutes, I'm singing/humming the song. Is it a habit or a tic? 

I've been thinking about this ever since I overheard our foster child talking to a friend on FaceTime. It was a Saturday morning. He said that he had to log off and be out for an hour because we were all going on the supermarket run. What he actually said was:

"We always go on a big supermarket run on Saturday morning"

We do. It's been our routine for years. Park in the same spot in the car park. Get a trolley. Shopping list clipped onto the handle. Veg first as it's the first thing just inside the door. Meat. Sauces. Pasta. Pizza. Then the household stuff; toilet rolls, washing liquid, batteries. Then bread and milk, always a long way from the entrance. Same old stuff. No surprises.

When the list is all ticked off, it's time for the treat. A pastry from behind the counter. A muffin. Or a gingerbread man. Not to be eaten until we are in the car.

The thing is, he's only been with us a short while, and yet he said:

"We always go on a big supermarket run on Saturday morning"

It was the way he said "Always"

I got the feeling he liked the routine. And not just the pastry.

The Saturday routine is important to us. Maybe more important than we realise. 

I had a friend years ago who was a Jewish woman. We talked and she joked about not being supposed to operate machinery on the Sabbath and how her food had to be exactly prepared, but there were ways round it if you had no choice.

I once asked her if I could become Jewish and she replied;

"Honey we're not recruiting"

She also wondered how we gentiles managed. She said that there were so many rules and guidelines about what she could and should be doing, that she had to make fewer decisions for herself. I said that sounded a bit restrictive. She replied;

"It's the business of constantly making decisions that sends people mad."

Looked-after children have usually had no routines, a fact summed up by the classic definition of the dysfunctional family; "Chaotic".

The children never know what's going to happen next.

So when they come into care we get things organised. At first there's a bit of resistance, but pretty quickly the patterns kick in, regular things happening at the usual time of day, consistency in everything.

Comfort in routine. We all do it, if you stop and think.

But as for my singing in the shower. At best it's a habit at worst it's a tic. At very worst Demis Roussos could probably sue.


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