Tim and I have an understanding. You see, when I was a child, people thought it was fun to tickle me. I was small and had a hard time fighting back, and people didn’t know when to quit. It didn’t take long for me to despise being tickled, but since you can’t help but laugh when someone tickles you, no one would take it seriously. I asked them to stop, but they wouldn’t. When Tim and I started dating, he learned quickly that I hated being tickled, and to his credit, he wouldn’t do it. And even after we were married, we made a deal that he wouldn’t tickle me unless I said it was ok (which I likely never would.) But he doesn’t mind being tickled, so I could tickle him with little fear of retaliation. For the most part we have stuck to that deal, and I have been incredibly grateful.
As my children have grown, we have been very careful to respect their wishes when it comes to getting tickled. They enjoy it, but the second they say “stop,” we immediately stop. It was especially important to me that my children know that when they set a boundary for themselves and their bodies, that it is immediately respected. Of course, tickling is a silly thing, but if they learn early that their boundaries are important during the silly times, then they will know that they are even more important during the serious times.
With that said, we were all in a pretty goofy mood this afternoon, and we quickly devolved into a game of tickle hide and seek, where we alternated between tickling each other and hiding from each other. There was a lot of screaming and a ton of laughing. So much so, that it really wore us all out. Everyone pretty much ganged up on Tim, so he definitely got the brunt of the tickles, and the kids laughed so hard. As we ran and screamed from one corner of the house to the other (sorry, dear neighbors!!) I couldn’t help but try to absorb all the happiness that was bouncing around my house. Great belly laughs filled the air, and the squeals and giggles were pretty contagious. After a long week of the kids doing a good job at school, I think they really needed the release, and honestly so did Tim and I. We so easily get bogged down with our everyday lives, we often forget to take the time to be silly and fun with our kids. I want them to have memories of us laughing hard, being silly, and having good time. I want them to grow up and say, “Remember how mom and dad used to play hide and seek with us?” or “remember how we used have tickle fights and we laughed so hard that our sides hurt!” Those are the kind of memories I want for my kids, so I need to better engage with my children in a way that brings those moments about. We can’t make them happen, but we can create an environment that makes them more likely.