Friday, March 18, 2011

"Tickle-ie Me"

Just a short post today about tickling.  I don't remember if I told you all or not, but when Eric and I visited Markos for the first time in Ethiopia for our court trip, we thought that he was not ticklish at all.  Seriously, not at all.  In fact, we were a little freaked out by it.  We had never seen a child who was not ticklish anywhere, at all.  And believe me, Eric tried.  He tickled the back of Markos' neck, his underarms, his sides, his belly, his knees, his feet.  He tickled him while we were playing, while he was sitting on our laps relaxing.  We laughed and acted silly, trying to get a response, but nothing.  No giggles, no laughs, not even any squirming to get away.  Just flat, unmoving, nothing.  He would just sit there and look at us.

I hate to admit it but we actually wondered if there was some sort of biological/cultural difference.  Could Americans be ticklish and Africans not?  (I know - we're idiots!)

My dad tickles Daniel all the time.  It's sort of 'their thing'.  When Daniel is acting grumpy or mischievous, Dad will tease him and say, "I know what you need...." (at which time Daniel will start to run away) Dad finishes, "a good ticklin'!", and within seconds, he'll have Daniel on the ground, rolling around, laughing his head off, begging for mercy.  Bad mood averted.  So, when we came home and told Dad that Markos was not ticklish at all, he said, "eh, I'll get him to laugh!"  And, we assured him, "no, seriously, he isn't ticklish at all.  We tried everything."

Well, guess what?  Turns out that Markos IS ticklish!  Like, REALLY ticklish!  You should see me try to put lotion on this boy every day when I get him dressed!  Some days, I find it funny.  Other days, I want to rip my hair out of my head - yep, it's that bad.  Think: combination of laughing rag doll and fish flopping around out of water while lotion is getting on my arms, my clothes, the carpet...pretty much everything EXCEPT Markos!

The other day, I had Daniel at the doctor's office and Markos was with me.  The doctor thought that Daniel might have mono and Daniel had been having side/stomach pain, so he had Daniel lay on the table so he could feel around his belly to make sure that his liver and spleen were not enlarged.  The second Markos saw Daniel pull up his shirt and saw the doctor pushing around his stomach, he yanked his shirt up, and with a giant grin, was saying "tickle-ie me! tickle-ie me!".  I laughed and tried to explain that the doctor wasn't tickling Daniel, but Markos just continued, "tickle-ie me, tickle-ie Markos!"  So, what's a mom to do?  I started to tickle him until he dropped to the floor in hysterics.

The doctor thought it was funny.  And, it WAS super cute (although, yuck, who knows what sort of germs were on that floor?!)   Mostly though, I just marvel at the fact that Markos was apparently so on-guard in Ethiopia when we first met him that his tickle response was just completely turned "off".   And, I'm very thankful that he feels safe enough now to let his guard down, let his ticklishness show itself, and let his laughter roar -- except when I'm trying to put on his lotion, then it's just annoying.

Being silly when I was trying to get him to let me see his belly!

Laughing at himself, because he IS a clown!

Finally, showing you all his "tickle-ie me" invitation.

1 comment:

  1. That falls as the most precious thing I've read in a long time. Yay Markos! So glad your family found your tickle!