Prev Next
Cheek Kiss

Smackdown Updates & Follow-Ups

By Amalah

Advice Smackdown ArchivesAs I’m sure I’ve mentioned once or twice or four dozen times before, I love getting updates from past advice-seekers to let us all know how (or IF) their particular situation panned out for them in the end. And Christmas Eve seems like as good of a time as any to share a few updates with the rest of the class. Mostly because I am way, WAY too frazzled to offer any brilliant advice today anyway, and my fingers are too numb and covered in Scotch tape residue to do much typing. Copy and paste to the rescue!

Update on: Cribs, Toddler Beds…and New Siblings

Dear Amy,

I wanted to send an email to thank you for answering my question, since it looks like I missed the window to post a comment (I wanted to wait until I was sure about the result before saying anything). After reading your column and commenters I waffled for a bit, then decided to take your advice and go ahead and try the big boy bed, and gee. It was a total non-issue. I spent a few days watching him on the video monitor like a hawk and the few times he ventured out of bed I got him right back in it, but overall the transition has been super super easy. No regressions. He sleeps great. He loves his big-boy bed (we bought one from Ikea that uses a full size-mattress (that we already had) but only has it a few inches off the floor).

It is funny to me because I stressed about this for months, and it turned out to be no big deal. Just like my husband said it would be.


So anyway, chalk this up as another win, and thanks again for your advice!

Hooray for successful, no-big-deal transitions. Funny how we tend to completely psyche ourselves out over things that aren’t nearly as difficult as our imaginations tell us they’ll be. Fingers crossed for our own major bed-related shake-up next month, when we not only plan to officially move Ezra out of his crib, but also OUT OF HIS ROOM, and into Noah’s, where there will be a brand-new set of BUNK BEDS. I’m of course picturing no sleep and plenty of late-night carousing (and not to mention at least one inevitable, terrifying tumble from the top bunk), while my husband assures me that seriously, it won’t be that big of a deal.

Easy for him to say. He’s not pregnant. So he can still fortify his nerves with wine.

Update on: Friends With Babysitting Benefits

Hi, Amy!

Congrats on the new baby!!! Your boys are so adorable, I’m sure your third child is going to be a cutiepie as well!

Back in June I wrote to you and asked you for advice about my friendship with babysitting benefits situation. Thanks so much for your advice, it really helped to know during the icky part of the conflict that you and a bunch of other moms backed me. So, an update: I was right to be scared. She refused to speak to me for six weeks except to say “I don’t have a lot of me time and I’m not willing to give any of that up at the moment.” She never agreed to meet with me, but we eventually exchanged some clarifying emails in which she stood her ground and refused to forgive me and I pointed out how unfair it all was. Long story short, the friendship is over, boo hoo, etc.

A few of your readers said that sending a message on Facebook was totally the wrong way to go, and they were so right. I didn’t realize it at the time because my friend and I had only ever communicated via Facebook messaging or texting (or in person, which as you’ll recall was not an option in this situation), and we had discussed at length our mutual aversion to the phone. In the end, she told me that the thing that most upset her was that I had sent it in a Facebook message. I learned a valuable lesson: send fewer messages, get comfortable on the phone. Then I set a healthy boundary for myself: babysitting benefits should be shared with family members ONLY, because I’m lucky enough to be part of a family that isn’t perfect but no matter what, they would never, ever shut someone out like my friend did to me.

Anyways, I just wanted to say thanks to you and to the commenters for all of the support and advice. In the end the whole thing feels very juvenile and I’m just glad it’s over and glad that I feel at peace with it. You helped so much, though, because sometimes just hearing a simple “you’re not an asshole, sweetie” from an unbiased virtual stranger is all a person needs.

I have a new question relating to friendship: please explain the Euro kiss (the two-sided cheek-kissing thing with opposite-sex friends and acquaintances)! I come from a very blue-collar background, where you either hug or just kind of nod in a friend’s direction when you meet up with them, or like, if you’re in church, you shake hands. Basically, where I come from, the only people who move in for a Euro kiss are creepy uncles and fathers-in-law. My husband is a lawyer and we’ve moved to a much more urban area now, and we’ve developed friendships with people who are a bit more… classy? God, I sound like a snob! I have to say I find the Euro kiss unnerving, but only because I’m afraid of doing it wrong and making people feel uncomfortable. Mostly it’s my husband’s male lawyer friends and the banker husbands of my female friends, and I’m just not sure how it goes: do I actually kiss their cheek (make contact with my lips on their cheek?) Is it too intimate if my cheek brushes their cheek? Is it just air kissing, no actual touching??? HELP ME, lest I wind up having a wife accuse me of coming onto her man!!

Oh Crap, What If Our Lips Accidentally Meet? And, OH CRAP, What If They Think I’m Coming On To Them??

Yes, sometimes we do all need to hear someone else objectively assure us that we are not an asshole. And I maintain that you are not, Facebook message or phone call or face-to-face or whatever. You CANCELED BABYSITTING PLANS BECAUSE YOU HAD AN UNAVOIDABLE CONFLICT, you didn’t text-message a break-up or send her a Twitter DM to reveal that you were sleeping with her husband. Good lord. What a drama queen. Good riddance.

Anyway! The Euro-kiss can actually be done in just about every one of the ways you described: a sort-of “kiss kiss” in the air, a brief touching of faces, all the way up to an actual peck on the cheek. Some people do one cheek while others do both…I suppose it’s a regional/cultural thing, or perhaps just the personal preference of the kisser, because I know plenty of born n’ bred in the good ol’ US of A who also enjoy greeting friends in the European kiss-kiss fashion. Perhaps they were influenced by a trip overseas, or simply find it to be more intimate and refined than a handshake…or maybe they are just pretentious twits. I don’t know. I do know that I generally let the other person take the lead. It’s a nice benefit of being the lady half of the situation — it’s easy to let the dude lean in an initiate and then simply copy whatever they do a second or two later. If I feel an actual peck, I may do the same, though I tend to default to the air kiss with MAYBE just a brief bit of cheek contact, since I just…don’t kiss people, as a general rule. I’m a hugger. I also never automatically go for the second cheek until I sense they’re doing it first.

The cheek-kissing is not something I personally grew up around (and like I said, neither did many of the current kiss-greeters I now know), so I figure politeness is a two-way street. If the greeting ends up being a little awkward because I instinctively pull back in surprise or don’t actually kiss them even though That’s How They Do It, it’s not really all my fault. I wasn’t the one who initiated a not-completely-common form of greeting. But with a bit more exposure (and mental notes to maybe remember how certain individuals handle the greeting), you will get more comfortable with it…or at least figure out how to fake being more comfortable with it.

Update on: Dealing with Developmental Delay Deniers

Well hello there, gorgeous!

Several months ago, you and your commenters helped me with two MAJOR hurdles in my life: finding out that my daughter WAS speech delayed, and dealing with the people who didn’t want to believe it.

Thanks to YOUR column and YOUR readers, I was able to more or less convince the nay-sayers that my daughter needed help. (My in-laws still think she just magically caught up. Whatevs.) I also bucked up, quit whining about it, and got her enrolled in some pretty intensive speech therapy. Twice a week, every week for six months. Her therapists are nothing short of AWESOME, and when her therapy concluded I bought them both flowers and coffee. I would’ve bought them the moon if I could, I was so grateful and happy.

Amy, she not only CAUGHT UP, she’s ADVANCED. Chloe is just over 2 ½ right now, and she’ll occasionally speak in full sentences. She’s learning to count. She’s just…Wow. She’s amazing me everyday. The best part is now she can tell me, “I love you, Mimi.” As any Mother can grasp, hearing her say those words when just a short time ago she couldn’t even call me Mimi…Well, I tear up and it melts my heart.

If it hadn’t been for me stumbling upon your blogs, this would have never been set in motion.

Thank you and thank your readers for all of the stupendous advice and support. I am forever in your debt.

Thank you again and MERRY CHRISTMAS!


Aaaaaaand on that note, I’m signing off for the holiday weekend and gonna go eat some more cookies. You should too. We all deserve it!

About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

icon icon
chat bubble icon


newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Sarah C.
Sarah C.

I moved to The Netherlands a few years ago where it’s not just traditional to double-kiss, it’s a triple. Since I’m pretty touch-averse anyway, it’s been a weird transition. You don’t have to actually kiss. I kind of do a half hug, cheek almost touching, air kiss next to someone’s cheek, and nobody’s been offended yet. It’s not just opposite sex kissing either – there’s some weird thing where it’s men and women or women and women (men and men only if they’re close). It’s nice, once you get used to it, but damn, it gets old greeting a whole… Read more »


Yay, updates!  Now, to turn the smackdown table, could you try something like this combo to minimize the risk of falling-off-the-top-bunk (would Noah be OK with it?)?, with a mattress underneath for Ezra, of course.  Plus, one of these to help contain a rolling sleeper: http: //


Ooh! I just got a goodbye cheeck-kiss and it helped remind me of some details. In this instance, it was a hand-clasp and single-cheek kiss. The way it worked was, the person initiating the kiss came in and kissed my cheek while i turned my head to offer it, and when she kissed my cheek, I kissed the air. There was no need for me to turn my face in to kiss her cheek.

This reminded me that, generally, I find kissing the air the safest way to go.


Mine generally go like what Niki described.  Or sometimes we’ll touch cheeks and both kiss the air.  Of course, that’s mostly with various relatives, who also get hugs, so ymmv.

Oh, Crap
Oh, Crap

Thanks for the advice about cheek/air kissing! Mostly I’m glad to hear that letting my cheek graze theirs isn’t somehow too intimate! 🙂