Being tickled and other parental indignities


Lily, Papaman, and Maggie enjoying a tea party



I’m not sure if anyone “Likes” being tickled. Oooh! Hold me down and tickle me! Uh uh. For some reason, Lorrie says that when I’m tickled, I get violent. Like a bugged-eyed, crazed maniac trying to get loose from certain death. Like an animal that would rather knaw his arm off than go through this inane torture.

Have I made my point? I’m very ticklish. Nope, not pleasant. Then why is it that my 2 oldest boys looooove to hold me down and tickle me???!!! I used to not allow it. No way Jose. This is a tickle free zone. “No Tickling allowed,” your table is now ready.



But I’ve learned one thing. My boys love to wrestle, tickle, and roll around. There is something about boys and their dad’s rough housing. It’s primeval. It’s instinctual for boys to want to play rough with their dads. It also goes without saying that mom’s don’t like rough housing. You’re gonna hurt the boys!! Why do we do this as parents? We do it because our kids need it. This is one of the languages that they speak, and when we speak their language, we tell them that they mean something, that they are worth us doing stuff that we might not want to do.

Such is the story when my 4 and 6 year old (at the time) daughters invited me to a tea party in their room. I totally had to go. What kind of dad would I be if I turned my two daughters down. So I reluctantly went into their room. The table was all set. Tea was made. There was just one problem. Papa (for those of you that don’t know, I’m called papaman instead of Dad, my choice) wasn’t dressed for tea. Hmmm. Let’s see. After a few minutes of rifling through all of the dress up boxes, we came up with a feather boa, a magic princess wand, and some star shaped sunglasses that would have made Elton John envious. We had a wonderful time!! The tea, which of course I think was water, was perfect for the girls. They wouldn’t have had a better time if the queen of England were with us. (I guess they just had to settle for Queen of the Harden house, but let’s not go there).

In that moment, I hope I showed my girls that I truly love them. I would exchange all of my parental, adult dignity, to make them happy. And quite often, as parents we do.


two of my boys, Kieran and Taylor


I’m getting better at being tickled. My sons, hopefully know now that they won’t die an accidental death if they dive bomb on me. I actually laugh now and try and wrestle back. I’d better. Pretty soon, at the rate their growing, they are both gonna kick my…..

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