‘I’m talking to the man in the mirror,’ I warble as I soap her little brown body; her soft curls are safely ensconced in a green frogie shower cap (she hates head baths and soapy eyes).
‘I’m asking him to change his ways…oh yeah!
No message is going to make it any better,
If you want to make the world a better place,
Take a look at yourself – and make a change!’ (Ok, this is my version).
I love MJ. So do the kids. Ishaan used to break into some mean dance moves when he was about 5. He shocked the daylights out of me once, when he came dancing onto stage at school (to MJ’s Beat It), the obvious star of the show. I was so excited that my hands started trembling, and the video I was trying to record came out all wobbly and shaky. He’s too cool for all of that now.
‘What does it mean, Mama?’ she asks, opening her mouth to collect the water raining down on her from the shower. She likes to have enough water in her mouth before she takes aim at the drain and launches a watery-spit missile.
‘It means that if we want to make the world a happier place, we must change our behaviour. We must do nice things for other people, listen when we’re told and be kind.’
Silence. She knows when she’s been lectured to, and today has been an incredibly tantrumy day.
‘But who is the man in the mirror?’
I point to the foggy mirror in the bathroom and explain about men in mirrors. She understands. She asks about change again, and I explain again. She mulls it over.
‘You must also change your place.’
‘You must change your hiding place. Rahul hid in the same place and Ishaan and Chinmay shouted at him. It’s not nice to shout at anyone, no Mama?’
Poor Ba. In the end Mimi always manages to make him the villain of the piece.
I bundle her up in her pink butterfly towel and carry her out of the bathroom, humming, this time, to myself.