When Saskia was a year or two, Pete and I decided to gently implement a kids-kiss-only-on-the-cheek rule.
Our toddler trying to kiss our grown male friends on the lips, completely innocent though it was, caused some awkwardness among all parties involved, save Saskia herself.
The physician in me wanted to reduce the risk of contracting herpes simplex virus type I (the cold sore virus, which can be transmitted even in the absence of visible lesions). Then there's the risk of catching a run-of-the-mill rhinovirus or adenovirus. And if I hadn't already made the decision not to try to protect Saskia from the bacteria responsible for dental cavities, that could have been another consideration.
Pete didn't grow up kissing his parents on the lips, and my own upbringing was fairly undemonstrative.
So we encouraged Saskia to kiss only on the cheek, and did the same for Leif, and haven't given it a second thought for five or six years.
But Ariana insists on kissing me on the lips. When I offer her my cheek, she'll have none of it. She giggles delightedly, grabs my face with her little hands, and plants a big one right on my mouth. The other day in Superstore she gave me a smooch on the lips right in the middle of the frozen foods aisle, and it took me a minute to disentangle her arms from around my neck.
The thing is, I don't mind these wet, loving kisses on the lips from my two-year-old. Our usual peck on the cheek now seems rather reserved.
So I'm curious. Do you kiss your kids on the lips? Do you let them kiss family and friends?