We have a large mirror in the bathroom we refer to as the kids’ bathroom. We only call it such because this is the one bathroom with a bathtub and because we have a stool in there to make it easier for them to wash hands. In truth, most of our guests use this bathroom and our children brush their teeth and prepare for bed in the master bathroom. Nevertheless, this bathroom is known as the kids’ bathroom and that large mirror has given me some grief over the years.
For some reason, my children seem to be drawn to the mirror. There are always hand and face prints and smears all over it. Usually I just cleaned it off as I cleaned the bathroom, but it was always a slightly sore spot for me. One night I peeked into that bathroom to check it out before our guests arrived the next morning. I had just cleaned bathrooms the previous day, so this was more of a cursory glance to make certain the bathroom had everything it needed in it.
To my dismay, I found the mirror to have streaks and smears all over it. I got out some wipes and began, once again, cleaning off the mirror. My children filed in to see what I was doing. Part of me, the part that wanted to rant and rave, thought about asking them how in the world they could get a mirror so dirty in such a short period of time. Instead, I took a deep breath and separated myself from the situation.
Instead, I said to my children, “Guys, I’m wondering how this mirror came to be so dirty. I cleaned bathrooms yesterday and it was clean then.” My then two year old, whose little face was barely visible in the mirror over the edge of the counter, piped up, “I like to kiss myself in the mirror!” I couldn’t stop the smile on my face. How could I argue with that? My two year old was developing his own self appreciation. My older two children piped up that they liked to play games in the mirror, too. Natural physics!
At that point, I was almost finished cleaning the mirror and my children offered to help. I could have yelled and shamed my children….for what…being children? Instead, by removing myself from the situation and calmly asking themabout it, I learned something new, and in doing so, gained a greater appreciation for mirror streaks. Since then, I haven’t felt any resentment when I see a messy mirror. I just smile at the memory of my son teling me in his little voice, “I like to kiss myself in the mirror.”