‘So’, I ask three-year-old Hannah Pearson over barbequed marshmallows in the garden, ‘What’s your favourite dance move?’
I have no particular reason to ask this, except that I saw her dancing while she was supposed to be eating fish fingers earlier, and generally with Hannah the more random the question, the more entertaining the answer. She gives the query due consideration, looking thoughtful.
‘Is it this one?’ I ask, to help her along, and reproduce the hands-on-hips-butt-swing she executed earlier.
She shakes her head and ponders a bit more.
‘This one’, she says, and performs the most enthusiastic jig I’ve ever seen on a three-year-old: legs akimbo, one hand in the air, she bounces her hips from side to side and waves her hand in time. She even closes her eyes and nods her head, rock star-style. I watch in silent amazement, keeping a wary eye on the hot marshmallow now flying around. A few seconds later I realise where I recognise it from – it’s a Bollywood dance move from the end of Slumdog Millionaire. She’s doing it rather well, I must say.
‘Wow’, I say, painfully aware of the understatement. ‘That’s a good one.’
‘You do it’, she commands. I make the attempt, while she watches in silent criticism.
‘No, not like that’, she reproves. ‘With your eyes closed.’ She does it again. I want very much to laugh, but it’s strangely impressive. I make a second attempt, eyes closed. She sighs, wearily. ‘Maybe try a bit later’.
After a very wet washing-up session and an episode of Masterchef, Hannah disappears off to bed and I drive home with Ben Folds on loud. I try the move again. It definitely doesn’t work when you’re supposed to be driving a car. Leave it to the expert, I think.