Thursday, April 09, 2009


We went Way the Hell Up North, Munchkin and I, for a wee break. And part of the rupture of routine was to have my perceptions of my own mother twisted somehow.

I read the paper and looked out at the lake as Munchkin played teaset happily by herself. After a while her orbit tightened around my chair, as it will, and she started to get a little silly. She pulled my slipper off one foot and turned into 'the Tickle Monster!' She laughed at her powers as she reduced me to chortles. This carried on for a while and, fair's fair, she asked me to tickler her in her turn. She dangled a little foot towards me.

I pounced, tackling her onto the carpet, the two of us rolling and squealing. Tickle fights are a fine exercise in self-control for all parties: the pleasure of a helpless laugh is counterbalanced against, well, the helplessness.

"Stop it, Mimi, for God's sake," my mom intervened from the kitchen.

I was annoyed, a little, that she was mad at me for roughhousing with Munchkin--she was probably, I figured, irritated by the noise, or by Munchkin's obviously mounting excitement. Did she think it was too close to lunch, or I would crack both our heads on an end table? Or was it simply indecorous or maybe overindulgent.

I rolled my eyes. "Yeah, Mom, I've got it under control."

She put her hands on the counter. "It's just that my mom used to tickle me mercilessly when I was little and it was really awful."

Empathy. For Munchkin. Not a critique on my parenting, per se. A snippet from her childhood. An admission of past vulnerability.

Huh. Tweak! I gave them both hugs.


slouching mom said...

I love this little snippet. A sweet reminder that things aren't always what they seem...

Beck said...

This was lovely. It's hard sometimes not to jump on our own mothers for every little comment, I think.

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hoppytoddle said...

WOW, Lamar.

I just wanted to say that I WAS your mother, too. Honey, my sweet golden retriever once bit my ex-step-fucker for tickling me relentlessly. Our rule is when someone says, "Please stop!", we do. Although, there are frequently teasing, tantilizing bellies placed back into my line of sight within seconds of such requests, with repressed snickers.

How sweet that your mom spoke to your heart & exceeded your expectations. LOVE those moments.

kittenpie said...

You know, my mom said the same thing to my sister and I when my sister was small - that her brothers had tickled her until she'd gasp for breath, and she hated to see us playing at tickling, even though it was nothing like that kind of meanness.