My daughter is doing a jig, jumping on her bed in her pajamas, and singing, You know you want to… Uh huh, uh huh. Her arms are flailing around up over her head as if raised in a Hallelujah chorus.
I’m laughing so hard, I momentarily forget how tired I am.
Cait wants me to tickle her. As I’ve mentioned before, we’ve had nearly nightly tickle fights since she’s been a baby. But, tonight, I’m just plain too tired. I’ve been up since 3:00 A.M. Kiera’s been going through a bout of health issues. As this is the third “incident”, and since trouble supposedly comes in three’s, I’m hoping we’re home-free for a while.
But I digress. Cait is desperate to be tickled. And normally I’m happy to oblige her, because there is no sound more beautiful in the world to me than my daughter’s laugh. But tonight I’m ready for bed myself.
This is hardly enough reason to deter my daughter. Not one to give up easily, Cait’s doing her best to entice me, turning her side to me with arms up over her head, so that I’d have a clear tickle strike.
Oh, I am so well-conditioned after all these years. Might as well wave a red cape in front of a bull. What can I do but go for the arm pits?!
Immediately, Cait folds up and collapses into a mere shadow of herself–like one of those tube worms in the ocean that retracts instantly into nothing as soon as it’s touched. We both crack up in fits of giggles. Then I need merely raise my hand and hover it anywhere over Cait’s body to get us both laughing so hard it’s a wonder we don’t pee the bed!
It’s one of Cait’s and my favorite traditions. If you’d like to share it with one of your loved ones here are…
- Said child must be washed up, with teeth brushed, in pajamas — and in bed.
- Said child must remember to request tickling.
- Said mother must agree to tickling.
- Said child mustn’t, under any circumstances, try to tickle said mother, as said mother HATES being tickled as a result of growing up with two brothers who did not follow the next two rules.
- Said child may request tickling to stop at any time.
- Said mother will stop ticking immediately upon request.
- Until said child catches her breath.
- At which time, said mother is free to resume tickling.
- Said tickling lasts only a few minutes.
- Just long enough for said child and said mother to laugh any tension from the day right into the next state.
Sweet sleep swiftly follows.