“Come on baby, its time for maalish!”
These words are enough to get my little devil drop anything she has her mind, hands and wicked thoughts focussed on and come running straight into my arms with a big smile pasted on her face from ear to ear.
She loves massages, and frankly, which two year old doesn’t? Climbing up and down the bed fifty times a day, managing to get your clothes dirty every hour, hiding Mom’s belongings in the most inaccessible corners of the house or finding a new book to tear pages from every single day, isn’t a cakewalk. After all, creating and executing such vividly imaginative pranks can be quite stressful for these little darlings.
It hence comes as no surprise that her massage time is the most fun time in our household. I didn’t hire any masseuse for my children and looked forward to forging a bond with them during this daily ritual by pampering them first with massage techniques I learned from traditional masseuses and then letting them play in warm water while I worked up lather on them during baths.
My little experience made me wary of the slightest mistake I could make and hence during A Jr’s toddler years this was a relatively quieter experience. It helped that he was a non-fussy child who wouldn’t throw a fit at every small thing. Angel though, is made from a different mould and has her own set of rules that we’re bound to understand and follow.
Ever since she was an infant, A Jr would tiptoe around us and hand me everything I needed for Angel’s massage. I might forget a thing or two, but he always knew what I needed. Like a doting elder brother he would advise me to go slow and keep the pressure right or she would get hurt. While I gave her bath, he selected her clothes and neatly arranged her lotion, cream and powder next to them.
The one thing that always made my heart melt was the silent understanding that had formed between these siblings. A Jr wouldn’t keep his mouth shut even for a moment, relentlessly lecturing Angel about always listening to her elders (him included), coming first in her class like him or being a good girl and never keeping secrets from us. Angel listened intently and let him know it was all registered by placing her huhs and hmms appropriately.
Amused, I observed this heart-warming spectacle everyday, not bothered in the least about being almost non-existent to both of them. That was but a glimpse of the unmistakable camaraderie they share now. They scuffle, they irritate and shout at each other, but one hint of anyone else stepping on their right to torment the other one and they team up, hug and kiss each other in a jiffy!
The funny thing is that their Papa enjoys this maalish thing too. Together, the kids oil his hair with his favourite Parachute coconut oil and as per their interpretation of the term; they pamper/torture the poor guy. Me, I simply love to see my darlings having a good time together!