CANDY ALLAN: Warning: teenagers ahead

Watching kids grow up is one of the joys of parenthood. Recently, I had a glimpse into the future — my little boy is on the edge of becoming a teenager.

He had a couple of friends over one afternoon. They played baseball outside and then came indoors to play a board game until the other boys’ parents arrived to pick them up. While they were on the floor in the living room, happily chattering away, I sat nearby.

Not that they realized I was paying attention to them — they were in their own little world, and I may as well have been part of the furniture.

I wasn’t listening to every word, just monitoring the disagreement level and occasionally noting the topic, scouting for gift ideas to tuck away. But this exchange got my attention:

Boy 1: You know, I’ve kissed a girl.

Boy 2: Where?

Boy 1: On the cheek.

Boy 2: I’ve kissed three or four girls. On the mouth!

Boy 3: No way!

Boy 2: Jealous?

Boy 3: NO! You should be jealous of my woman-free lifestyle!

After a couple “whatevers” the conversation turned to sports. Topic ended — for now.

I’d just heard my first “girl” conversation among my son and his friends. Please note I didn’t say the first conversation they’d had, just the first one I’ve heard.

While I’m not ready to watch him navigate the world of dating girls, with the high school puppy love and heartbreak, I don’t think it’s up to me.

Come to think of it, I don’t know if I was “ready” for him to roll over or cut teeth — and I know I wasn’t ready for him to go to school!

Children, however, seem to follow their own timetable with no regard to whether their parents are ready to handle something or not. Since it’s my job to help guide him as best I can, I’d better get ready.

Because ready or not, here comes a teenager.