Saturday, April 3, 2010

Tickled Pink

The other day, Herb had finished changing Ryan and was playing with him on the changing table. He was tickling his belly and his thighs and Ryan was chortling and chuckling to his heart’s delight. I was laughing with them both, and Herb commented that I don’t tickle Ryan when I play with him.

While this is not entirely true, it certainly is true that I tickle him MUCH less often and much less heartily than Daddy does. And I suspect I know why: because I don’t like being tickled. I don’t know if I had a horrific, scarring childhood tickling tragedy that I’ve blocked out of my memory, or if it’s just something that I’m not genetically programmed for, but I just don’t enjoy being tickled beyond that first split-second. And the fact that I’m incredibly ticklish just about everywhere makes it that much less fun. I’ve been known to squirm and squeal when someone who’s not even intending to tickle me tickles me by accident. Herb has learned to be very careful when he reaches over to snuggle me – he discovered the hard way on more than one occasion that a soft, unexpected touch can result in a much harder, unexpected (and involuntary, I swear) smack. It’s a completely reflexive physical reaction for me, like when the doctor hits under your kneecap with that little hammer. I can’t control the squirm-and-squeal any more than I can control swinging my leg due to that hammer.

Ryan, fortunately, does not suffer from this malady in the slightest. He loves being tickled, to no end. In fact, he gets so excited that he giggles in anticipation. When Herb or I hold up a hand in “tickling position”, then shoot it down to tickle Ryan’s belly (while repeating the requisite “Tiiiiickletickletickletickticktickticktickle!” mantra), he laughs uproariously. And if we pause before we actually reach his belly, he’s already closed his eyes and chortled in anticipation. Sometimes after a split-second he pauses mid-laugh and opens his eyes, as if to say, “Wait, what happened to the tickle?” But more often than not, even the anticipation is enough to give him a thrill.

One of his favorite games is the old “broken egg drop”. Remember that one from elementary school? You make someone close his eyes, clap your hands a few inches above his head, and then trickle your fingers down over his face so it feels like you broke an egg over his head and now it’s dripping down his face. Ryan loves that game! You don’t even need to clap, just run your hands lightly over his head, face and shoulders, and he rolls his eyes back in delight and chortles away. The chortle is fabulous but it’s the ecstatic eye roll that really cracks me up. It’s like the laughter isn’t enough to express how unbelievably delightful the game is. He’s practically going unconscious it’s so amazing!

That’s my funny little ticklebug.

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