Kissing is a loaded issue in our household.
When A was 5-and-a-half years old — about six months after we adopted him — he wanted me to kiss him good night on the lips.
At first, I thought, This is gross. I’m basically kissing a kindergarten class full of winter germs!
Then I wondered if it was appropriate. I asked my mum, who’s in her nineties, about it. She isn’t against it, but thought kisses should be reserved for romance (I didn’t grow up in a kiss-on-the-lips household, obs). But (and this is so silly, I know), one night while my husband was still at work, I was rewatching part of Sex & The City: The Movie, the one where Miranda and Steve break up and share custody of their 5-year-old son, Brady. Miranda is leaving Brady with Steve one day, and she gives Brady a little smack on the lips. It was sweet. Not at all weird. So I figured, I guess it’s okay, I guess this is universal.
So I surrendered. It’s just a peck and it prevents any good night tears. In fact, we built a whole game around it. First he tries to kiss me, as I try to move my head like a chicken to avoid it, and then I try to “catch” him. When he or I have a cold, game is off (although it’s usually too late when we realise one of us is sick).
I’m not really worried about when to stop. I’m sure the age when A wants no hugs or kisses from us — particularly in public — is around the corner and he’ll let us know. Although one friend of mine still gives one of her teenage sons a peck on the lips. (In Year 5, he made his mum stop being affectionate in public, however, but now he’s okay with it again.) “He’s more of a kisser,” she says. The older son, however “is not the huggy/kissy type.”
Our son is totally the huggy/kissy type. A kiss on the forehead just won’t do.
As I said, however, kissing is a loaded issue. A hates it when his dad gives me a good-morning kiss, and he tries to set limits. Only two kisses a day — one at night and one in the morning, he insists. He’s totally the kiss police! We joke about that. At first he cried about being the kiss police, but now he laughs. However, he’s dead serious about only one kiss in the morning. If he sees us kissing twice, look out for tears. My husband and I do the whole spiel: We are adults. We can kiss as much as we want. We love each other. We are all family and love you. There’s enough love for everyone.
He remains unconvinced and pouts, so sometimes it’s just easier to have one kiss in front of him. He’ll grow out of it.
What about you? Do you kiss your kid on the lips?