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Erin Stewart: Kissing boys and other horrors of growing up

Published: Sunday, Nov. 27 2011 4:00 p.m. MST

"Have you ever kissed a boy? What's it like?"

That's the question my 4-year-old daughter asked of my best friend while they were out on a special dinner date.

When my friend reported this conversation to me, I had the immediate urge to shove my daughter back into her baby clothes and pretend she wasn't growing up.

I have yet to determine where this insidious thought came from. Was it someone at preschool? A particularly racy episode of "Sesame Street"? Or did she simply see my husband and I smooching in the kitchen and her wheels started turning?

Whatever the catalyst, something she saw or heard made my daughter aware of two things: 1. Boys are different than girls. 2. Girls kiss boys.

And I'm sure thought No. 3 wasn't far behind: I wonder what it's like to kiss a boy.

I knew this day would come. I just figured it would be 10 years from now and I would be much more prepared to discuss the finer points of boys, kissing and how mixing the two together is a really bad idea before you are, say, 26?

Then again, my first childhood kiss was in first grade with Tommy Kolker in his bathroom. His mom and aunt walked in on us and laughed. They may have even taken a picture. It was pretty traumatic.

The truth is my daughter is growing up. I have to come to terms with this. Perhaps what bothers me most is that she didn't ask me her super secret boy-kissing question. She never even hinted at it with me.

Am I already that uncool of a mom that she can't discuss her boy questions with me? Did she think I would scream in horror and research home-schooling methods?

Well, I might have. But I guess it's natural to not discuss some things with your mom, even when you're 4 years old. That's why cool aunts were created. So I guess I'm glad my daughter felt comfortable enough with my friend to ask her kissing questions.

And, I'm happy to report my friend did a great job of answering her, making sure to include the fact that you kiss someone when you love them, whether it's a friend, a mom or a sister. She also told her that kissing boys is something you do when you love them and are going to get married.

I'm sure that last tidbit will be modified over the years, but for now, it's a solid piece of advice — and I'm glad my friend was there to give it.

But if I don't get to deliver the sex talk in all its glory, I'm going to feel pretty cheated. I had to sit through it with my mom. It's the cycle of life, and a moment of pure, unadulterated awkwardness that I refuse to miss.

You had better believe I'm pulling out all the stops — dioramas and visual aids and everything. It may be the last conversation my daughter will ever have with me, so I'm going to give it all I've got.

I guess it's no wonder my daughter won't talk to me about kissing boys. All I can say is thank goodness for cool aunts and best friends.

Erin Stewart is a regular blogger for Deseret News. From stretch marks to the latest news for moms, Stewart discusses it all while her 4-year-old daughter crams Mr. Potato Head pieces in her little sister's nose.

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