Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Presentation

Mention the word "presentation," and I immediately think of food.

That's the way I am, I guess. I imagine a thoughtfully conceived and artfully conveyed plate of tri-colored tortellini alla panna or perhaps an artsy rendition of enchiladas.

But with Nathaniel's arrival in our family, I've had to rethink the meaning of the word.

That's because Natty has become a big fan of a game in which he presents himself. Not for eating, mind you, but for tickling, snuggling, snuffling, growling, blowing, squealing, thigh squeezes, toe tickles, tummy rubs, you name it. It goes like this: I'm sitting on the sofa, and Natty wobbles up to me and extends his arms upward, gesturing for me to lift him on to the sofa next to me. He then starts bounding along, from one end to the other, a madcap, happy-go-lucky amble in which it looks as if he'll careen right off the sofa at any moment. When he gets to the opposite end of the sofa from where I'm sitting, he stops, turns around and eyes me. Then he puffs his chest out and leans back against the sofa, his head tilted so far backwards it looks as if it will pop off his shoulders. He spreads his arms away from his body, leaving his torso completely stretched out and exposed.

This, my friends, is the presentation. Nathaniel is begging me to scooch over and play with him. He wants to be tickled. He wants me to bury my head in his midsection and nibble at him. He wants me to bounce him, hound him, twist him, turn him, wrestle with him, turn him upside down, toss him, and whatever I can do that tickles his little fancy. And, naturally, I oblige.

What happens next is pure joy. Shrieks of delight from the little guy. Shrieks of delight from his father. Giggles from Natty. Snorts of laughter from his father. Pleas for more hand-to-head combat from Natty. Ready acceptance by his father.

We play this game almost daily. And it never gets old. I can't begin to describe the gushing of good vibes I get when I have any excuse to nuzzle my son, but when he actually is begging for it? Rapture, folks, rapturous.

Watch the video (coming soon – technical issues). See what I mean?