Tickling is a highly controversial thing. The recipient’s reaction is pure laughter and joy but they totally, totally want you to stop.

I tickle my 1- and 3-year-olds frequently, and it’s one of the most fun things I do, but I do wonder if it’s actually not nice.

I’m also one of the most ticklish people maybe ever. If something so much as grazes past my foot, I will involuntarily kick that thing hard enough to render it unconscious.

But I do love to laugh…

How someone could ever want a “footrub” is entirely beyond my ability to comprehend. You could cause me to give up the nuclear codes simply with the threat of a footrub. You could be 19 inches away but moving closer to my feet and I would be considering betraying my countrymen.

I’m sure there are big takes that I’m teaching my kids negative things about consent and body autonomy (just looked it up, yes there are these takes), but my 3-year-old follows up at least 62% of tickles with… “DO IT AGAIN!”

Desires to tickle my children, to pick them up and throw them in the air, to nuzzle them and make weird noises… I cannot convey just how innate and instinctual these things feel.

I’m not a person who ever once did babytalk to a dog or a cat (or a baby) in my life. I thought when I had kids that I’d be checking my watch waiting until they could catch a ball or discuss a plot point in a TV show, but their baby-ness instantly transformed me into playfulness.

I watch animals play with their young in very much the same ways I play with my children, and I can’t help but feel like tickling is right and good…

But seriously, don’t fucking touch my feet.