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I thought it was funny. And I live in the US and am becoming accustomed to the taste of shoe leather due to the frequency with which I stick my foot in my mouth.

Well said.. I got the joke ;) I got the intention and I got the point. Not everyone is going to I suppose.

Firstly (((hugs)))

As parents we are never going to get everything right. At least not according to other parents. We all do things differently. It doesn't make us wrong.

I don't watch my daughter every second of every day. I have a childproofed house and ears attuned to silences. That doesn't make me a bad parent.

How you parent is different to how they parent and that in turn is different to how I parent.

We are human. We are different. Not wrong just different.

You are a great mum, you love your kids and have their well being firmly in mind.

I'm sorry that a few people couldn't just take the post in the lightheartedness it deserved.

Dear Tertia, please don't give up blogging! I love your stories and routinely giggle over the funny parts of your life that you've shared with teh Interwebs. Don't go anywhere, thumb your nose at the naysayers and keep posting!

And so now those of us who are long-time, devoted Tertia readers who happened to be in the pro-Angela camp are wondering if you are pissed at us....

But if even one of your many readers yesterday has now rethought her decision to leave the bathroom while her child is bathing, who knows, maybe a life has been saved. All the catfighting would be worth that.

I think humor often does not travel well over the net. I have a very sarcastic, dry sense of humor that has gotten me in trouble many times in posts and e-mails. Without my accompanying uncharacteristic dead-pan face and voice, instead of sounding funny, I sound like a bitch.

I too thought it was funny. I just have one perspective that might make you feel better about this whole thing. I have a friend who is a much better parent than I am. More patient, doesn't yell, plays more on the floor. I say none of this sarcastically. I admire her and I think of her often when I'm losing it or when I'm not doing what I should for my kids. And yet . . . her kids drive me nuts. Her older daughter is three months younger than mine and she has very little personality and can be somewhat rude. And my friend does not let this slide - it's just her kid. I could be nitpicky and point out other stuff, but my point is that even if someone is doing a better job than you (although I find it hard to believe that all knowing commenters on a blog fall into that category) it doesn't necessarily mean that their children are better behaved, smarter or really anything. While I think we should all be more like my friend (or at least I should) it doesn't mean that my kids are suffering greatly for the difference. And maybe our family style is a better fit for our kids. So please remember that we're all doing the best we can, we all can be doing better and that in the long run it may make very little difference anyway (or at least only at the margins).

Hope this sort of made sense - please keep writing. Your blog makes me want to return to Cape Town everyday.

I too thought it was funny. I just have one perspective that might make you feel better about this whole thing. I have a friend who is a much better parent than I am. More patient, doesn't yell, plays more on the floor. I say none of this sarcastically. I admire her and I think of her often when I'm losing it or when I'm not doing what I should for my kids. And yet . . . her kids drive me nuts. Her older daughter is three months younger than mine and she has very little personality and can be somewhat rude. And my friend does not let this slide - it's just her kid. I could be nitpicky and point out other stuff, but my point is that even if someone is doing a better job than you (although I find it hard to believe that all knowing commenters on a blog fall into that category) it doesn't necessarily mean that their children are better behaved, smarter or really anything. While I think we should all be more like my friend (or at least I should) it doesn't mean that my kids are suffering greatly for the difference. And maybe our family style is a better fit for our kids. So please remember that we're all doing the best we can, we all can be doing better and that in the long run it may make very little difference anyway (or at least only at the margins).

Hope this sort of made sense - please keep writing. Your blog makes me want to return to Cape Town everyday.

"Why do some people choose to inform me of what I am doing wrong every time I post?"

It isn't just you & it's because the internet (and parenting blogs/fora in particular) is full of sanctimonious fucks who believe that everyone else in the world is in dire need of their unsolicited advice lest they fuck up.

They are hideous bores (just like the put your legs in the air brigade) but so simple minded they can't conceive that is it possible to do things differently. Oh god how I hate their slimy, patronizing, concern.

Chin up Tertia.

Don't you DARE go beige on me...I'd never read here.

Tertia, have you got an easy "delete" button so you can purge unsolicited assvice that makes you cranky? Or a way to append your own note at the end of such a comment, maybe a "Congratulations! You have been nominated for this week's Humorless Wretch Award!"? Sure, that might be felt as a personal attack by the commenter--just as you might feel her comment as a personal attack. So you'd be even, and you'd show zero tolerance for humorlessness on humorous posts.

Also? Cyclists should be run off the road whenever possible.

I choose Option A - "some people just are like that".
I work with a whole bunch of them. Their glasses are always half-empty, they tend to search far and hard for something they can pinpoint and stick an "ERROR" label on.

Who would've thought such a funny story (I laughed so hard, it was hilarious, as all your stories) would be subjected to someone who noticed you are not Supermom?

I hope that you do really want comments about it. Here's my opinion, but is clearly JUST that.

I thought your comment was funny.

When you posted it as its own post though, I thought it came off meaner for a couple of reasons. One was that as a reader it came off like you ignored all the comments but the (slightly) negative one - as if you were sort of "pouncing" on the one person who didn't say "oh yes you are a lovely parent." (Which you are of course.) And I also thought it came off a bit like an invitation to everyone to join in the Angela-bashing.

In today's post here's the part that stands out to me:

"Kick me while I am down." - do you really believe that someone commented about water safety to get at you? Also, if you said "I feel down and am posting to feel better" I missed it. I am not saying the bath safety post was a smooth move, but I do not think that it was intended to get at you.

The whole "unsolicited advice" thing: I do understand as a parent and a blogger how unsolicited advice comes across. I get about 10 emails a week from Christians trying to exorcise me (truly). And when it's about your kids it feels 100 times worse.

BUT I have come to realize that when I post something to the Internet that has a "comments" box after it, there is for many people an implicit relationship there that I am... open to comments. Which includes advice.

It is NOT the same as someone coming up to me at the playground, because I have chosen to write about that particular thing - not just shown up for an afternoon with my kids.

I do think if you specifically asked people not to give advice, they would refrain. And if not ban their asses. :)

For a broader perspective... in my professional life, at my previous job, we opened comments on articles about oh, 3 years ago. You'd think professional writers would be used to it, but no - the immediacy and public aspect of the comments appearing right under their articles (and mine) was a bit of a cold shock. I spent a lot of time both soothing and explaining why we could not delete negative comments - even those that got it wrong. (Example: on an article about medical research that clearly stated it would be 3 years before anything would come to market, someone lambasted the author for not giving information on where to get the treatment.)

One realizes fairly quickly that a) people usually only comment when they are moved to, which means they are reacting in some way whether positive or negative and b) people LOVE to share their own information.

It truly is not personal in that context - the commenters have NO idea who the writers are, generally. And yet, they give advice. Because that's the nature of the beast... when people see that little "comment" link, they will.

Like me today. I hope that you are feeling better and not quite so vulnerable.

Yikes - the "which you are of course" is referring to being a lovely parent, not to bashing someone. :)

Some people are just like that. It is just that we avoid them IRL. Can't avoid them here. They take a beautiful story/post and have to pick out what was wrong with it. They miss the point.

I am glad you are having such a good time with your kids. You can "hear" how much you love them.

I agree with above where she says that people only post when they are moved to. So they see something that they thought warrented a comment and then post on that little thing.

I thought it was funny...

Wow. Oops, some thing just land badly. I'm sorry that whole things just went wrong :-(.
I think sometimes it's hard to know what people do know. The US these days tends to be a little hyper and overcautious, and we're bombarded by messages of how things that don't seem dangerous (like a bathtub) are. The piece that's hard to know is how far that message travels-if you, or Tess, or anyone in another country gets the same message. And not knowing, it's our tendency to share, because we care. I don't think the motive is to try and make you feel like a bad parent, though I see where it comments can be taken that way :-(
As far as the joke goes- I loved it, personally!

I thought the post was funny. I love your writing style and the things you discuss. I guess there are just some people that do not get your sense of humor or that are just opiniated people. Don't let a few people ruin the whole blog experience! You have so many more readers out there that love what you write about, love your sense of humor and love you! I look forward daily to reading your blog!! Your children are just beautiful!

Hello sweet funny James Bond girl. While I am not a world famous blogger with scads of folks climbing over each other to criticize my every parenting move, my husband and I do live within 20 minutes of both his parents and my mother. While this means available babysitting at the drop of a hat (excellent!) and grandparents a-go-go for our son and daughter (also excellent!) it also means living under a microscope ALL. THE. TIME. Our oldest, our son, is 5 1/2 and I have spent the past 5 1/2 years (more, actually, because it started with my first pregnancy) hearing stories of how (apparently) perfect my brother and I were as kids, or what my husband was like as a child; how we should do things differently; how my mother or my mother-in-law was "never THAT kind of parent" (doesn't matter what that is in reference to, it seems that they were never whatever kind of parent we are - apparently they lived different lives than we did because they never yelled/whispered/spanked/gave time outs/etc.) Point being - I know what you are feeling - and if it helps at all, I thought you were funny, AND I have gone out of the room for a minute or two while my two were in the bath too. And I know all about water safety, trust me. (((HUG))) from a non-critical reader.

It is one thing to give advice when asked ( for example your recent post on Adam)
BUT -for readers to take an innocent bathtime post and turn it into a lecture on bath safety!?!
It is patronising and insulting and I think you handled it very well.
Clearly the world is overflowing with idiots Tertia- dont take it personally and please dont
supress your humour in your posts.

So, I would be one of those who felt a defensive surge when I first read Angela's comment. Because I'm one of the couple-of-steps-away-at-bathtime-mums.

Then I read on, as the debate continued.

And none of the stay-in-the-bathroom proponents were suggesting that the rest of us were out whooping it up, or, you know, going for a drive or anything. They weren't suggesting that we didn't love our kids.

They were saying that even one step out of the bathroom is too far. And the safety experts are on their side.

And if I'm honest with myself, when I'm not in there, even when I'm listening, my attention isn't 100 percent on him.

And God knows we all need a break from the fabulousness, yet relentlessness, that is parenting a kid.

But for me, this is no longer the time. I'll be in the bathroom from now on.

Just my take away.

*standing ovation*

Yup. Having a laugh is probably the more therapeutic of all your response options. I guess to have as many people caring about you and supporting you through this medium means you have to put up with the folks who live to judge or "inform".

I mean, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that a reasonably intelligent and informed person would probably already be *aware* of the risks they're pointing out, but then they'd have nothing meaningful to contribute, would they? It's either drive-by or say nothing.

And saying nothing is the kiss of death, I suppose. Gawd knows I can't shut up. ;-}

I think people do this for one reason: it makes them feel better about themselves. Personally, I think that people in the US freak out about just about anything "safety-related" regardless of the logic involved or the rarity of some things happening. What sucks is that for some reason, as humans, we focus on the one or two negative thins rather than the multitude of positive happenings. So keep on keeping on...

There is something about the internet. People say critical things they would never say IRL. It's a stress reliever - you can post something blunt, or critical, or condescending, and never have to face the person you said it to. I think disagreement can ALWAYS be handled in a respectful way. It's how things are said, not what is said, that causes hurt.
I think if a hurtful comment is going to take things too far off-topic, it's perfectly OK to delete it. But also OK to leave it, since the person who left it might regret typing-before-thinking and have an opportunity to learn tact or restraint from the embarrassment. Yeah, yeah... I can dream.

Thanks for not being beige!

I love the way you're so concerned about what everyone said...and yes the whole thing got way out of hand - I found that in itself quite entertaining...like watching a soapy...O! perhaps I shouldn't be mentioning soap in this context..(she muffles her mouth)...

Those that read you right laughed, the others, well they lectured...

You are freakin' hilarious, and more important, you are a wonderful mother who is brave to share your concerns with the outside world.

Please don't go away and keep being yourself.


I think that some people are so desperate to rationalize and defend their parenting choices (because if they're wrong, that means they're not doing what's best for their kids, which is too hard for them to swallow) that they nitpick and lash out under the guise of passion and protection, and don't realize what they're doing or why they're doing it.

Others recognize (and sometimes admit) their imperfections, comfortable that they are doing the best they can, and love their children dearly, even if they may not always be right.

And other others are assholes.

Perfect response. Love it. Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.

Hey Tertia if you gave up blogging I would have to drown myself in the bathtub.(Ok thats not funny!)

Seriously though you are the best blogger in my eyes and all your "stories" (funny or sad)are enjoyed so much!Thank you for entertaining me every day and sharing your thoughts with us.The majority of us Who know you and adore you (even though we dont *know* you) do understand your humour...dont let the rest of them get to you!!!

Reader for ages - now moved to post. As a reader of many blogs and having seen this issue of what people choose to comment on and how things are said and interpreted, I think there might be one more angle to think about here. As the blog author, I can see how you would view comments as commentary on you. The other piece of this is that you have a huge(!) readership and I believe that sometimes the comments are directed to the readers at large, not just to you personally. If someone feels strongly about issue X, they may feel it is their mission to always point out to the masses that issue X is important and here is what to do/not to do.

I read cooler*doula's comment above and see that the "off-topic" debate got her to thinking and making a behavior change (and she is just one who commented - how many others did the same thing?) All this from a blog posting about your wonderful kids! The water safety non-profits spend millions to try to do the same thing that was accomplished here without even trying.

All to say that your blog is yours, but it may also be used as a way to speak to thousands. Try, for your own sake, to keep laughing and letting the comments go (easier said than done, I'm sure.) And thank you for writing.

Well written Tertia. Not going to respond to the bath thing - as I think its been done to death here and everywhere else. What stuck out at me was a feeling I got from the discourse, and make me remember "The Overparented Child". A terrific read, and one that made me annoyed with most parenting HERE and in the US (here being Canada). But you can guess from the title what that means. Parents hyperventilating about every allergen, food item, etc... to the point where the children become buckets of worry. Bathwater is serious to be sure, but I also believe in parent sense. meaning - if you know your kids, you will know when they are ready for some privacy in the bath. As our kids get older, I think small amounts of responsibility and trust need to be heaped onto them. My cousin recently freaked out when I gave my almost 3 year old a little bit of paper in her hand and told her to go the kitchen and put it in the garbage. Yes, needing to open the cupboard under the sink, open the can, and toss it in. She's done it before, and she loves doing little things to help mom because she basks in the praise. Cousin LOST IT, screaming how dangerous it was (we weren't in the kitchen, were in the family room next door). However, I TAUGHT her to do this ,she's done it before, and if I don't take risks and teach her independance, how will she ever get there? And that's why when I read the post from Tertia, I just saw the humor and didn't judge the parenting.
And that is what ticks me off most about parents today - the judgemental mommy syndrome - and it's not just on the net. I find we are all 'watching' each other and I think it needs to stop. To the poster who wrote - I didn't bother as I knew it would be taken care of here - what did you mean? that Tertia would get the scolding she richly deserved? That you HOPED she would be pounced on? This is the judgemental crap I can't stand most about being a mother in cyberspace. The minute you talk about giving them a time out by the magazine rack in the grocery store - they turn on you.

This has got to be one of the most ridiculous blog controversies ever! Don't spend another second worrying about it. Some people just have too much time on their hands. Maybe they should go do some volunteer work or something, rather than worrying about how other people bathe their children.

I've been reading your blog for ages and have been a long time fan. I guess my main point is that if you are going to post everything about your life you have to be prepared for the comments. Not everyone is going to agree with you.

No one is forcing you to write about your life, it is your choice to have a blog and to write freely about your kids/parenting, etc. You have a following - which I know you enjoy. And "Fame" has a price.

So, you need to either put your big girl panties on and continue to write freely and accept the fact that you will have commenters that disagree with you, or you need to decide to not post about things that are controversial/disagreeable if you cannot handle the criticism.

After many posts of this nature you will write a long, dramatic "poor me" follow up about how your feelings were hurt and how people just don't understand you. I think you've learned this lesson by now and frankly, it's getting a bit old.

We all have things we are sensitive about and issues we are passionate about, all derived from personal experiences and feelings. Just as you are who you are, all of your readers are who they are too. It is all we know how to be.

Every parent and caregiver makes mistakes. BIG mistakes. We can't help it, we are human. But isn't it our job to avoid these mistakes? Isn't it why we read the parenting books, ask for advice, and say to ourselves, this is what we will/will not do? I'm a seasoned nanny (in the US and UK) and know that parents beat themselves up over the mistakes they make, whether it was avoidable or not, ALL THE TIME. Same with opinions. We will think and ponder what is right and what is wrong and calculate the risks but at the end of the day, you go with what you think is right and that is all you know how to do.

Take care and please, keep telling yourself:

I am doing my best and that is all I can do.

How can anyone argue with that?

*I* thought it was funny. And I'm a Virgo.

Don't sweat it, Tertia. I really enjoy your writing. Thank you for sharing.


Any writer with readers and an open comments section is going to generate dissent. I think you need to realize that and not expect 100% total agreement and support 100% of the time.

I liked how you used to have a policy that commenters couldn't slam other commenters that you disagreed with. Now you seem to revel in it. You've misled people recently too in letting them believe you've gotten mean feedback when in fact you didn't, it just wasn't total 100% agreement with what you hoped they would say (even though you had hinted that time that you were open to dissenting views). That was mean, and you let the pro-anything-Tertia-says commenters rip the others apart, even though they'd never seen those comments and even though, paradoxically, their slams applied more to their own behaviour than it applied to the "bad" hidden comments.

It's total bullying to make fun of that dissenting bath-tub commenter like you did, and it's a technique of bullies to brush it off as a joke.

I think Veronica got it right ((HHUUGGSS))

Nancy, if you're talking about that post Tertia took down a while ago because of mean commments - I read the original and they were mean. So back to basics: it's her blog, it's her choice, it's her life. Back off already.

Frankly, Angela, Andrea and others, I'm not buying this "even if one child is saved" bit. The fact is that bathing your children AT ALL is compeltely unsafe. I mean, even if you stay in the bathroom with them, it's entirely possible that you could slip, hit your head, pass out, and then they would be left ENTIRELY ALONE. How irresponsible. Don't you know that it's much much safer to just stand them out in the back yard and hose them down (you can do this in the kitchen with the sink sprayer if you are an apartment dweller). The statistics are clearly with me. The number of drowning deaths from hose spray is orders of magnitude less than from attended bathing. I can't believe you parents would be so irresponsible as to put your children into standing water, whether you watch them or not. In my opinion, you should all have your kids taken away for such gross irresponsibility.

Genade maar mense is sensitief.Seker maar omdat niemand van kritiek hou nie.

Mens kan net party van die mense party van die kere gelukkig hou, nie almal al die tyd nie.

Ek dink die maklikste om die ding te eindig is om iets anders vir ons te post om oor te chat. Wat van iets heavy soos global warming, siende dat ons truie dra in die "somer"?

PS. Jammer as jy down en sad voel. Soentjies vir jou en jou outjies.

Tertia, of course everyone does what they think is best as a mom. I didn't comment on the original post but what stood out most for me on the bath situation was that you had no idea what was going on in there while you were away, even though you may have only been seven steps away. That would make me incredibly uneasy but I'm one of those moms who refuses to leave the bathroom if there's even water in the tub, let alone a child in there. I didn't comment originally because I didn't want to seem judgmental but thought this might be why other people spoke up about the safety of the bath situation.

Tertia, I don't know why people seem to pick on you so much. Maybe b/c you're honest and open and real and you expect others to be the same way. And sadly they are not, lots of people (esp moms) judge. Parenting pits people against one another when we all really need support from each other to get through it. Truly, you are one of the most in-touch moms I "know." What shines through in your posts, to me, is your love for those kids. It's shocking to me that your wonderful, sweet post ended up with this response. Water safety is serious, yes. But anyone who has followed you all this time already knows that YOU know this too.

Wow, so much for the "If you don't have anything nice to say, say nothing at all" that we were taught growing up.

How would YOU (generalization here of "you") feel if you said something, and someone snapped back every single fucking time with "Don't do it that way, do it this way." or "OMG that's so dangerous I CANT BELIEVE you DO THAT!!!"...

Fuck, if you don't like it, don't read it - click away. If you don't agree with it, say you don't agree with it, but don't go over the top and be sanctimonious on us about it. What do you want, the rest of us to bow at your feet for your Most Amazing Mommyhood status? There are TONS of things that I would never, in a million years, be comfortable doing with/to/for MY kids, but gawd... if it's not causing me anguish, and not actually in the moment harming said children, so be it... leave it well enough alone.

Tertia, roll your eyes at the naysayers... they are LOOKING for a reaction. And to me, in my books, THAT is bullying. Don't let them win.

Try reading the entire thing (post) and take it in as a whole (and mostly tongue-in-cheek knowing Tertia) you guys. Don't find one thing and go OH! That's it! That's what I can pick apart, today. Read your comment back to yourself, as if you were the one receiving it, before you press Post.

Wow. I think I must live in a different world from some of you guys because I honestly didn't read the concern about the bath comment as so - argumentative and critical.

I just can't see the original comment as justifying the level of ire at it... obviously this is a difference in how we read things.

Oh Tertia, please don't stop blogging or become less colorfull! Your posts are funny, smart and wildly entertaining.
I'm sorry that some of the comments you received were so insulting. Unfortunately, the internet concentrates the percent of assholes in any population.
Thank you for sharing your family with us - my b/g twins are five and it has been fun reading your posts over the past few years - they bring back many pleasant memories.

I've said it before, here. Let it go. So someone made a comment in the comments. (That to me, was intended to be helpful - we all have our pet neuroses and I know my mother's was "You WILL drown in 1 inch of water" and would have pointed it out to anyone who suggested leaving the room during bathtime.)

But, regardless of how it would have been taken, that would have been that - a few people commenting on the water thing, most on the heart of the post.

Then you replied in the comments and did not one but two follow-up posts on it. Oxygen to a fire, oxygen to a fire.

Oh please!!! The people who make these comments should dispense their unsolicited advice in the form of farts that they could possibly bottle and sell to anyone who was interested. Maybe it's because we live in SA and they think that we are just that far behind the rest of the parenting world, what with the distraction of the elephants and giraffes that frequent our back yards and all! Have a wonderfully full glass of that great grape juice that comes from our country, sigh and forget!

In the good old US of A, we have this saying...Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke!!!

I am totally cracking up at Egg Donor's comment, which I am sure someone will find totally realistic and offensive.

But Tertia, seriously, people honestly don't have a freaking sense of humor anymore, and for whatever reason, they just can't wait to rip someone apart and make them feel inferior.

I suppose they get off on it.

Regardless, I suppose a disclaimer at the top of your page wouldn't hurt. ;) Since people are so busy reading into everything you say and ready to nit-pick at a moment's notice, perhaps you should give them ample warning that some of the things you write are meant as a joke, since they clearly can't pick up on this on their own.

They'd rather you just feel awful and make you feel crappy for saying what you want on your own damn blog!

Keep your chin up, Tertia! I love your blog and your honesty.

It's bad practice to lobby your own agenda on someone else's blog, especially if that agenda is completely off topic. The topic was about a parent's love and deep appreciation for her children and her hopes for others to be able to experience that. Bringing up the topic of water safety was just a tad off the mark and oblivious to the deeply sincere and gentle thoughts conveyed in the post.

So to the anti-Tertia being Tertia commenters: Please go read another blog.

And to Tertia, if you give up blogging because of this (which I doubt you will) we're going to come grab you by the ears and drag you back to your laptop where you belong!

The water safety comment, even made out of concern, was just not needed, or, might have been made in a private e-mail.

Your response was funny, how does stuff get like this? Geez.

But, wait...do you really have elephants and giraffes that frequent your back yard? Because that'd be way cool.

(All: please note humor)

Miranda - fan? You're a fan telling someone to put on their big girl panties and get over it?

I think I'd rather view myself as someone's virtual friend than a fan. Seems to be more compassion in friendship than fanship.

And adding that fame (I'm just going to airquote that and conserve quotation marks for a rainy day. You do can reduce, reuse and recycle!) has a price is lazy thinking. It justifies being unpleasant to someone, citing that they brought it on, doesn't it? I mean, if society as a whole kept up with that philosophy, girls in fishnet stockings would still be open for attack, wouldn't they?

Seriously, coming in late to metaobserve how Tertia should handle comments of that nature is basically what I said before - commenting for commenting's own sake. Must have Intarweb Presence, after all.

Veronica seems to have already voiced what I feel - that we're all different parents because we have different children and different families. It doesn't make us better or worse, just different.

I got the humor in your post and I hope you continue to be you. No biege! NO BIEGE!!! I think it's good that you didn't let the hurt and insult get the better of you. :-)

Aw, Tersh. Try not to be upset by any of the back-and-forth in the comments section; I know it's hard, but any time you get a large enough group of people together and throw in relative anonymity, you're going to get all kinds of responses to any issue you bring up. I didn't comment on the original bath post, but simply laughed at the cute A&K stories; I very nearly posted something or e-mailed you saying "damn it Tertia, now people will think you're not careful about the twins being in the tub!" Because I feel like I have a pretty good sense of what sort of mother you are from your blog and our occasional exchanges, I took for granted that you must've been lurking right outside the door to see what the little buggers were up to in there. But you have to remember that not everyone knows you that well. I would like to think that everyone in the resulting fray meant well. I've been guilty of walking away from a three-year-old in the tub from time to time--I sort of took for granted that my middle child was old enough not to drown in a shallow tub but somehow last week that one managed to tip over and get a mouthful of water, coming up spluttering, which gave me quite a fright, since I had been out in the hallway getting a towel from the linen closet at the time. I didn't blog about it because I was afraid that I'd get raked over the coals for my negligence. The child in question has some developmental delays, though--I don't think I'd worry about the average three-year-old in the tub. I know that I, like Akeeyu, spent hours in the tub unsupervised as a kid and only coming out when the water had cooled, and I'm still around. This is one of those things like whether to let a baby sleep on their tummy or not, where there is a very SMALL risk, so small that I personally wouldn't condemn anyone over it. I have a friend who let her daughter sleep on her tummy as a newborn, and I must've had a look on my face when I saw this, because she said "all babies where I am from in the Third World sleep on their tummies and there is no shortage of us is there?" True enough. Everyone'll forget about it by next week--if you were more "careful" of a blogger you wouldn't be nearly as much fun :)

And yes, I know, no matter how small the risk if it happens to you your chances were 100%, etc., but I'm just saying that it's not quite the same as letting them play in traffic.

When I read your bath toy throwing story it was obvious that you could hear both of your children quite clearly. Being infertile and childless at the moment I can only assume from what I've heard that two healthy two year olds make quite a racket in the bath. I would not have considered the babes to be in any danger because I would have assumed that you would have been in there like a shot at the slightest hint of an ominous silence. I think people should give others the benefit of the doubt if they were not there to witness the incident first hand.

I thought the second post was funny. I hadn't seen comments from the previous post, but it was obvious that people had jumped all over you for not being right there at the side of the tub the entire time. Whatever. I think you need an option C: parents who helicopter over their children constantly feel insecure and threatened by anyone who does not mimic this behaviour and will lash out under the pretext of advice when some other parents admits to doing things differently.

Little late to comment on the water issue... You say "You do it your way, I do it my way." There's no such thing here in the US. "Here in the US" there's only the "right way," which is what authorities of some type recommend based on what "studies" have shown. If you lived here in the US, right now some readers might be considering reporting you to child services.

As someone from the third world myself, I am still astonished at how big child related safety issues are here (and safety related issues in general). It's not just government and professional agencies making recommendations, but also a huge number of people living very firmly by them and taking them very very seriously, and preaching them to other people. I don't necessarily think this is bad, by the way, but I do find it surprising and I wouldn't have ever imagined the extent of it unless I lived here. Again, nothing wrong with it; just not who I am and certainly not my culture; I end up finding it suffocating and I surely don't embrace it.

I don't have an opinion on the alone-in-the-tub issue, as my kids are still too young. But I do believe in following your gut instinct over pre-made rules. I also know that deviating from "recommendations" doesn't necessarily mean you are being careless. Only you know the circumstances under which you allow your kids to bathe "alone."

There's another issue. The whole point of agencies issueing recommendations and warnings is that common sense doesn't necessarily work well all the time (example: for some people common sense might indicate that 2 inches of water are completely safe, while in practice it is not true). So recommendations necessarily need to be simple, direct, understandable, and NOT dependent on the common sense of the recomendee. So, "don't leave the bathroom" is effective, while "don't be more than 10.36 feet away if your arm-lenght is less than xxx and your reflexes are fast, and more than 11 feet away if your arm length is yyy..." is way too complex and it becomes useless as a general warning.

I don't totally dismiss warnings, but I also introduce my own input and decisions. My approach is to take the objective information that I consider valuable (example: a young kid can drown in 2 inches of water in 30 seconds) and act according to my own circumstances and capabailities (example: stay 7 steps away). Obviously some people consider this reckless. So be it. I reserve my own opinion of them.

Anyway, not sure if you remember me but I accused you of being a paranoid mom some time ago. Must apologize profusely now. Back to loving your blog. Love people who trust themselves to make common-sense based decisions.

Just walk away Tertia. It's not worth all the emotional bruising. Sometimes you get it right and everyone laughs, sometimes you get it wrong and everyone whinges. Have a glass of wine, flick your hair back and just walk away. Love your humour, please don't "edit" it.

I do not ever really comment here, but I do enjoy reading your blog daily. I do agree that it must be exhausting though... Some people are just so damn annoying, and judgmental..
I totally get your humor.. Hilarious!

Oh, I wanted to add. Some commenters and Tertia herself talk about how she's not going to be stupidly reckless with Adam and Kate after all she went through to have them... Can we please cut it out with this arguments? Yes, we infertiles go through a lot of stuff that sucks. Being the cheerful optimistic women that we are we try to find the good in it: we are going to love our children more, and are going to be better mothers. Surely it's great to hold on to this idea while we are still trying... but once we are moms, can't we see most moms love their children dearly and take care of them conscientiously no matter how many they have and how fertile they are? I understand that Tertia's been through much more than the average infertile. But can we just not imply (even if we are implying it in a very indirect way) that fertile people are slightly worse mothers? We look for sensitivity, can't we reciprocate?

Here's a little assvice for you.

Make a card that in HUGE letters says

- 1000s of your adoring fans and other great mothers

and in little teeny letters at the bottom

You Suck - you will probably kill your children
- your 2 detractors

Then put it on your mirror so you see it every morning.

That is about the mix you have going here and yet you let those 2 or 3 people wreck your day. I'm really glad that you finally found the humor in their absurdity. Keep up the good work both with your kids and yourself!

I'm following some of these comments in utter - hmm what's the word... - disbelief.

What comes to mind is your post a few days ago:

"Some people are weird."

I thought it was funny, and I totally got the point you were making too.

There will always be someone, won't there.

I'm not one to easily shrug off comments like that either, but its much easier in my case since I think I only have about 4 readers on my blog.


My guess is the majority of your readers got what you were trying to say.

One more thing... (and sorry, this is getting long). About people who follow recommendations to a t and think those, like me, who do otherwise are reckless. Please don't misinterpret us! We are aware of dangers. We do care about our kids. We are absolutely NOT slacking off. We are simply putting some value into other stuff and following different criteria. I for example, have babyprooved (or is it babyproofed?) my house very little. It's not because I'm slacking off. It actually means a lot of work for me. I do it on purpose because I want to teach my kids to act responsibly around stuff that is dangerous, and to know that not everything that is around is a toy, and that they are not allowed to touch everything that is around (I'm not sure that they are getting this last message but that's a whole different business :)).

I thought it was funny, I got it. I also think you are a great mom. Please don't stop blogging.

Nice post, T.

I contribute to a blog called Worst. Mama. Ever. It's a tongue-in-cheek silly blog where 6 of us moms (and 1 mom-to-be) write about our parenting adventures. Several weeks ago, I'd written about feeding my toddler (then 14 months old) in her car seat because we'd spent so much time in the car driving her big sister to and from camp. I'd made a sort of flippant comment about how my car seat wasn't being used correctly, which wasn't true, it was hyperbole. Now my little blog doesn't have your readership, but damn if I didn't have one very impassioned commenter insisting that she was just worried for "for the safety of little Lindsay".

It hasn't stopped me from blogging. It does make me consider more carefully what I blog about though, and that in of itself is counter to why I started blogging to begin with.

Tertia, I read a lot of blogs, (a whole lot) and I have to say your commenters are THE MOST judgemental of any blog I've ever read. Truly.

Carry on with your technicolor self, please. You are gorgeous and divine.

Tertia, as a cloth diapering, breastfeeding past one year, and babywearing mama that walks away and lets The Kid alone in the tub until he calls for me. I find your post completely funny. I totally get what you're trying to say and don't let some dumb person get to you. She has no idea what the heck she's talking about and is only trying to get attention because no one is interested in what she has to say. No one is to say that someone else's parenting style is wrong (unless they child is being physically abused) and NO ONE has a right to judge a mother. Everyone who becomes a parent ends up doing everything completely different than what they thought they'd do. And the way YOUR children are is completely different than the way someone else's child is. There is no cookie cutter mold that can be used on all children. Oh, and btw, I allow The Kid to jump off countertops into the floor. Irresponsible? maybe. Dangerous? Definitely. Super fun for him and warms my heart when I see his smile? Always.

I thought you were your usual hillarious self... but then my kids also get told to put the spears away and get cracking.

Wow... I feel like a bad mom.... Leaving my daughter to play in the tub used to be the only time that hubs and I could get some nooky. At least make your unsupervision worth something Tertia. ;)

And let it roll girl... right off your back.

I thought it was hilarious. Unfortunately, as I often have to remind myself, some people just do not get sarcastic humor. Oh well, their loss. I loved it. Don't let a bunch of busybodies get you down!!!


During the time you posted the series on Adam, my grandfather passed, so I never did get a chance to read them, let alone comment. So, when I posted a link to a recent drowning story, I was not jumping on the "attack Tertia" bandwagon. In fact, I probably make a suggestion on your blog once in every ten debates. I absolutely do not feel the need to be a know-it-all, but every once in awhile I do post a response - I suppose that's why you have a comment section.

Regarding the US thing, I really did not know what to make of that. Sometimes I feel this blog is mean spirited towards Americans, not so much because of a direct line from you, but because you say one little thing and others use it as an opportunity to take a stab at "arrogant Americans." Sometimes I feel - and this is my personal opinion/thoughts on the matter - that Americans are harshly questioned on the validity of their statements, because people from so many other countries perceive us to be rude know-it-alls, when in fact some of us ARE, but so are some from THOSE countries!

Either way, just so you know, I wasn't judging you yesterday. I don't think I even told you that anything you did was wrong. I just wanted to point out the reality of young kids drowning, because I nearly drowned at the age of four; it was so traumatic that I can vividly recall the event so many years later.

And as always, if people really can't ever seem to have something good to say to you, then there's a million other blogs out there to read. I hope I have far more positive things to post than negatives, but if I do not, I will work on that. Much love. :)

When I read your original post, I thought "oh, God, some idiot is going to call her on the fact that the kids were in the bathtub and she was not right there in the room with them." And of course I was right.

I totally got your follow-up post. Thought it was funny, and not particularly mean. And I absolutely cringe at the fact that someone would say "here in the U.S. . . ." in that context. I might say "here in the U.S., we are so uptight that [fill in the blank]"

I had a friend who used to leave her way-less-than-one-year-old alone in the tub. Way way before the kid was walking, maybe she wasn't even crawling yet. I thought (and think) that is truly dangerous. I did kind of hint to her that maybe it wasn't such a good idea. At that age, they really can drown in a very very short time, because they inhale the water, and if something happened to her daughter, my friend would never have forgiven herself. I'm not sure she really understood that a baby-baby can drown in the time it takes to answer the phone two rooms away. She probably hated me, but I tried to be casual and non-judgmental. That is totally and completely different from leaving your kids in the tub while you in the next room.

I don't remember when I stopped having to be an arm's length away, but certainly well before the age your kids are now, I sat nearby, where I could hear them, not IN the room.

Of course, I just happened to be reading, mere minutes ago, of a tragic death of an 11-month old child who was left alone in the tub with her 2-year-old brother, while the mother shopped for shoes online on another floor. www.channel3000.com/news/14307985/detail.html

That poor mother. And poor baby.

The judgemental comments always get me down when they happen on my blog too, and I think it is because I question myself all the time (as I think a lot of parents do) and when other people do too, it hurts.

Keep your chin up.

Beige really isn't your color, darling.

You're doing a wonderful job. We all know you love your kids dearly and would never put them in harms way.

Stay vibrant, stay YOU, don't listen to the self-righteous fucks out there.


Hi Tertia:

Long time lurker here. I knew the post was a joke. I think most people did.

I'm really writing because I can tell that you're not feeling that well. I know celexa has helped you, but I have another idea for you. Someone just suggested here that you have a glass of wine and forget about this. I'd agree with the last part, but not the wine. I was a regular wine drinker, much like you, until a few months ago. I loved the stuff. I never drank during the day, and never had more than 2-3 glasses a night. Nonetheless, it really did a job on me. After going cold turkey, I can see how much. I was depressed and paranoid....so much so that I seriously considered anti-depressants. I decided to try walking everyday and zero alcohol instead. Honestly, I have a new life. I'm hoping that you might find something like this helpful too. I'm wishing you all the best!!

pffft - I loved your funny post.

Carry on.

People are weird...those mothers who shriek that they never let their little darlings out of their sight 24/7 often raise clingy, frightened children. Your two sound very bright and capable and I am sure having you as a mom is a part of that. By the way, twins rock! (am a twin). So tell the naysayers to climb down off their crosses...

I guess I didn't get the vibe that people were "kicking you when you were down."
I thought some people were pointing out a valid safety concern.
I read your next post as a mocking response to the the commenters who were worried about children being left alone in the bath.
I wonder how you would feel if someone mocked you like that because you brought up something that you were concerned about.
I commented on my friend whose son is brain damaged from an incident in the bath and I want to point out to you that she also loves her child dearly and would not have intentially risked his safety. She was gone for a minute to answer the phone and her 4 year old daughter was in the tub with her 2 year old son when it happened.
Other people are sensitive to criticism too and your mocking tone in the second post seemed mean.

Emma, etc. - I don't think Tertia was mocking a brain damaged child, it's just amazing to me that folks felt that they needed to point out that kids can drown in water. Hey Tertia - did you know that fire burns, too? And that extreme cold can freeze things? Just checking.....

I guess I agree with Emma. What is so wrong with a person expressing a more serious opinion that she/he has thought about after reading a light hearted tale (Tertia's original post). Isn't that what brings richness and interesting debate to a blog. I don't think anybody was being judgemental or looking for validation of their parenting styles. Otherwise posts should come with warnings saying e.g. please keep any comments light hearted. I took away from the original post a giggle at the image Tertia described and some serious thought about bath time with my kids - 2 for the price of one....

You ARE a complete fucking idiot.

HAHAHAHA @ Egg Donor's comments. That pretty much sums it up.

I totally thought it was funny and OF COURSE you were joking. I mean really. That was so ridiculously over the top that you couldn't possibly have been serious. Like you'd go through ALL THIS and then let your kids drown in a bath....or play with knives...or on the freeway. Give me a break!! Anyone who has spent more then 5 minutes reading your blog should know this and their comments are irresponsible and completely out of line. I love your blog. It was one of the blogs that got me through my miscarriage and inspired me to write one myself. You are hilarious and you spend quite a bit of time laughing at the hard stuff. So healthy and important.

Unsolicited advice can suck it.

Totally offtopic - did you read about the kid in Colorado who took his grandmother's car and tried to drive to Applebee's because he was hungry? He is SIX!! He took his booster seat out of the back seat and put it in the driver's seat, found the keys and took off! He did of course crash, but fortunately he wasn't hurt (or anyone else.).
I don't know whether to be scared or impressed....

Go put your feet up and grab a nice glass of Australian Chardonay and watch a video of us slaughtering you at cricket - then you will feel better.

Or not.

Ok maybe just grab the wine.

When you deal with the masses life becomes interesting. There is always that special nutter out there, that holier than thou person. I know a few of them, one makes very good cake though so I am stuck with her.

Sorry I am being an idiot but I just wanted to make you smile.


Dude, you ARE a good mom. Seriously. So don't stress about what others write on your comments...

Humor in the written form is difficult. I figured it was humor with the lion shit, but not everyone thought your brand of humor was funny. Eh? Let it go.

I let my kids do all sorts of things that I am afraid of...Like going to the rest room alone (only the 5 year old), because they have to grow up sometime. And as the previous poster wrote, at least they didn't try to drive your car off, yet....

I loved the post and thought it was funny.

You're a good mom, Tertia. You know your own kids, and you know yourself. Keep on following your heart and being yourself.

You think you're a bad parent? I didn't even know what all the hoohaa was about until I re read your post and noticed that you may have not been in the bath room at the time. I'd be a rubbish social worker! Ah well, better go and stop my 2 year old doing the ironing now.


I honestly dont think that anyone here thinks that you were trying to harm your children.. Im certain that most people were offended that you seemed to me making a joke out of what type of parents THEY are.

I find it odd that you say that you didnt expect for people to say things about it or "kick you while your down" yet you decided to take the comment that you left in the comment section and posted it as a new post. What were your expectations in doing that? Had you just left it as a comment then Im certain it wouldnt have turned into a lot of hurt feelings.

You have your own parenting style and so do I. Im just not certain why it is that you feel that everyone should be sensitive to you, yet you werent towards them.

I think that you are a great mother. You love your children, thats whats important.

You know, this is the bit of motherhood that no one ever talks about before you become a mother. Nothing you ever do is right. Nothing. I bottle-fed both my babies. I am a bad mother. Never mind that with the first I failed to lactate at all...am still waiting for my milk to come in and he's about to go into second grade so I am not holding out much hope. With the second I was an absolute Daisy the Cow, but my little princess was lactose intolerant and my milk made her sick. Literally. I failed at the first post and copped so much condemnation. I thought that bfing was the only one I'd fail at. Ha! That was but the beginning. For what it's worth, I didn't notice the original throw away remark. Had to go back and read it again when you wrote the subsequent post. I thought the second post was hilarious!! I could see your tongue in your cheek from 10000 miles away. You are doing what every mother on the planet does every day of her life...you do the best you can. It is all that anyone can ask. I think you're doing a brilliant job. And I often thank you on the inside for sharing out loud what I think and feel, but could never put into words so eloquently. This time, I am going to say it as well as think it: Thank you. From the bottom of my heart.

I can't possibly read all these comments. Just wanted to simply say that you are hilarious, and I get it.

Don't ever change.

Hey T.

Remember, just like in an office, or a family, or whatever, whenever there is a group of people there will always be:

1. someone who knows better/more than you and will tell you so
2. someone with no sense of humoUr (whatsoever)
3. someone who is negative all the time
4. someone who overreacts over everything

I hope you realize that they are far outnumbered by everyone else.

I have a friend who threw out her back and had to have surgery because she bent over to pick up a box of jello. does that mean that I won't eat jello anymore? Some people would say that I should be very, very careful around jello, but I think I'll do what's right for me.

We know that you would never let anything happen to those kids in a million years and that there is no one who worries more about their safety than you do.

Sheesh. It's a good thing you didn't tell them about the times that you drop the kids off at the beach alone while you go shoot up heroin.

Too many posts to read right now, but I love you so much Tertia! Don't give up, don't get discouraged, just keep doing what you're doing for the people out there that need you.

Tell the others to kiss your ass. *Smooches*

Too many posts to read right now, but I love you so much Tertia! Don't give up, don't get discouraged, just keep doing what you're doing for the people out there that need you.

Tell the others to kiss your ass. *Smooches*

"Or a way to append your own note at the end of such a comment, maybe a "Congratulations! You have been nominated for this week's Humorless Wretch Award!"?"

Please, please, please do this! Orange is very wise. I love and adore your blog, but I must say, you are blessed with a couple of the most earnest and humorless commenters I've ever had the, ummm, pleasure of reading.

By the way, US Playgroups are *crawling* with this species. It's a hazard of parenting here.

First of all, this is exactly why I don't blog.

Secondly, if someone does truly care, the way to bring it up is through an email. Email means "I care about a decision you are making and choose to address it with you directly without embarrassing you."

Thirdly, take care of yourself and start exercising the damn "delete" key. Your blog, your rules.

hey tertia, good for you in not sitting in the bathroom with the littlies - a lot of very good and careful parenting happens when kids are left to their own devices with their parents being incredibly watchful, but not letting the kids know that they are watching. if you hovered in the bathroom all the time, your anxiety would feed to the kids, and they would feel less confident with their own abilities. you are in effect trusting your judgement, and that helps them trust theirs!
anyone who reads you regularly would know that you are aware of all the risks, and that you struggle not to let these overcome you . . .
your post was funny, as were the answering ones, even the pompous ones. geez we get heated up a lot don't we?
my mum visited us recently, we were due to have a baby, and live in a house with open plan staircases. when mum started saying "you better get gates and fences for those" my YEARS of being warned about the obvious kicked in, and i said (supported by husband, equally sick of being 'hovered' over), "no no no, we think babies need to learn how to manage stairs on their own, so will be teaching her to go up and down them as soon as she can crawl." when my mother's face almost dropped off her head, i gently said "mum, i have already lost 3 children. i have been anxious and paranoid ever since, about the kids, my husband, my parents, and the bloody dog - do you HONESTLY think you need to tell me to be careful around stairs????" she got the point, and i felt better for helping her see how anxiety already rules so i don't need any more injected into my mind.
she still told me to take a cardigan out that afternoon tho, because i would get cold.
even tho i said i wasnt cold.
and that i wouldnt get cold.
and that i am 46 years old for god's sake.
she is the reason i applaud you for fighting your own paranoia and anxiety - your kids DON'T NEED iT!!!
kisses xxx

I haven't read the comments so please excuse any redundancy. Why do women continue to taunt and berate other women? When we will learn to support and encourage others? I know that the comments were made out of genuine concern but it seems women are trolling the internet looking for a chance to find fault with another's parenting skills.

The other week my five year old foster kid tried to drown herself in the bath while I went to get a towel for her. It seriously freaked me out, but you know what, I was back in that room before she could do any damage. That's what good parents do. They give their children the opportunity to take risks while they're 7 or 10 or 3 steps away. The moment there was silence any parent would be right in there pulling that kid out of the bath and 99.9% of kids would be fine. What can your children learn if you're constantly terrified of them being in that 0.1%?

For the record, I left her in the bath by herself the next day too, and the next day, and the day after that. She needs to know that I trust her.

[And yes, she's in therapy. And I told her that I didn't want her to put her face under water anymore because it makes me scared that she'll get hurt. She hasn't been quiet in the bath for more than 3 seconds since.]

I thought your post was beautiful. I feel happiest with my twins when they are in my lap and I can breathe in their clean smell and just read them a book and enjoy them. There are so many moments that make me so happy I could burst...but the sitting in my lap after a bath just fills me with warm contentment.

I have to admit for a split second I was shocked about the "leaving them unattended in the bath" thing...until I thought about it.I just know you were right there, and how cautious a parent you are. You have to forgive us Americans, parents here aren't safe. There is a woman in my state doing 20 years in prison for leaving her child unattended for a moment to answer the door, and the child slipped trying to get out, hit her head, and died. This was an accident that could happen to anyone, including a grown adult, but she's in jail. Parents have to be very careful about everything we do here, it's crazy!

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