My girls love to be tickled. I mean, they really love it. It is just about their favorite thing. I find it mystifying. I’m incredibly ticklish, and I hate-hate-hate to be tickled. I tend to flail in a wild and out of control manner, which can cause injuries. Come to think of it, I broke a car windshield in high school when a guyÂ tickled me. It was totally his fault. Also, his car.
So, anyway, I don’t love tickling, myself, but my children would happily spend an hour doing nothing but squealing, fighting off my tickling fingers, and then exposing their armpits in a wanton manner. And part of the game is “banana.”
We started using banana early on with our little friends. I borrowed the idea of a safe word from S & M subculture. No, no, no: that’s not my cup of tea. But you can’t live in New York City for years and years without being aware of general concepts, right? Anyway, the girls say “banana” when they mean “stop and I mean it.” But it’s become their favorite part of the tickling game. A couple of years ago, they added “orange,” which basically means that they’re ready for tickling again. So when they say “banana” I’m not allowed to tickle until they say “orange” again. So there’s all sorts of banter, like when they say “banana-orange-banana-orange-banana!” really fast.Â Or when I try to trick them by asking them to remind me what color’s between red and yellow in the rainbow. Or when they say, “ooooo—rrrrr—aaaaaa–ngutan!”
The other day M said, “I want pineapple. That means you give me a foot rub.”
No way, man. She’s taking this fruit thing too far.