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LOL Can def relate to the "suicide hour"....sounds like a couple of pre-schoolers in THAT house for sure!!!

.......thank goodness for takeaways is all I can say. (Although I attribute my youthfull appearance to the vast quantity of "E Numbers" I ingest on a daily basis - great preservative ;)

Hoooo...touchy subject again...yes of course we love americans, but it seems like they love us even more:


Hilarious! I can't believe that article isn't in Bad Mom Weekly...star letter? What next! Gasp! Obviously the kids had a day off from feeding the lions and sharpening the spears.

One thing I love about the Internet is getting a taste of other cultures and learning what happens in different countries. Is it true that in other countries kids don't ride kangaroos to school like they do here in Australia? How ever do you cope?

Stars and Stripes forever. I love Americans. Love South Africans (especially your cricketers). Even the poms. Love them. No contraversy in this comment, I'm a good girl :)

We also can't joke about race Here In America. No, no, nooooo, especially not black/white race issues. No ma'am, no way, no how. It can get you fired from your job! Americans are many things, and touchy is one of them.

Actually, Americans can joke about race if they're not coming at it from an inappropriate angle. It's the inappropriate angle that makes people touchy.

Guys, will you please stick to the topic at hand. Focus on the bath! The cooking of dinner while the kids were in the bath!


Oh Tertia we are soooooo over the whole bath thing, time to get us a whole new can o' worms ;)

Meh, put the kids in the tub and give us another topic to sink our teeth into (or bare our teeth about...whichever). Maybe something controversial, like ponytails or pigtails? Stripes with plaids? Crocs versus flip flops? No more of this mamby-pamby bath stuff. *wink*

Seriously, keep it up. Your posts always make me at least think.

Lovely! You're getting such a lesson in the offensensitivity of Americans. Trouble is we've been told for a long time now that we have the RIGHT (goddammit) not to be offended. Mix that up with what one of my Brit friends called our "litigious flu" that makes everyone feel everything is terribly terribly dangerous and... well it makes for a very busy comment box!

BTW, if there's a poll, I was a "listener" rather than a "hoverer" on the bath front - three kids, all survived (so far. Might kill 'em yet).

Bath? What bath? Hopefully the kiddies are bathing AFTER feeding the lions, or they'll get all dirty all over again. I'm going to now switch to the "it's cool to be white" thing!! How very inappropriate, when we all know brown is the new black, and grey is the new white. lol

I don't get it? Why would you think this letter would elicit "shock and horror" in Americans?

T - is this one of those "the best defense is a good offense" things?

Loves ya madly

Dearest T,
I so wish you could let these comments "roll off your back"-- oops, reference to duck, water, bathing....
But hey, how many times have I (an American) sat alone soaking in my tub with an alcoholic drink. (There are no kids.)
Urp. Move on.

Ummmm - I thought most of the comments so far were funny and completely understanding the humour...which particular ones warranted the 8 point addition? Did I miss something? I thought we were having fun with this? Maybe I have a sick sense of humour.

Anyway, I completely got it and thought the commentors did too....

OH MY GOD. Does this mean that this bad mother is going to FEED HER KIDS DINNER AFTER THE BATH? They might get DIRTY! Horrors.

Seriously, I could care less what other mothers do. I do things my way, everyone else can do things their way. (I'm American, BTW.)

You're very patient to keep trying to get the easily-offended brigade to get of their high horses.

Go have some lovely wine, just make sure the kids don't cork it when they open it for you. You know, after they get done feeding the lions.

And my thought when i read the newspaper letter was that her kids were older than 2 year olds. Even 4, 5, & 6 year olds are the cause of the "suicide hour" when you are racing to bathe them and cook dinner at the same time, yet, i would not hestitate to leave kids of that age alone in the tub.
I stand firm. I will not leave my 2.5 year old twins alone in water. Ever. Not in the bath. Not in the pool. Not even with me in the next room. And I will certainly not be convinced by this letter even if it is extremely funny and the timing of it was brilliant for your blog, T.
That's just me. I don't care or judge you for how far away you are willing to walk from your 2.5 y.o. twins while in the bath. Please don't judge me for how close I feel I need to be. Or, that I think it's important to be mindful of water safety concerns. It doesn't make me neurotic, judgemental or a dork b/c i won't leave my kids alone, or, because I say so, or even b/c I point out how easy and quickly a "safe" situation in water can turn to shit.

In America we say "bathe." ;-) When I was little, I had great fun pretending I was in a cleaning product commercial while in the bath, ALL.BY.MYSELF. All while comtemplating my mother's interesting choice of royal blue and brown decorating scheme. On the other hand, I just dropped more than $50 on bath crap from One Step Ahead. Things such as a suction cup drain lever cover (I lived in fear of impaling my head on those things when I was a kid, rinsing my hair) and inflatable tub side cushions. Those little stinkers are making bath time dangerous! Plus I'm a total sucker for anything that will make my kids "safe" or my life easier with them. Maybe I shouldn't let Julia roll off of the changing table for starters??

I think that comment needed to be posted/pontificated at a water safety blog, certainly not a light hearted tongue in cheek post is all SusieQ. Time and place for everything, remember?

As someone from the old country living in the US, I'm smirking because I find it amusing as a S-African and even more amusing because I get why it would bother Americans so.

Dear Tertia,

I love your blog. I daresay all of the people who felt you had gone overboard these past few days love your blog. They also like healthy discussion, and get hurt, like you do when they are attacked.

So, I'm a little, ok a lot, confused by your lighten the fuck up note.

Here's what happened.

You posted a cute story about your kids.

Some readers thought it raised issues of childrens safety.

You made a joke.

Some more people commented that they were making a serious point about water safety.

You wrote a very long post about how you would never, ever, ever do anything to put your kids in harms way, and really went overboard in attacking the all those people who were just trying to talk about how no parent could be so careful. You were a bit out of character.

Then you come back and tell US to lighten up. I really do not get it.

I think there are obviously some cultural differences between all countries. We even have cultural differences here in RSA. What might seem bad manners to an Afrikaans male is not considered bad manners by a Zulu male. We also have to be careful what discussions we have with individuals, never mind the jokes. Race, sexual preferences, religion, politics, etc. etc. are dangerous topics and no-no's at the workplace.

I am not a mom yet, but trying (desperately). I did not know that there are controversial topics being a mom. This has been such an eye opener. I thought controversial mommy topics would be things like disciplince (hiding vs. verbal). Never new bathing could get such a response.

Once I manage to have a baby I am NEVER sharing how I am raising him / her with ANYONE. If T can get this much hassles what chances do I stand?

Okay. I've been idly reading this exchange for the last couple of days and I just finally have to weigh in.

Here's the thing, it's not whether or not you leave your kids in the bathtub by themselves (older kids, not 6 month-olds), it's the presumption of commenting on other people's choices as if they hadn't ever heard of a child drowning in the bath. It's an annoying thing to do. And if you want to be annoying, by all means continue to comment on other people's parenting choices. Life is too short, don't be a judgy Mom.

What the hell? This woman is feeding her kids AFTER bathing them??? Bad mommy bad mommy! ;)

Also, in defense of us American parents, like I posted, we aren't safe to make decisions about leaving our kids unattended anywhere. If you are pregnant, you can't smoke in public, drink coffee, or eat soft cheese (even though it's pasteurized) Children have to be strapped in something everywhere they go, or helmeted, preferably strapped in and helmeted. If something happens to your children accidentally while you aren't beside them, you can be imprisoned for manslaughter, and if it happens right in front of you, (and yes, serious accidents can happen right under your very nose) you can be considered as guilty as if you bashed your kids' head in on purpose, again again and again. In fact, try proving you didn't. If you don't go to jail, you should sue. Sue the car company when you back over your son in the driveway, sue the maker of the hot water heater when you scald your baby in the bathtub. It's ugly out here for a parent. Please forgive us for being extreeeeemly cautious about everything, and having a sense of humor about nothing.*

*DISCLAIMER please, please have a sense of humor about this post though. I believe in being cautious, I looooov my country, I never let my twins out of my sight....ever. Because I know that they will do one or ALL of the following: run into traffic, kill themselves by jumping off playground equipment, drown themselves in the bath, or choke on any number of tantalizing non edible objects. (Baby A actually put a dead bird in his mouth, while I was only 4 feet away. He has of yet not died of the monkey-pox-bird-flu)

Americans are weird. I don't know why they get all up in arms, either, and I'm one of them! (Maybe they're just bored.)

Next topic please. This is getting rather dull.

Tertia, what the heck???

This doesn't even make sense:

"7. I thought was a classic illustration of how in America there is this big focus on NOT leaving your kids unattended and here in South Africa..."

"8. It is not a post about... America"


It's an illustration about a cultural difference that is not about a cultural difference? Huh?

To me this reads like someone who keeps saying they're not angry, but they really are. What I want to know really, if you want to share, is what is really going on with you? Because to me it's like you blew up about a fairly minor comment and it's still going.

I was wondering if maybe dealing with American agents/publishers is making you feel like no one in the US is ever going to get you or something. I dunno.

It's just hard to understand. This is the second time this year I've felt like you were ranting in a really kind of out of control way and I just didn't get it. (Except that I do it myself). Hope things are okay behind the scenes.

I'm an American. I thought all this was funny! Every person is different, though, so naturally you'll have some who take offense, and some who like the humor. Can't worry about it. I love your writing, Tertia; you totally crack me up. As for the Great Bathing Debate of '07,and in the words of Eddie Izzard, "Move on!" ;^)

Have a wonderful weekend!

If I have kids, I plan to let my dogs bathe/keep an eye out for them while I sit on my veranda drinking cabernet. AMEN.

Some people are just sad. There was never once during all of this that I was every offended or thought that you would for one minute put your children in danger.

I found the whole thing (initial post) quite funny and the rest of it (with the expection of the letter in the publication) very sad.


I love your blog and read it as often as I can, keep up the wonderful writing!

I am late to this whole thing, and I think it's hilarious. My name is merseydotes, I am an American and I let my almost four-year-old play for ten minutes in the bath by herself while I am in my room reading a magazine. I yell in every minute or so to make sure I get an answer, but that's it! Am I supposed to sit there and stare at her the whole time?

ps-I also sometimes leave her at home for five or ten minutes by herself while I walk the dog after work. Eeeeeeek! Call Child Protective Services! (Or maybe I should move the family to South Africa)

Yes, yes, I am a sad person. I really do have no life. I like to sit around and read blogs and find safety hazards where there are none; somehow I thought that was a substitution for husband, children, job, etc. It *is* quite childish of me, yes, I agree. ::hanging head in abject shame:: Am off to figure out how to "grow the fuck up" (not sure they teach that Here In American schools, ha ha) and find a REAL life. Which I will assume includes bashing people in odd, non-sequitorial ways.

Awwww you poor thing. I laughed. I laughed again today at that winning letter. I'm American and I have found no offense to any of the bathing debacle of 07' posts. (or any other for that matter)

Tertia, I can tell this is really bothering you and you don't really want to let it go. That's fine with me. I get that way too!! And besides....isn't this EXACTLY what blogging is all about??? Are we not allowed to vent, say what we want, get stuff out??? I know you have a large fan base and you have been doing this for far longer then I, but sometimes you need to be able to just post for yourself. NOT for them.

You did nothing wrong, but I definitely empathize with your hurt. Write what you want to write!!! You're funny and we love you.


Amen Tertia, people need to lighten the hell up and grow a sense of humor.

I laughed at the article. I laughed at your first response to the comments in the first post about all of this. I also kind of think maybe you need to relax. Yes, the comments have gotten judgmental and a little touchy, but only after you have turned innocent and polite comments into more than what they were. I have read and re-read, and I can't figure out where you were getting that people weren't sticking to the topic, or turning this into a ""what the hell do you mean by that" thing again". I love your blog and I read it every day, but I think if you went back and looked at the comments, then you would see that this only turned into an "ordeal" after you jumped on people for innocent comments.
Isn't this what you always say you want for your blog? Don't you always say you want people to be able to disagree politely?vPeople responded to you in a polite manner, and only after you got offended by that did everyone turn ugly.
I really hope this doesn't turn into even more of a "mommy-blog" showdown, but I just think that if you go back and take a second look, then you will see that you maybe over-reacted. And really, who here hasn't over-reacted to something when they were feeling a little bit fragile? I am constantly telling myself to calm down and take a second look at something.

Of course it's totally OK to overreact, to take offense where it wasn't warranted, to show your human side.
That is why people keep coming back -- for your honest discussion of all the highs and lows in your life. I think you have been incredibly brave to write so openly about depression and drug use and the challenges of parenting even when you love your children dearly.
What strikes me as a little unsettling about this latest sequence is how you don't seem to understand how no one meant any offense and you stoked it all. And now, telling people to "lighten the fuck up." What gives? if you're having a bad day, just say so.
I'm American and I am often horribly embarrassed by my country what with this god-forsaken war and the ugly americans who travel abroad and get upset because menus are not printed in english, and what not.
But I also think Americans are portrayed in this stereotyped way that is pretty inaccurate.

I haven't commented on this whole thing, but feel like I need to say something now (as if *my* opinion matters?).

In the original post - T's anecdotes about her kids - I must have blinked and totally missed the "bath danger" issue. Only after it became a Big Thing did I even realize she mentioned Leaving Kids Unattended While They Are Bathing.

While I have NO intention of commenting one way or another about That, I have to say that I personally think the whole thing has gotten so insanely out of hand, it isn't even funny.

T... darling... you don't EVER have to justify your parenting choices to anybody! I can understand the original comment, in the original post, perhaps hitting a nerve with you... but why not just email the person privately, to clarify the issue? Was it really necessary to make a whole separate post about it, essentially fanning the flame, and getting people to choose sides on the issue?

You know I adore you, and I totally do NOT mean to cause you any further hurt, but I just don't see how any of this has benefitted you. And this blog is all about YOU... it should make you feel GOOD, not judged. KWIM?

In a very global sense, I'm sure all of us adults are aware of basic safety issues. But I'm also equally certain that we all make our own choices, governed by our personalities, circumstances, and the kids involved. Hey... maybe even our MOOD at the time! If we felt more secure about ourselves, comments/criticisms by others probably wouldn't sting so much. But I know - from your recent posts - that you are probably feeling particularly fragile right now, which is probably why you were easily hurt by the comment (which likely was meant with the best possible intentions).

Please... please... let's all kiss and make up! This is rather like an episode of Seinfeld - a whole drama-filled show, about nothing! LOL (only, less humorous)

I am a new reader to your blog and I've got to say, this kind of flare up is a big part of the reason why I haven't made my blog public yet!

Your writing is terrific, your take on parenthood is refreshingly honest, the hope you share with other infertiles is life-affirming . . . the crap you have to put up with in order to do all this is daunting.

Beware of any post that begins with "In America, we..."

In America, we tend to think we know it all and need to impart our vaccum-packed wisdom on anyone who will listen (and on to those who are trying very hard not to listen, too).

This is your blog, sister, don't let the Mommy Judges shanghai it! Oh, and don't let a dingo eat your baby. Oh wait, is that Australia or South Africa? All the same to us Americans!

If I let my kids have a bath, with or without me there, the bathroom would soon be underwater. I make them take a shower, but unfortunately, they 'demand' I stay close, so end result.....nothing gets done unless it's a bit of laundry. Kids.

I find it disturbing that this is now getting played out on national lines, as if, had you been American (rather than South African) you would not have gotten the exact same responses; or as if, had all your readers been South African (and none American), you would not have had the reaction your post had.

The reactions are not a result of cultural difference. They are the result of the nature of the blog, and how people orient themselves to a blogger, and what they feel they have a right to say (which they may never say IRL).

Your tendency to put yourself "out there" (for advice, whatever) gives people the go ahead to give unsolicited advice, to be judgmental, to be assholes sometimes, without any sanction.

It has nothing to do with Americans/South Africans, and everything to do with the way the blog kind of objectifies your life for scrutiny by a larger public. Your life as object, which readers get to judge and comment upon and take part in. No matter how much your readers love you, your life is served up to them/us in a form that mediates and gives them distance from it. So responding to it in blog form would be very different from responding to you on the phone, or over the fence, or at the shopping mall.

Your defensiveness here is, I sense, part of an unwillingness on your part to understand the implications of this. You write, how can you all not know me by now? Why can't you "get" me? etc. But the reality is, I would argue, that the medium of the blog is set up to foster just these kinds tensions. The blog allows some of your readers to give advice and feel like experts (and it's possible that some may they have zero authority in their own lives). It's not that they don't "get" it (because IRL they may even step outside of the bathroom for a bit too), but it's about feeling empowered.

These are the tensions that come with blogging. You create an object out of a life, and invite people to comment. It's not the same as having "pen pals." And again, it has nothing whatsoever to do with cultural difference.

Why all the American bashing?? Bathe your kids, or not, watch them bathe, or not. I could really give two shits what you or any other mother does in the bathroom (or anywhere else)with HER child.

Get over yourselves people.

A nasty American and watcher of bathing children. (that sounds bad, I mean MY child.)

dear tertia, i would have composed a meaningful post in response to this, but my husband is in the shower, and i have to make sure he is safe in there on his own. his bum might need wiping too. and then there is all that thinking for him that has to be done.
well, how could i let the poor man down after having such a doting caring mother?
unlike you.
evil non-watcher of your children in the bath.
what will become of those poor babies?
next you will be telling us you are actively encouraging them to grow up as independant adults with no hang ups.
and TRUSTING them to manage for a few seconds on their own.
shame shame shame on you . . .

I too am so bored by this (and I didn't even comment, or think anything was amiss until round three or four), but now I'm bored and waiting for a business meeting so here goes.

If you want to attack our lovely American president, Please be my guest. But Americans in general? Most of you non-Americans don't get us anymore than we get you. I find it ironic because it would be so easy to label anyone from South Africa a racist, but it's never even occurred to me to do that because I see individuals on this blog, not a country with a sketchy past.

"Guys, you really need to lighten the fuck up. Seriously."
I thought you wanted us to treat each other respectfully and not be so judgmental. Nice example.

I would almost come to the conclusion that americans don;t have a sense of humour. I know better but come on. Noone bashes americans... And Andrea the rasism comment is way of.....

No where has tertia bashed americans. The only thing she does is find some fun in cultural differences..

Andrea, you are the one who is now "attacking" South Africans. Tertia did not attack America or Americans. If you read this blog you will see that your fellow Americans agree with this. We all have access to newspapers, television and the internet, so please let's not start talking about countries with sketchy pasts. You are the one who is out of line now. All would agree, my American friends included.

America -- very sketchy past. Very sketchy present. Agree wholeheartedly. Did not mean to offend anyone from SA. Only to make a point. Badly I guess. Mea culpa!

If I were you, Tertia, I'd take a few days off from blogging and come back password-protected. But you probably have thicker skin than mine.

Some of the comments above are so mean-spirited that it is almost as if they were written by trolls. Treat them as if they were trolls: just ignore them.

Sorry about this giant shit storm.

I am a military wife/mom and have been blessed with the opportunity to raise my children in Europe, American and now Alaska (trust me-it's a different world up here). I have been told by German grandmothers that allowing my children to crawl in the grass was bad...Austrian mothers that my baby didn't have on a warm enough coat...Italian teenage boy/waiter that chicken nuggets and french fries are bad for small children to eat...Czech men that I must give my coughing child honey and tea-not the cold medicine I was giving them at the time....and of course, the random drive-by assvice from fellow Americans...

My point is this. No matter homeland, heritage, race or religion, there will ALWAYS be that one person that thinks they know how to raise your child better than you. They are annoying as hell and you just want to punch them in the face. I have learned the best response to know-it-all's is this: "Thanks for your opinion".

One more thing, much like you can talk shit about your own family all day long, but you won't stand for anyone outside of your family to joke on your siblings/parents...please know we are a sensitive bunch here in the US...be nice and consider before you speak even slightly against Americans. We are the butt of all international jokes and it hurts our feelings-even if we know it's true.

I agree with Anne, take a break :) You don't deserve to be stressed out by all of this crap...

Hehe. Have I mentioned that I love you, your attitude, your humour, and most of all I love that you told everyone to lighten the fuck up. Indeed my friend, indeed.


Tertia, I just reread my previous comment (@ 10:27) and realize that it could be totally misconstrued and sound a bit asshole-ish, which I totally do not intend. I was trying to wax philosophic about the blog phenomena in general, and when I say "the blog" I do not mean THIS blog, but rather the universal blog form, etc. Just wanted to make sure that you didn't read it as though I were saying there was something about yours in particular that invited these kinds of comments, but that the nature of blogging in general does. whew.

Also, have you ever considered just turning off comments to something like this? Give yourself the last word, girl! It's your blog; you have a right to it.

Tertia, perhaps a commenter or two (or a fifty) overreacted but it's very clear that you did too.

Your comment on this first post was a wonderful (and rather cheeky) response to the Angela's "drive by". Turning that reply into a post of it's own changed it. It made you seem aggresive and hurtful. The article was interesting until edited it. I think you owe Angela an appology. Her punishment for unsolited advice has been, in my opinion, a public lashing.

If you my girlfriend I whisk you off to lunch, order a fishbowl margarita and we'd talk about why you're feeling so sensitive. What gives T? You have a thick skin, if that one little (annoying!) comment bothered you that much something is up.

Piping up once more. Can we all just get along?!

Are you shitting me? As an American (getting more embarrasing to admit that every damn day) My mom would dump me and my little brother in the bath for half an hour at a time and no one BLINKED at it. Granted, we're talking upwards of 25 years ago, but PLEASE. I have had ENOUGH of this "wrap children in cotton wool and kill anyone who says otherwise" parenting technique. So, so annoying. Tertia, send these haters to me, I'll punch them in the head.

Someone put me out of my misery here. When the "lighten the fuck up" edit went in there were 14 comments, 2 of them mine. I thought I was going along with it - so can someone point out to me who was being mean / not getting it / being an asshole? Was it me? The edit came of left field.

"N", this controversy has, at it's heart, ppl.'s level of concern for the water safety of toddlers, with a side order of mean-spirited judgmentalism towards Americans and ppl. watching/not watching their kids bathe.

This is exactly the time, and this is exactly the place.
Seems you are as sensitive as Tertia herself on this topic.

I think this topic calls for a bath joke.

Little Johnny is sitting in the bath. His mom wanders past the bathroom door (en route, of course, to the cocktail cabinet) and, spying him through the door, shrieks, 'What the hell you doing, Johnny?'

Little Johnny retorts: 'It's mine, and I can wash it as fast as I like.'

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