Spent a chunk of the morning bouncing around on the bed and tickling Declan and Grey. So lovely. Tickling is absolutely fascinating as a phenomenon — one of those human behaviors that is so natural and instinctive that we rarely stop to examine it.
When you do stop to think about the practice of tickling, it’s bizarre. It’s a simultaneously pleasant and unpleasant sensation from which kids try to escape, relishing it all the while. In an instant it can turn from being fun to being excruciating. I read some time ago that tickling is thought by some theorists to have evolved as a form of hand-to-hand combat training — kids learn to move fast to protect abdominal areas that are points of vulnerability. Do you buy it? I think I do — so much of play in nature seems to be about training — but there’s clearly also a lot of good old fashioned physical bonding involved.