2010年1月21日木曜日

bathing survey

Need to know whether I'm weird or not. (No comment, dad.)

Went out for lunch today with three other foreign women married to Japanese men.

Four of us from four different countries.

Somehow we got onto talking about bathing (as you do over spaghetti, right?)

I was the only one who thought it was fine- dare I say it 'normal'- for kids to bathe with their parents.

I am talking about in Japan.

Girl or boy child with mother and or father.

Someone asked me would I bathe with my dad. Well, no. Apart from the fact that we wouldn't fit (no offence dad) it's not our culture.

But I do jump in the bath with the girls and every blue moon when K is home before the girls go to bed they all jump in together, too.

Hell, sometimes we even go to the onsen and jump in the big bath with all kinds of humanity.

I know I didn't always feel comfortable with this. The first time I went to an onsen I took a swimsuit. When I heard I wouldn't be wearing it I was freaked out.

That was 16 years ago. I can't remember when or how or why I changed my attitude....

But now I'm all curious about how many other people feel like me. Or not.

So, what are your feelings on bathing and have they changed?

Oh, and I may be pro-family bathing but I'm not all Japanese- I don't think I'll ever clean my husband's ears for him.


17 件のコメント:

Belinda さんのコメント...

I'm an Aussie too (no kids yet). At first I didn't feel comfortable with the idea, but now I feel like it's very cool, and great to have such open-ness between family members. Bathing with the mother-in-law and sister-in-laws the first time was a little confronting, but now that I am over that, I feel like it's nice to feel comfortable with each other. Wish I had had that experience and comfort level with my own mother, but like you say, it's just a totally different culture.

illahee さんのコメント...

when i first went to an onsen, it was with co-workers and i was really (scared doesn't seem like the right word, and uncomfortable doesn't, either) esp. since it was people i work with. however, i was in japan to experience new things so i did it and had a great time! i LOVE onsen.

i still bathe with my children. then again, my oldest is five. sometimes i let them splash around by themselves in there, but for the most part, it's family bathing around here. my husband also takes baths and showers with them, so i think it would be weird if i didn't bathe with the children.

since i have two boys, there is going to be a time when we no longer bathe together. but when will that be??

i have a friend in miyazaki who loves family bath (she's british). i don't think she bathes with her two older sons anymore, but i know that it doesn't bother her much at all. (we discussed this once when i expressed confusion over my husband wanting to bathe with his brother. that's weird to me...) my friend finds family sleeping together more strange. that doesn't bother me! gotta love this country, right??

illahee さんのコメント...

ooh, i find i have more to add!

when i was young, i did shower with my parents on occasion. i do have one clear memory of hopping in the shower with my dad. i think i was about four at the time, and i know that it was one of the last times.

i also bathed with my younger brother. he's three years younger than me, and we have a younger sister, so it was probably easier for my mom to bathe us together.

i also slept in the same bed with my brother when we were very young, and he and my sister shared a room when they were very young. i would also crawl into my parents' bed (on my mother's side) quite often.

bathing with my children and sleeping in the same futon/bed doesn't bother me. i think that once they hit a certain age, though, i will want more privacy for everyone.

kasandora さんのコメント...

I'm pro bathing together....I think the human body is a pretty natural thing, and I'm all about the de-sensitization of seeing someone nakey....

Jo Tomooka さんのコメント...

I know that when I say to people in New Zealand that my children had a bath with their father their eyebrows rise and they think that perhaps they should be calling the social welfare authorities to report me for child abuse, but.... I personally think it is a great thing that children have the chance to bathe with adults, see all their "adult bits" and not be embarrased about it. So much is hidden from NZ kids when really it should be a natural thing.
My kids now shower by themselves (the two of them together) - only because I never have time to get in with them and their father is never home at the right time to put them in. But, we often go to onsens together and my son has no problem coming into the women's side with us. I think explaining puberty is going to be a little easier as they have been exposed to so many of the changes already! Speaking of puberty... the word verification for this comment is "rehair" - appropriate!

Claire さんのコメント...

I bathed with both kids every night until about a year ago when I decided I wanted to get in the bath abit later so I could stay warm longer.(anyone still following me?) but Dh still gets in the bath with both twice a week and Dd (10) still wants to get in with him. On the other hand i got in the bath with Ds (6) for the first time in ages the other day and he was grinning like a cheshire cat and looking at my boobs...

Gaijin Wife さんのコメント...

Pro-bathing together for sure, but then my kids are still so young that I can't leave them to their own devices in the bath anyway - and on those frequent nights when I have to bath all three of them getting all in together is the only way. Shou and Marina push my boobies and laugh and hold plastic tea set saucers up to their chest and chant booby booby.

I can't remember a time when I hoped in the bath with my brother who is five years younger than me but my mum and my sisters - we all hoped in the bath together for ages.

Hub baths the kids when he is home and I reckon it will be a sad day for him when however many years down the track Marina says she doesn't want to.

Nay さんのコメント...

I think when I first heard that many Japanese families bath together (i.e. father and daughter or mother and son) my reaction was unfortunately the same of many Aussies...

But now my opinion has done a 360 and I am pro-family bathing!! I know Naoki is looking forward to being able to hop in the bath with Baby N. He has a lot of good memories of bathing with his family when he was younger.

Gina さんのコメント...

We're a pro bathing family too! It's a good bonding experience for kids and my kids never saw anything weird about it at all. It was just the norm. After our showers but during our bath time would be singing songs or making pretend curry in the bath.

My older son stopped taking baths with me when he was 5 and a half to pretty close to age 6. It wasn't anything, I just felt it was time. The month before I made sure he was shampooing his hair right and reminded him to wash behind his ears etc. My last family bath with Branden we played all the games. "how long can each person hold their breath under water" Just all of them. For 6 month's after I would sit outside the shower door on a little step stool and talk with him through the door, make sure your scrubbing good. ; ) I'd say. And when the water cut off, I'd leave and let him have his privacy and get dressed. Now he baths and showers with dad/Noboru for the most part and sometimes both the boys shower together on nights Noboru is working during bath time. But the bonding we got out of the shower/bath time were priceless honestly and I have no regrets.

Now for my youngest son. For Noah, he's only 4 years old. So, I still shower and bath and make "pretend curry" and stuff with him. Excellent topic. : )

Luisa さんのコメント...

I agree, family bathing is something that would never happen at home in Australia in our family.
Once I also got over my hangups about my body and just enjoyed onsens and communal bathing a whole new relaxing world opened up for me.
Now we also bathe with our daughter (actually hubby bathes her every night) and I think he will be saddened when the day comes when she won`t want to bathe with him anymore.

Gina さんのコメント...

whoops meant "pro bathing TOGETHER family" obviously, but ykwim. ; )

Semsavblanc さんのコメント...

I love onsen bathing! When I was travelling in Japan with my husband I obviously had to bathe alone. I saw so many mums with their little boys or girls bathing together. I couldn't imagine anything more practical, for a start and secondly, bonding.
I often felt sad and lonely on my own, surrounded by all these people sharing their bath time with each other. I would love to have my mum or sisters to share this experience, but I can feel their discomfort, just thinking about it!
Going alone to the onsen felt kind of like dining in a restaurant alone. But aside from that and the initial worry that I would do something wrong, it was a most pleasant experience. The more the merrier!

Xana さんのコメント...

Most nights dh bathes with the girls (3 and 5). He tries to make the 8:15 bath deadline home from work. When he does have to work then I bathe with them. I was wondering if your lunch companions have children? I am not sure what I would have thought before I had kids, now it just seems normal. I don't mention it when in the US, however, as I'm sure everyone would feel uncomfortable at the least. I think it's sad that people in the US so often seem to associate nudity (bathing) and beds with sex. For our family, baths are about getting cleaning, beds are for sleeping, and both give us lots of chances to talk and play with the kids. Especially for dh who doesn't get to spend time with them during the day.

I did bath with my brother when he was little (I am 5 years older) but he used to pee in the bath and so I didn't want to any more, much to my stepmother's disappointment. I'n sure it was easier to get both kids washed at once, and she was (rightly, imo) far more worried about drowning than prudity. The girls bath with their cousin (my brother's son) when we are all at Grandpa and Nonna's house. They have so much fun! It helps that nephew is potty trained:)

I must say, though, that I am still a bit uncomfortable bathing with SIL and MIL, and refuse to be naked with BIL or FIL in an onsen. The "family" thing just doesn't extend to male ils for me.

achan さんのコメント...

Well I'm going against the flow here I HATE BATHING. I don't share the bath with anyone whether that be my bath or an onsen I simply hate getting in a box filled with water and that includes pools!

My 3 kids though bath with their father when he is home (usually just the weekends) and I am fine with that. Otherwise I stand on the freezing cold bathroom floor and supervise (I'm fine with that too).

I think ubbys dream is that we'd all go to an onsen together one day but that will be when I'm dead because I can't think of anything worse to do!!

Enjoy your baths everyone and I will enjoy my shower

Japan Mama さんのコメント...

I never really thought it was weird to bath with the children. My two are 3 and 1 (girl and boy), and I don't want them to feel ashamed of their bodies. It doesn't necessarily bother me when they point out differences between adults/childrens/male/female bodies either. I think it's a natural curiosity. We all bathe together (sometimes DH too if he's home from work). I find it much easier than bathing them without getting in too, and it's a lovely family activity (like eating dinner, except we don't usually do that naked...).

Onsen however, like the water, like bathing, but the sharing?!!? Not so much. Plus the pointing and giggling (yup, had both) is a bit disconcerting. I'm not so hot on showing my naked self in front of total strangers (whatever sex they happen to be), and not that hot on seeing other women walking around naked either. So I suppose my opinion is a bit conflicted. All I can remember, is that I used to bathe with my parents when I was really small, and with my sister and cousins until I was about 10

Rachel さんのコメント...

Past - I used to get in the bath with my sisters and baby brother, and I even have some photos to prove it! Mum says she used to pop the youngest in the shower with her in the morning to make things easier.

Now - I LOVE onsens and we usually have a family bath too. Once one gets it, they all get in, it seems. They are 9 and 7 now, and don't bathe with their father very often, but they do sometimes. The baby (2) does as often as she can! More than anything else, it's so practical - if they are in the bath alone, you still have to monitor them, so it saves a lot of time to just get in there with them!

Bonding - yes I think it's a great bonding time. Lena used it this way after Erica was born. As the 'ex baby' she felt shoved out, and getting in the bath with me every night was her way of reconnecting with me. She was incosolable if I had a bath without her!

Puberty - YES! I was just talking to my sister tonight, and she said she had caught her daughter accidentally in her room trying to pull out stray armpit hairs. But because Amy still bathes with me, I know every sordid detail of her development, and she is totally unembarrassed about it with me.

I also think it's great for them to see real naked human bodies in the onsen. It's not as if they are going to grow up never seeing nudity - but without this real-life exposure, all they will see is impossibly perfect centrefolds.

thefukases さんのコメント...

Thank you, THANK YOU!! I really love bathing together for all the reasons everyone has mentioned- skinship, bonding, downtime, safety, naturalising seeing naked bodies etc etc but 3 vs 1 and I was beginning to feel a little dirty (hah hah!)

Someone asked whether anyone else had kids. The interesting thing is that one woman does- a baby- and she was horrified at the idea of the baby bathing with her father- but then she's the one who cleans her husband's ears so each to their own I guess!

We have reached the interesting conversation age though. The girls have compiled a veritable file on their female relatives mammories- whose float, whose hang, whose are biggest etc and thing it's an evolution thing- first you look like mummy, then (older) aunt, then (slightly older) aunt then finally obaachan. Hmmmm...... It really does make puberty related talk very natural and easy to bring up though, hey?