Look out world. It appears I may have a serial pasher on my hands.
It started with Tim. He was the kind and enthusiastic swim instructor that my daughter adored when she was four.
She stole her first kiss on the back of his unsuspecting head and beamed with absolute joy as I sat a little stunned poolside. At that moment, it was wildly adorable, but there was also a slight tinge of, ‘is this actually OK’ niggling at my mind along with concern for how Tim might be feeling.
‘I want a kissy with him’
Fast forward to the ripe old age of five. From the back of the car this morning, I heard a little giggle. It was a cheeky, ‘different’ laugh from my littlest love. Enough that my eyes shot to the rear vision mirror with a smirk.
“What are you chuckling at, cheeky chick?”
“Mmmmm … I’m just thinking about the boy I want to kiss.”
Innocent enough five-year-old behaviour? Or is it?
“I love him and I want a kissy with him,” she announced proudly in a sing-song voice with a bold, yet beautiful gleam in her eyes.
Well. What now then?
Is this ‘normal’?
Yes. Very. She is a loving child and she is learning that physical affection is a very normal way of expressing this love. Plus, I absolutely do not want to be the one to burst (or even smother a little) this delicious bubble of childhood happiness.
But I also don’t want to be the parent of ‘that’ child who is chasing down random kids in the playground and hitting them with unwanted physical contact. And I don’t want her to feel that physicality is the only way she can express her emotions.
How should I handle this?
I went with my gut. Luckily on this occasion we were confined in the car. I had the time, she wasn’t going anywhere and so we chatted a little about ‘friendly’ kisses and ‘family’ kisses and ‘lovey dovey’ kisses.
Parenting Coach Heather Lindsay, from Blissed Out Mums, says we should use this opportunity as a teaching moment and “arm her with information to keep her safe”.
“Make sure that the lines of communication are always open, so that she feels comfortable talking to you about issues with love, boys, girls and eventually sex,” Heather adds.
Even at five, it is never too early to start the dialogue. Luckily, we briefly visited the notion that our body could often tell us if kisses were ‘right’. I reminded her that permission needed to be given by the lucky object of her affection.
I offered that one day, someone may want to kiss her and she may or may not wish for that to happen. We discussed in very simplistic terms, ways that she might be able to handle that.”
I think I skipped the notion of explaining that there is a right ‘time and place’ and perhaps barked too loudly up the, “But you’re only five years old,” tree, but I’ve got that little nugget up my sleeve for the next time. And I am pretty certain that won’t be too far away.
I think I did okay this time. My gut feels right about our discussion, despite still ‘over-thinking’ our interaction as per my parenting norm. Even so, I choose on this occasion to go with my hunch that her world is still a beautiful and safe place.
Yay me! My daughter wanted to share the excitement of her new crush with me. And, as many parents will attest, I am also eternally grateful yet again, for the car cocoon and its wonderful cone of conversation.
Does your kid surprise you too with the things that come out of their mouth? Check these signs to see if you’re also raising a spirited child.