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November 11, 2004
Tickle Monster

The boys decided some time ago that I make a good monster. At night they tell me to hide in their closet and then they scurry off to my bedroom, giggling wildly. After a few seconds of conferring, they come sneaking down the hallway to look for me. This always seems to hold a lot of suspense for them, even though I am usually pretty much where they left me. Sometimes I ambush them from another room, but most of the time I just curl up on the closet floor and wait.

As they come closer I begin to growl, which sets off waves of giggles. Sometimes they keep their courage and come all the way to the closet door, at which point I'll grab one of them with a roar and commence tickling. Most of the time one will bolt, which causes the other to bolt, their little heels pounding into the floor as they race back down the hallway.

Some nights when their courage isn't so great I can get a little nap that way. Don't judge.

I've noticed that Caleb inevitably appoints Eli to the recon position. I guess it's the older brother's prerogative. I've started to get on to him a little, because the other phenomenon I've observed is that when I get hold of Eli, Caleb usually just squeals and runs away, abandoning his little brother to his fate. When I grab Caleb and begin to tickle him, though, Eli tackles me.

This usually just means that he jumps on my back and rolls off onto the floor, but it's brave nonetheless. I'm encouraging Caleb to defend his brother the same way.

A while back my wife bought them each a little rubber sword and shield -- part of her effort to make knights out of her little boys. One night I was playing the Tickle Monster, chasing them around the house, when they disappeared into their bedroom. As I approached they came charging around the corner, yelling a battle cry, swords in hand.

My first reaction was pure pride at having raised little warriors. My second reaction was that those little rubber swords really hurt when you get whacked with them. My wife, accustomed to seeing the boys scamper through the kitchen with me on their tails, thought it was entertaining to see the scene played out in reverse.

Caleb has taken up a bit of the monster responsibilities, occasionally chasing Eli around. The other night after he brushed his teeth, Caleb stood in front of the bathroom mirror and practiced his monster face. From the bedroom this is what I heard:

"Rrrrrrr. RRRRRRR! GGRRRRR!!! Ooh! I scared myself!"

I made up a story for them, about a Tickle Monster who loses his tickle. Two little boys named Caleb and Eli help him find it again. They'll probably never know how close to the truth that story really is.

Posted by Woodlief on November 11, 2004 at 07:51 AM


I am standing upon the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean.
She is an object of beauty and strength.
I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and the sky come to mingle with each other.
Then someone at my side says,
"There, she is gone!"
Gone where?
Gone from my sight. That is all.
She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side, and she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her.
And just at the moment when someone at my side says, "There, she is gone," there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout:
"Here she comes!"

Welcome back Tickle Monster, welcome back...
you are needed, you are loved...

Posted by: Kary at November 11, 2004 10:12 AM

Be careful what you wish for ... My older boy takes VERY good care of his little brother. As it turns out, my older boy (at age 4) broke out of the nursery after carefully watching the nursery workers manipulate the series of locks/catches on the door to freedom. He would have completely gotten away, except that after getting the door open he went back for his little brother (at age 2). My husband jokes that I'm raising criminals, but at least they're well-bonded criminals!

Posted by: Lucy at November 12, 2004 9:36 AM

Thanks for the reminder that I've been shirking my tickling duties for the last few months. Time to hone those skills once again.

Posted by: King of Fools at November 12, 2004 12:08 PM

Oh my, how I remember those monster and tickle moments with my two sons and my daughter.

They are all grown up now and I miss them very much. Those memories stay within my heart and I thank God they are all doing pretty well.

Thanks for the memories,

Posted by: Janelle at November 13, 2004 6:48 PM