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Hi Tertia. Just wanted to be the first to leave a comment today. I read your Perfect post and did not comment. Silly first-time mom me, my first concern was that the kiddos were barefoot! Didn't even notice the lack of helmets. But you know what? You are absolutely right. They are your kids and your concern. You worked so hard for them and would never intentionally put them in danger. Different cultures have different 'norms'....the Amish kids in my community regularly run around in barefeet-on gravel, in the dead of winter, etc. Each family knows what is right for them. I haven't read the comments from that post yet, but I know how bristley I feel whenever someone insinuates I am not doing a good enough job with my 1 year old daughter. Like when my MIL wanted to know why I didn't have her on a schedule yet at 3 days old! Anyways, you are doing a fine job. You know what is right for you and yours, and you stick up for that. Sorry to get all lengthy here. I think we go a little too far trying to protect our kiddies anyways. Soldier on, Tertia.

Ditto the above...long time reader and rare poster. My first thought was to the toes and no shoes but hey, maybe it made me cringe a bit but YOU are their mom and YOU decide what is best. We are mere observers in your life that you so lovingly and willingly share with us. I hate cowardly people who don't have the balls to post with their real name and as far as her being a "supermom" well, those who feel the need to label themselves in such a way are obviously insecure with themselves so they feel the need to overinflate their ego. Let's just see how her children decide to define her because after all, they will be a much better jury than she can be on herself.

Well said Tertia. Whatever happened to fun? Joy? Getting dirty? Not enough of it in this world. As kids we never wore helmets or shoes, and it was awesome!
Don't let the preachy "holier than thous" get you down. You know how you feel about your kids - you know you would never let anything hurt them. Stuff 'em.
A big helmetless "Cheers" from Australia!


I grew up in SA riding my bike without a helmet or shoes and they were the happiest days of life!

At this age, I think it's more a matter of what your scrape tolerance is as a parent. My kids are really klutzy, so they've been wearing helmets since they first got on their trikes, and also closed-toe shoes (I still have scars on my one foot from a road-burn). I didn't even know you could tip a trike, but both my kids have managed to, repeatedly. They're talented at klutz, I guess.

But I make them wear these things because *I* don't deal very well with blood. It's for my comfort as much as theirs.

Until they're actually going on the real road, I don't see that it's such a big deal, other than to get used to wearing them (where I live, it's actually a law, you can be fined for not wearing your bike helmet).

My goodness I've not read the comments. I just saw the photos, read the post and it felt that I was simply there with you in the moment. What a great writer you are! As a friend sometimes says "some people just need a long, tall glass of shut the f*&% up". Esp if not asked for an opinion.

I thought it, I saw them and I thought here we go again. So I didn't look at comments.

No helmets, no shoes... It's a wonder I am alive today.

Poo on the parenting police.

Oh goodness. I ran across your blog a few days ago, and have been reading lots of old posts. I really enjoyed the pictures of your children riding their bike! For Pete's sake. I grew up in a time where my crib slats were too far apart, I drank formula, there was no such thing as a car seat OR a bike helmet, and I played outside through the neighborhood with my only real rule being be home before dark. I managed to make it to the ripe old age of 34 with no problems. No judgments here! I loved seeing your husband teach them to ride. Mine got his training wheels off yesterday, and I am a proud mom.
Can't wait to read more - A proud Beta mom in the USA.

Never even crossed my mind--helmets or shoes. I was too busy admiring the gorgeous day and what it looks like in a South African neighborhood. I grew up riding bikes, skateboards, skates without ever a mention of a helmet. I also played kickball, foootball, and neighborhood games without nare a shoe in sight. Sure, we got some stubbed toes, but I will never forget the joy of the cool green grass between my toes as the sun went down and we played. I would much rather encourage a natural sense of 'joy' in the world in my own son than to make him too uptight with precautionary trappings. Just my two cents.

Oh, for crying out loud. Did people REALLY criticize you on your "Perfect" post?! WTF?!?!

I'm not sure what to say, T. I honestly think there are some people in this world who LOOK for things to complain about. Did you know that America has earned the nickname "The United States of the Offended?" Lawsuits abound, and often for ridiculous reasons.

We have a neighbor who, while we were yet finishing building our house, informed me that she HATES US. I was shocked, because I didn't know the woman - nor did she know me. When I pointed out this fact, she shrieked that she doesn't WANT to get to know me... after all, I MUST be a Horrible Mother, because I (had, once) let my children RIDE THEIR BIKES IN THE STREET.

K. We live on a cul-de-sac in a very rural location. No through traffic. And our girls were riding on the side of the road, at the front edge of our property. We were personally doing construction work, were right there with our girls (so it's not as if they were "unattended"), and we didn't have a driveway or sidewalk for another 6 months! Where were they SUPPOSED to ride their bikes? And they were NOT endangered! Sheesh.

So I totally get where you're coming from, T. Just like "Supermom" doesn't know you from Jack, our neighbor didn't/doesn't know me AT. ALL. How judgemental can people get?!

I'm so sorry this sent you over the edge. I personally LOVED your reflective, sweet "Perfect" post, and hope to see more along that vein. Nothing warms my heart more than getting a glimpse into your life and seeing that you now have the joy for which you fought so long and so hard.

Keep on keepin' on, Tertia!


People like that piss me off!! IGNORE THEM!!! I really don't get the helmet thing. Not in this situation. Why do some people always have to look beyond the cute pictures?

I loved the bike post and took it for what it was, heck it even made me take a step back and appreciate my own kids a little more that day! So, thank you! And a big screw you to the parenting police, they just say those things because they are insecure in their own parenting.

Wow! I rarely comment, but this morning I am blown away. To be clear, I am a *ginormous* supporter of bike helmets. I am a pediatric nurse and have seen the consequences of not wearing helmets. My children are made to wear helmets (when appropriate). However, even *I* did not notice the lack of helmets in your photos. I read you previous post and saw your gorgeous family and your beautiful words of gratitude for your husband and children. My heart felt warm and it reminded me that I too have such a beautiful family and I took a moment to remember how grateful I am.

So. My gut feeling is that some commenters (apparently "anonymous") work so hard to project a perfect image on the outside because it's not quite so perfect on the inside. When confronted by such a divine testament to pure family love, it makes them a little bitter. Immediately they must look for some blemish in the image that makes it 'not so perfect' somehow. This is sad.

Unfortunately, I think the other commenters simply had good intentions. It just came off a little odd considering the intention of the post (and the unsolited advice for someone who clearly doesn't make a parenting decision without thinking it through a thousand times!)

Best wishes.

Yeeghods. How quickly people forget that helmets are a newish thing, that standards and requirements are different province to province (much less country to country), and that most of US didn't learn with helmets either and still have brains intact.

Okay, maybe that last part is questionable (I kid!)

I just think it's great that you've got them on bikes early. Much less scary for them to learn now - I learned around 5, and I was terrified the entire time!

Never thought of any of it. Not once. Saw beautiful kids doing one of those things that is such a huge leap into "kid" instead of "baby" and remembered the same wonderful moments with mine, which made me happy you shared. And my three beautiful kids? All survived, every last one of 'em (although I do threaten to kill them when necessary) and this is WITHOUT the help of the parenting police. When they were teeny tiny on their small bikes or trikes NO helmet. Why? They were a foot off the ground, getting outstripped by passing mosquitoes, and riding something specifically made to be hard to tip. Also? They rode barefoot. Also also? They puddle-jumped in the gutter, they went sledding without protective gear and now and then I let them have candy.

Good Lord, never occurred to me that people would feel they could - no MUST - give parenting criticism like that. Is it the same thing that makes people think they can change the minds of the whole world with a bumper sticker?

Oh, and since they were probably DIRTY from riding their bikes, you surely brought them in to give them a bath - UNATTENDED - before bedtime. Right?

Tsk tsk tsk

Actually, I'm surprised you'd want them to learn to ride a bike at all. Considering how you feel about bike riders in SA...


Heck with the parenting police, Tertia, if your kids were riding their bikes here in the US on the street without helmets, the regular police would get you. It is the law here, and you can be fined, a wopping 50 bucks. Of course, so many parents think that slapping a helmet on their kids heads replaces good parenting, like actually being RIGHT THERE with them when they ride (like you and Marko were) and making sure the helmets actually fit properly...ill fitting helmets cause more injuries than not wearing them at all. I bet the woman who posted you is from the US, no? And here you never see a kid on a scooter, bike, or skateboard without protective gear, so we think the very image of a kid without them is upsetting...like a child being in a car without a car seat. It just means we have been brain washed into thinking that it is the only safe way to bike. Please forgive us our 'parenting police' ways...we've actually acquired them from the REAL police.

On a side note, my state legislature is trying to make it illegal to smoke in a car with a child under the age of 6. Crazy! I don't smoke, and I know second hand smoke is bad, but how controlling can the government get? They way so many kids in the US are becoming morbidly obese, you'd think that they would make it illegal to eat junk food in front of your kids (just kidding!)

Hi Tertia

I suck as a mother because:

1) My 4 year old still shits in a nappy, takes a dummy and goes to bed with a bottle.
2) I fed them solids before 6 months
3) They are allowed sweets some times
4) When I am "gatvol" I "park" them infront of the TV
5) They ride bikes, no shoes, no helmets
6) They fart and burp..... in public, and find it funny (cause they see me laughing)

And so the list goes on. But, what is important to me, is the way my kids bond with ME, when they curl their little arms around my neck, and say "I love you mommy", or the little one "Luff Wu". So maybe I am not doing such a bad job afterall???

It was a 'perfect' post. Don't let the mother grundies of the world spoil this for you.

Keep on being 'you'.

Not only did I not own a helmet and often rode barefoot, but for a long time I rode a bike that didn't even have brakes! Boy, the parenting police would have a field day with that one. When I saw the pictures yesterday, I just thought that it was so nice to see such a happy, lovely family. And Adam sleeping with his bike was just too adorable.

These mothers who feel that it is their place to pass judgment on all other mothers need a lesson in etiquette. If you had asked our opinion, fine then it's open for discussion but you were just trying to share your joy. Boo on them for being such tools!

Just remember that for every asshole comment that you receive, there are a 100 other people (probably lurking) who think you are great and that you're a wonderful mother!

And now I am going to take my 3-YEAR OLD TRIPLETS and let them ride their bikes with NO helmets and NO shoes in THE ROAD and while they are doing it I am going to shout F#$@* THE SUPERMOM!!!!! Here in South Africa we know how to live and let our kids live!

Wow. I didn't even notice they were helmetless. I was too busy noticing the beautiful smiles, hottie husband, and gorgeous scenery.
I'm mostly shocked anyone who has been here for more than a few days would even consider you would endanger your kids.

Nicely done. The internet is a lawless place and many times we can become disconnected from the impact our words can cause. It's easy to give love but far too easy to cause pain. When comments are inflammatory, some bloggers delete the link back to the commenter's own blog. That way it doesn't turn into a war, and then an inflammatory commenter doesn't get the attention (blog traffic) he or she may be looking for. Like children, sometimes we misbehave because any attention is better than none.

I *heart* zenoma - exactly right, I'm sure. Those who spend all their time trying to project perfection and hide their general disdain behind that veneer - can't appreciate the joy and happiness you felt that day.

Hell.....at A&K's age, I used to ride my HORSE with no shoes, no helmet AND no saddle........but that was in the bad ole days of parenting...

Your biking post was a warm, lovely one, and despite the nasty wood worms coming out of the wood - you still had a memorable moment. Keep that feeling close to you!

Please do not feel betrayed by mankind, it was only a few who were worried about your kids.

The rest of us 'live and let live' - the best policy.

And sunshine - in Africa - how unusual for 2008 - ha!!

hugs 'en all!! (use your best Indian accent for that)!

Good god. How can someone be that intent on judgement? I sincerely didn't even *notice* whether or not they were wearing helmets. I saw kids on bikes, with parents. I saw a nice day outside. I saw the red shorts you pointed out.

I just had a conversation with a seven year old last night, trying to explain why that one girl at school picks on her.

"When you're a happy person, it makes other people mad, if they're not happy. So they do their best to make sure you're not happy either. They'll say mean things. And it's too bad, because it really does mean that they're not happy themselves."

I had to tell this to a seven-year-old. Can someone explain to me why this obviously needs to be reiterated to ADULTS????



Well, what is there to expect from someone who photoshops smiles on her kids faces on the Easter pic?! (Google is a wonderful tool, found her blog because of what you quoted from her description of herself...)

BTW, her boy is sledding without a helmet - how's that for safety?! ;D Not to mention how dangerous it is to play in snow caves!

I'm so sorry the comments on that post were painful for you. It's not fair that you so generously share your life and happiness with the world and people respond by telling you you're a bad mom.

Americans just have this bizarre sense of entitlement, smugness, superiority when it comes to health & safety issues. (I once spent a whole lunch at a restaurant in Sils Maria, Switzerland glaring at all the people who were smoking. Then to my shame one very nice smoker made friends with me! I was so embarrassed, because I'd been sending her death-rays with my eyes. I had that reaction to some degree at every meal when we were there: inevitably the room would fill with cigarette smoke at some point during each meal and I would get angry/irritated. Just think, instead of enjoying the fabulous skiing, the unbelievable scenery, my wasted hours every day outraged that all these idiots were SMOKING! Didn't they know they were KILLING themselves and HARMING ME by POISONING the air? Mblah blah blah. When we talk about going back to Switzerland I always say, "Not until they ban smoking indoors." As though I can impose my culture's values on the whole world. Very American.)

Ok seriously, I was looking at the pictures again, and your kids bikes have coloured wheels! And well, I just think that's GREAT! lol

Hope you have a good day!!

Do you ever have one of those days where you feel like renouncing blogging forever, deleting your entire blog out of spite, and then moving your family out to a cave to live as hermits? Or is that just me?

Anyway, for what it's worth I thought your post was lovely. :)

I can totally feel you. My husband and I recently adopted two infants only to discover that I am also pregnant. Our landlords who live below us and have a child of their own (who cries, and yells, and plays) have been hounding us since we got home every time one of the babies cry. So now the mother, who also stays at home has taken to slamming doors when the babies are crying, and shhhing guests who come over, and running her dishwasher on the rare days I have time to shower...etc. They have made life for us a living hell. I just keep thinking what mother does that to a new mom who is caring for two babies by herself for 10 hours a day?! Anyway, so now I am almost 6 months pregnant, caring for two babies, AND packing to move to a new apartment because we just can't tolerate their hostility anymore. I think there is a special place in hell for people like my landlord and your anonymous poster.

I was not one of the people who commented on your post. I only thought it was a lovely post, made me appreciate my own life, and sent me on my merry way. I didn't notice anything about missing helmets or missing shoes, and i didn't think to look.
And I agree that a post like "Helmits?" is a bit rude. OK, more than a bit.
However, judging from your response, you sound like you were more than ready to pounce on anyone who offered you any advice. This really confuses me given that 1) you willingly open your life up to public scrutiny and 2) there is no parent on the planet who could not benefit from some friendly advice (which 99.99% of the comments were). You sound like you were deeply offended even before that final offending comment came in. And I just think that is an impossible standard you are setting up.
OK, I won't go on about how important helmets are all the time, but I will say I was happy when someone pointed that out to me, and to this day I remain happy to hear the reminders, even though I've heard them all before.
More importantly, I am glad you had such a perfect day full of sunshine and family and appreciation for your wonderful life.

Ridiculous. I didn't notice the lack of helmets either -- their father was standing right there and they were probably moving at a snail's pace anyway. It's their first time on the bikes, for goodness' sake.

Just try to shake this one off. YOU know you will always take excellent care of your kids.

I respect every mother's right to parent their children how they wish, but I have to say I am a strong advocate of helmets because I am a cyclist myself. Once you have a cycling accident yourself and realize how little it takes to be injured you have a much bigger appreciation of the protection a helmet can provide. I had an accident when I was coming to a stop - was going less than 2 miles per hour, I was wearing a helmet and my head hit a rock and the helmet likely saved me from a head injury because even at that slow speed and just falling over (not flying off my bike) snapped my arm. My brother is a cyclist as well and was hit by a car, again he was likely saved from a head injury by his helmet as he was thrown from his bike several feet onto the pavement.

A fall of 2 feet can cause a traumatic brain injury to a child. The point is they are always necessary if for no other reason than a child gets in the habit of wearing one. Broken bones and scraped toes heal, the brain is not so forgiving.

I honestly didn't even think about their lack of helmets when I saw the pics. If I had, I wouldn't say anything, as we all know what a great mom you are! You, your DH and Rose take great care of these kiddies.

BTW, my DH almost broke his foot playing football with his friends last year with no shoes on. Someone asked me if I'd let him do that again (play outside with no shoes). I said his mother lived in New Jersey, LOL!

I read your post and loved it. And when I came to the comments my heart sank... I told my hubby about it later that day. He thought it was totally ridiculous too! Your kids weren't in any danger at any time.

Besides, I find it ludicrous that Americans feed their children shit and then has the nerve to comment on other people's parenting. Most American children are overindulged consumerist brats who watch too much television and aren't allowed to be kids anymore. Their way is not necessarily the best way (in any area of life) and they should stop trying to impose it on others. And learn some manners too!

You go, Tertia! Well done for having such fun with your kids and sharing it with us!

Yes, I know helmets are important. My brother and I did, however, ride bikes for years as kids and never wore helmets (I was born in 1970). We were okay - we never got into accidents (just cuts and bruises, but we never hit our heads). My brother fell out of a tree and got a concussion; needless to say, he was not wearing a helmet, as that just wasn't the normal practice. Suz has a great point, though, as you certainly want to do all you CAN to prevent brain injuries.

We're getting our two year old a tricycle for his birthday next week, and definitely a helmet. Why? BECAUSE THE CHILD IS OBSESSED WITH HELMETS! Yes, it will keep his noggin safe, and as he's only 2, we'll be with him at all times while he's outside. And he'll be thrilled because he gets to wear a helmet! We're thrilled because it won't be a struggle to keep his little brain happy and healthy.

Bottom line, listen to your instinct and do what feels right for you and your family. And try not to let the parenting police get to you. It's just not worth it. Many hugs to you, Tertia. :)

People thought about shoes and helmets on that post? See, this is part of why I hate parents today. *I* rode my bike everywhere, all day when I was a kid, barefoot and helmetless. And I don't own a bike now, but if I did, I wouldn't wear a helmet.

I mean, I'm sure they prevent some injuries, but there are SO MANY OTHER THINGS that can damage a person. If you're going to be That Guy, read Suz's comment (who obviously didn't pick up on your don't-even-start-with-the-helmet-thing message). So why would ANY parent let their kids ride a bike PERIOD because - you know- they could FALL AND BREAK A BONE!!!

Do people not let their kids climb trees these days either? Or do they make them wear helmets? Or - hey - walking down the stairs!! I mean, if you call the wrong way doing that, you can seriously konk your noggin. I see traumatic brain injury as a possibility. SO new rule! No walking down stairs for kids unless they have helmets.

These people are idiots. I hate them right along with you, T.

And since I know the room for inadvertently offending is so great on the Internet, I just wanted to add that I did not mean in any way to offende by the above comment.
I am just really confused why you take even the most polite advice as a suggestion that you are not an excellent mother. That's not it at all. It's a community of (mostly) women who are (mostly) just trying to be helpful. Why are you trying to view all of this as an assault. I love your blog, but I find your defensiveness hard to take.
I just read the last comment and here we go again with the "You go girl" posse of people coming to your defense. If that's what you want, fine. Personally I appreciate a more intelligent level of conversation than the constantly congratulatory kind.

I rarely comment, but I read just about everyday, and I have never understood the feeling of obligation that others have to "Add their two cents worth" in a negative manner. I saw "no problem" with how your children were dressed for a bike riding lesson, but even if I had why should I feel so inclide to attack you for your choices regarding your children and their safety.

Personally, I feel that helmets are more of a hazard than safety equipment. I have never wore one when biking and never plan to. Furthermore, I have no intention of putting one on my daugther when she gets old enough to learn to ride. Most of us all learned to ride without helmets and we are all just fine. Maybe a little rude, but fine, and I don't think a helmet would change the rudeness.

I am sure that these comments will get attacked, but I frankly do not care. Last time I check I am responsible for my live and my husband and I are responsible for our daugther's live and we are both on the same page regarding her. So in closing Tertia, please continue to love, respect and raise your children as you and Marko see fit, and please continue to share your amazing live and journey with us.

Eek! No bashing of any one else pls. Am on my cell in coffee shop, so cant update now, but really dont want a flame war here.

no name calling!

Hey, you know what? I didn't even THINK about toes or helmets. What I thought about was - THANK GOD some kids are able to experience what I had when I was a kid. I hope and I pray that MY kids can play like that one day! In fact, we're looking to buy a house in a nice quiet street right now so that they CAN do exactly that. I want my kids to be able to play in the street without fear, because I think a little bit more freedom is a good thing. So what if they get scraped knees and elbows and toes, and dirty or torn clothing? At least they will be living as kids should. Well done, Tertia, for being true to a South African lifestyle! I applaud you.

I agree the parenting police comments are inappropriate. I grew up driving my bike barefoot without a helmet, and I loved it. My parents should be locked up. Your kids, your choices.

But in the interest of accuracy, she does say "supermom - not hardly. I have no superpowers whatsoever" and that she has "little time for housework & cooking" because of her hobbies. Just sounds like she likes needlework, not that she thinks she's perfect.

We should all go easy on each other. Being a Mom and trying to do everything we can for them is hard enough without judging each other.

Tertia, You have Beautiful children, you live in a beautiful place, and the kids are riding beautiful bikes. Don't let these comments get you down!

'The best things in life cannot be seen or touched, only felt with the heart' - Mother Theresa

You had an awesome bike-ride by the looks of the piccies and as you said, a perfect day. Live the moment! F*$k the rest.

Love Kerry (aka mum of 3 bike riders..)

I learned to ride my bike around the local park without a helmet, my Dad was there teaching me! The helmet was not required until I could actually get up some speed. What a shame that people look at lovely photos of a big poignant moment in your family life and start yelling about helmets.

It was a lovely photo and looked like an idyllic time. Your children are gorgeous, Marko is handsome, and the sun was setting as they rode their bikes for the first time.


My darling, if they cannot see past their own insecurities and understand that it was just a beautiful moment, then (and this is important) fuck 'em.

My mom gave me some invaluable advice: if people say shit things just think fuck 'em - you don't have to say it out loud, but you just have to think it out loud. You know you're a good mother, and besides that you're a strong woman. You've been through more than most, concentrate on all the positive stuff everybody says to you. Let the odd dumb comment go - not important. That poor helmet woman is probably going to need therapy after this, but at least she'll think twice before giving unsolicited parenting advice again. Remember Stepford moms make Stepford children and that can never be a good thing - OK maybe it would be good at bedtime, but I like my children with a healthy dose of personality - it's only cowards who don't like a challenge!

I didn't see toes or bare heads either. I saw two gorgeous kids, a smokin' hot husband, and a beautiful rite of passage on a fabulous day.

Some people need to learn the "think it, don't say it," rule tout suite. If they can't, fuck 'em.

Hey T, so sorry to hear that your lovely day with the kids was ruined like this.
Why don't we just wrap our kids in tissue paper (oh yeah, you don't wrap!!) and shove them in the cupboard...hold on, make sure they're not too high up and have sufficient oxygen first!!!
My son hurt himself very badly (as you know), by freak accident WHILE I was holding his bloody hand, we can only do so much and frankly I think you're doing just SUPER!! XXX T

Gosh..so glad she doesn't read my blog

It's the same way with kids, horses, and helmets. I post a picture of my granddaughters riding my gentle horse, Blue, and I get lectures. I notice Pioneer Woman (thepioneerwoman.com), who has thousands of readers, ignores the helmet advice, laughs it off and goes on with her blogging.

Is it possible this is a US difference? Here helmets are drilled into your head for ANY age. If the child is riding on the back of a parent's bike, if the child is riding in the driveway etc. Head injuries can occur very easily when you least expect it. Is it possible that in SA they don't campaign as much for this? In our area, a cop will stop when he sees a child without a helmet and remind them it's needed and to go home and get it. It's not an option really so I can see why people were surprised by that. I didn't read the comments but, maybe they were meant as hey, I didn't know this as a first time mom either so I'll point it out to her? I hope they weren't rude.

Oh dear! What kind of a mom will I make?? I didn't even pick up on the lack of helmets, and I thought what a nice quiet street they have to ride in... Perhaps the Parent Police should come and take my child as soon as it's born, to save it from what are sure to be my terrible parenting skills.

I'll never understand why people attack you so, and it's usually on the most feel-good of your posts (kids bathing springs to mind)

You are a sincere person. You are honest, open and candid. Your ‘Perfect’ post was touching. Mom and dad involved with the children – together! Children having a new experience with their parents right there. Children in the fresh air and sunshine.
Well done, it was a special day. Forget the rest.

Wriggling nose at mean commenters! Gah!

I read the "perfect" post and thought "what a lovely day!" Poo on the drive-bys!!

Tertia, face it, you're a bad parent... Where are their bubbles??? Where is their hats and sunglasses and sun protection and knee pads and mouth gards and OXYGEN TANKS??? Bad! How do you sleep at night knowing that you let your children ride a bike?? A BIKE. Seriously... I was the kinda kid who needed a helmet regardless of whether I was on a bike or not... and I rarely wore one. Am I fine? Yes! Could I finish high school without incidence? Obtain a law degree without hassle?? Yes! I think the moral to this story is Tertia would NEVER put her kids in a dangerous situation, even if some assholes on the internet who should be spending their time parenting their own brats rather than criticizing the parenting skills of another person! She shouldnt have to fucking explain herself, you should just know how much she loves those kids and that she would never put them in a situation. Even if you're trying to be helpful - think before you speak (press the little 'post' button, its there for a reason) and maybe put yourself in her shoes. And if you still cant see it, then just use your manners and dont say anything at all UNLESS ITS POSITIVE. Im not disregarding the importance of helmets, but lets be realistic here... and think of the circumstance.
Bunch of effing killjoys.

OMFG. You write a post about how you don't want to hear any warnings about bike helmets, etc, one that clearly says that you are an aware and conscientious parent and now we're talking about riding barefoot? I don't understand how it's ok to respond to the post you just put up with a comment that basically says... Helmets? That didn't even occur to me because I was thinking about how you're a crappy parent for not making them wear shoes.

So sorry this is happening again, Tertia. I really wish most parents could just shut up 99.9% of the time they are considering offering parenting advice. Especially when it involves taking cultural differences into account, as if you lived in some undeveloped third world country without access to the internet.

People just need to relax.

"I'm not a winer (as opposed to a whiner, which I know plenty about), and I never drink without dinner consumption."

Jesus, no wonder the woman's a basketcase. Not enough wine!

Whoops, forgot to mention that I got that off of the blog of 'anonymous'.

sorry that the comments ruined the wonderful day you and your family enjoyed together... I think the kids look like they were having a great time and I am grateful that you shared the moment with me. often times when my day isn't going quite right, I will come to your blog and see a picture or video of Adam and Kate and it will make me smile. I hope that you will continue to share special moments with your kids in spite of this experience...

internet, email... all takes our "voice" out of the message and some don't think about how their comment will make the person on the other side feel..

Adam and Kate are adorable and I have enjoyed "watching" them grow up!

Arg - the freaking "sancti-mommies"! Drive me crazy. I took one look at the pic of your kids riding in the street ... and saw (as any sane person who knows anything about the community in which you live would have) that it was a quiet side road and that you and Marko were RIGHT THERE. And BTW, this post is one of the reasons you should win an SA Blog Award ... brilliantly written!

I didn't comment and I didn't read the comments. It just didn't strike me as a post you comment on. It was simple and sweet ... and all yours. To be honest - sometimes I'm shocked people actually have the balls to say some of the things they do online. My career is such to make sure people/companies are able to access this giant network and I'm STILL taken aback by the brazenness anonymity and distance seem to allow people. Keyboard hard-asses. No one has ever come to my face and acted like that, ya know? Is the next generation going to be one that will go right up to someone else's face and tell them they're a fat, pimply nerd who really shouldn't wear orange as they look like a giant fruit in it?

Well, here in the US... I didn't even notice the helmet/foot thing. (The beginning of that sentence was a joke, you got it, right??) It just looked like a nice day on a very quiet street with close supervision by parents. Mostly I was impressed that a child can learn to ride a bike so young.

Maybe I'll freak out about helmets when my son hits that age, maybe not. While I think you might be a little more sensitive on this topic than some, I also think the one-word "Helmets??" is totally assy. Like you don't even have the time to type out a few words and make it polite or gentle--if it's that important to comment on.

Tertia, thank you for sharing the lovely pics of your beautiful children! And for sharing your proud mommy moment of them riding big girl and big boy bikes for the first time - ever!

You are doing a wonderful job - awesome - it's great to see nice family pics of people doing "normal" family things!


Delete it.
Forget it.
Fuck 'em.

Well, feh. I didn't comment on the first post cause I was busy, but what I was thinking was, that gorgeous day and the kids and the bikes and Marko having so much fun, WOW. You've always said how much Marko would love teaching the kids things as they grew, and I could see that in the photos. I would say that I rode bikes without helmets all my childhood and look how I turned out, but that may not be the best recommendation... Wishing you more wonderful days!

Hello ~
Hmmm..I'm a bit confused. I read the comments re the previous post (didn't post one) but I didn't feel they were attacking you. I like the pictures of your beautiful children but you do seem very touchy / sensitive about the helmet thing. If you're putting "it" out there then yes you'll get a wide variety of comments.

I'm not saying anything you don't know but I was very surprised by your distraught & angry response to these comments. You got a lot of postive feedback & support above ~ are these the same people who posted the helmet comments? Curious.

Hope you have a better day! T

oh for heaven's sake. People are so silly.

Your children look like they were having a lovely day with both mom and dad in a quiet paved area where they can easily practice their pedaling skills.

End of Story!

I saw some of the comments and hadn't even noticed no shoes / no helmets - I saw two kids having fun on their bikes with their dad!! Nuff said!

These types of comments and "holier than thou" critisisms are exactly the reason I personally do not have a regular blog of my own. You have to be very thick-skinned in order to just let these asshole's words roll right off your back, and I'm not thick skinned enough at all. I'm afraid I would totally go off on everybody that wanted to make me feel like a horrible mother, esp. total strangers. And who photoshops smiles on their kids to make them look perfect? Pleeeeze!!! I'm still rolling in the floor after reading that one. LOL
Bottom line...you are NORMAL. You are doing things exactly the way I do them. My kids are out there riding their trikes in bare feet, diapers, and with a lollipop in their hand...so, take that, all you perfect, paranoid moms! :)

...And no, my kids have not died yet from me letting them be kids, nor have they ever had to be taken to the ER due to any injuries they have sustained while riding their trikes at a snail's pace, barefoot & helmet-less. Just thought I would add that for the record.

I think you are all over reacting here. We will always have those holier than though 'perfect' moms and people will always miss the point. I don't think she meant to be spiteful even if she is a pain in the butt. Do what you tell me to, don't care.

As a Brit who's recently moved to the States, the thing I find most interesting is that the US is still really just a smalltown farming community on steroids - an impression you just don't get when you're on the outside looking in.

Which has its benefits, people here really are unbelievably friendly and helpful, and give hugely to charity (the help thy neighbour ethos is very strong). Unfortunately the flip side is a somewhat 'busybody' culture - with people having no qualms about telling you when you're transgressing in some way. I have been shouted at in the street for NOT CROSSING A ROAD AT A CROSSING (does the 'crime' of jaywalking even exist elsewhere in the world?)and therefore apparently endangering my child. And that's in Seattle which prides itself on being one of America's most liberal cities.

It's also a very cautious, prudish and rule-based culture. The speed limit here on the freeways is 60 mph and PEOPLE STICK TO IT (to the amazement of all my European friends - in the UK the speed limit is 70mph and no one drives slower than about 85 mph). Pedestrians really do all cross only at crosswalks. Possibly because of the litigation culture (another product of all the rules and busybodying)there are all sorts of unwritten rules which I as a laissez faire Brit - mostly unknowingly -transgress all the time. Make kids wear helmets all the time, supervise them minutely whatever they're doing, make sure that every activity is done always with the correct equipment and ensure that even the tiniest girls are covering their nipples.

And because Americans never travel anywhere, or if they do just to Mexico, or Hawaii or the Caribbean where they stay in huge 'America by the sea' compounds, they have NO IDEA that things are done any differently elsewhere in the world.

But if it helps any people really are very well-meaning and kindhearted and probably really do think that they are being helpful.

And yes, I do realise that I am making MASSIVE generalisations here.

A "very cautious, prudish and rule-based culture..."
"And because Americans never travel anywhere..."
"Where they stay in huge 'America by the sea' compounds, they have NO IDEA that things are done any differently elsewhere in the world."

Well played.

I'm 34 years old and I still ride my bike in the middle of the street...barefoot and without a helmet.

I stumbled on your wonderful blog through Julia (Here be Hippogriffs) and I absolutely love your writing. I will be back for sure. And, yes, us moms have it hard enough and to criticise each other is unfathomable and unfair. Carry on and enjoy your beautiful children!

I grew up on a farm and rode bikes almost constantly with no helmet or shoes and I had a wonderful childhood. I read your post and kept thinking what lucky children to have parents that cared enough to get them bikes AND play with them. Let everything else slide off your back!

It makes me worried for the next generation of kids sometimes - I think a lot of our generation believes that by being the safest parent out there means being the best parent out there, and that by one-upping another parent on an issue of safety, they can be superior.

It is such an asinine quality it drives me up the wall, because they believe nothing trumps, "but what about the child's safety!?" and by saying that, they mean, "haha! I am one upping you on moral high ground!"

I think that childhood obesity has a lot to do with this - I hear a lot of 'no!' coming from parents these days.

Most parents understand their own children better than a person glancing in at a snapshot of that kid's life. Most people would never tell you how to treat your spouse in the same free manner they tell you how to treat your kids.

I got some flak for posting this a while ago, but for goodness sake, someone was upset with my parenting over letting my child feed a baby goat:


At a petting farm, no less.

Anyway, sorry for the rant. I'm sure as soon as I get done writing this, I'll go see some parent beating their kid with a stick and when I say something, they will tell me to mind my own business, and use all the same sentiments I've just listed here.

Hey everyone!!!! shut up about the shoes and helmets!!! Remember when things weren't illegal back here in North America? When they let us decide for ourselves about shoes and helmets and running with scissors and walking our dogs without a leash? We had to rely on - shiver - OUR OWN COMMON SENSE.

However did we manage?

Fwoops! That link should be


About the terror of feeding baby goats


Long time reader but new blogger. You are a great mom and you know you are parenting your children the way that is best for you and your family. I think you do an amazing job of absorbing and letting go of obnoxious comments by judgmental people. Hang in there and please know that most of our out here are NOT judging you and think you are pretty awesome. No conditions on that; just awesome.


Bless your heart! Helmet? I never wore a helmet growing up. I had many a bike wreck and never got anything more serious than a scratched knee. I rode on our rode in front of our house too! SHOCK! I'm surprised I'm not dead! I think your kids are adorable and you do a fantastic job as a mother! I don't post comments, but I could tell you were hurt from your post, so I did want to give you a little support.

Yeah - massive generalizations. Doesn't help Tertia, or anybody else.

My parents got my son a Big Wheel for Easter and were then absolutly TRAUMATIZED that they'd forgotten to buy a helmet to go with it. A HELMET? He is 2 inches off of the ground. He'd fall further if he were standing up.
He's NOT getting a helmet for his Big Wheel.

Just thought I'd share so you'd know that even grandparents can get a bit kooky.

To be clear, when I wrote "well played" I meant "what a quaint bit of nastiness."

When I looked at the pictures in the post I thought, wow what a great day it must have been for them...ahhh, too cute. Never in my mind did I think, WTF helmets...never. I just loved the fact that Marco was helping/chasing/following them and I thought of you with a big smile on your face while taking the pictures. What a great day it must have been.

Please don't let this "parent policing crap" ruin the memory of the day.

People who criticize others or judge them harshly need to do that to feed their own egos. It's sad that they have to live that way, but many people do. It's human nature. The only part you can control is your reaction. Maybe it would help to just sit quietly for a few minutes and realize that their psychological dysfunction has absolutely nothing to do with you. Those kinds of comments are not worth the upset. It's like being angry at the ocean for making waves.

I grew up riding without helmets (in fact, we would've teased the crap out of any kid who did wear a helmet!) and without shoes, and I am fully functioning and stable to this very day.

I never knew anyone who sustained a traumatic injury of any kind on a bike, even though my brother and his friends would jump off of ledges and down stairs on their BMX bikes (and skateboards, and roller blades, without helmets or pads or jeans or leather jackets or protective gear of any kind). The ONLY person I knew growing up who wore a helmet was my cousin who did BMX trick competitions, and who would actually invert himself on his bike. He needed it. The rest of us? Poo. Helmets are for pussies.

Kids these days are being wrapped in bubble wrap and stored in a closet, lest they get their widdle feewings (or their widdle bodies) hurt. It's bologna. How are they going to compete if they reach age 18 never having been hurt or angry or disappointed or told "no"?

I think you need to photoshop pictures of your kids walking over hot coals, hunting lions on safari, doing deep sea diving, etc. and post them every once in a while so that the PPP can get it out of their systems. Then the rest of us can sit back with a glass of wine and laugh at the poor buggers and their bubble wrapped kids.

Love you!

I'd like to ammend my earlier comment to say that we all occasionaly criticize or judge others to feed our own egos. Didn't mean to make it appear that some sorry people do this, but that I or anyone else is completely above it. We all act this way sometimes.

Hmmm...I'm a Mom with 2 grown kids and I didn't even notice that your kids weren't wearing helmets or shoes....guess that makes me a bad Mom as well.

Pop another bottle of champers and lets all get pissed! Can all the anal folk please leave their cork in an appropriate place....
I'm with blackbird here - "fcuk em'"!

Thanks for being you, Tertia. I read your blog because your fears, insecurities, "defensiveness", celebrations, aspirations, goals, and dreams are similar to my own. Everyone can choose to read or not read. Can't stand how people are so critical of something they have the choice not to read. Anyway, thanks for being there for those of us who appreciate you and your excellent writing :)


I never said anything about the helmets and whatever, since I just noticed how nice the pictures were.

For the record, if I had noticed anything wrong, I might've emailed you with a gently worded, "by the way, did you think about"....but I would not have left a comment publicly.

I am a little concerned by the previous commenters acting like helmets are irrelevent. It is possible to support Tertia without dismissing safety measures guys. I know she knows what's right for her kids...fine. But assuming that ALL safety items are only used by batty people, is unfair too. What are you all going to do next week when Tertia decides to make her kids wear helmets while biking?

What if another big blogger posts something telling you that her personal rule is helmets only? Anyone who slammed the helmet wearing advocates on this post will be silent, I guess?

Maybe we could all relax a bit, and recognize that things like car seats and helmets and safety gear save lives and prevent injuries, but maybe we don't have to get upset at each other about it or tell Tertia what to do?

And for the record, I'm Canadian, and my kids use helmets, as our laws require. Same as many other western industrialized countries around the world, not just the US.

Good Lord, what is wrong with people?!

Why do you assume someone is completely! unaware! of something just because of a picture on a blog and "thank gawd" you are here to set them straight.

I mean, I'm sure your blog comments have saved countless lives and informed the woefully uniformed all over the Internet, but give it a rest.

I wanted to say something, something deep, meaningful, thought-provoking, consoling, and a little snarky, but as commenter #95 or so, I don't even know if you'll ever read it, dear Tertia.

Hi Tertia.

First, when I read your perfect post I was in my office. I thought 'I wish my day today were like that!'. I went home a bit earlier that day, so that I could capture a little bit of that 'perfect' for myself too, maybe go for a walk with my daughters to see the sunset. That said, I doubt the supermom meant to be hurtful, I bet she just wanted to give you a tip she felt useful. The problem is with the blog format, but there's not need to feel hurt. Once you put a post out there, you will receive many comments, many more than you would in person. Let's say you just went out to lunch with a few friends; probably one of them will show you the photos of her barefoot kids wearing helmets, another of her kids with bare heads, and another of her kids wearing helmets, shoes, and protective gear for the knees and elbows, etc...Nobody would say anything but you would probably notice the differences, nobody feeling offended. Just wanted to say I really dislike the mommy wars...so useless.

T, I want to be you when I grow up!!! You are an awesome mom and dont let anyone tell you different!!!

Ok so I'm pretty out of the loop, never being around kids and such, but I grew up in the 70s and 80s and spent countless hours riding bikes -- NEVER WEARING A HELMET. God, we protect kids too much these days. Let them have fun! Jeez, they were on a bike a foot and a half off the ground? What was going to happen? What's next, wearing helmets while walking?

I hurt myself A LOT when I was a kid -- stitches and scrapes (no broken bones thankfully) but I had a TON of fun while doing it. And we weren't babied -- when I hurt myself, I'd come inside, get cleaned up, and go right back to playing, no tears. I think people need to relax.

Don't stress the small things. This goodygoody helmet tannie is a small thing. She smells like Martha Stewart. You just be Tertia. We don't want anyone else, damnit. Perhaps I should post a pic of the kids playing cricket in our street?

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