Recently, while getting the kids ready for bed, my wife picked up the mouthwash, twisted off the lid, and handed the bottle to our daughter.
Carolyn, 8, stared in shock. “You didn’t do the dance!”
Carolyn has dexterous little fingers that love to pry things apart. When we added mouthwash to the bedtime routine a few years ago, I figured if she saw me open the bottle, she’d figure out the safety cap pretty easily, and might be tempted to get an unauthorized minty buzz.
So every night at mouthwash time, I took the bottle out into the hallway with me, telling her to close her eyes so that I could open the lid with the “secret dance.” I would then shuffle and stomp my feet a bit, slapping my hands a bit to make the footwork sound more complex.
After my wife inadvertently broke the charm, Peter, 12 (who has also nobly kept the secret of Santa Claus for her benefit), came forward to report he has often found Carolyn in the bathroom, with the child-proof bottle in the middle of the counter, dancing in front of the mirror with her eyes closed, trying to figure out what magical steps generate the rhythm she hears me make in the hallway every night.