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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

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Sleep Is
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Chicago Review Press

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Let's Panic

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At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it.

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Tuesday
Jan162007

The voice of reason is one I left so far behind.*

I'm sorry, but there’s nothing in my head today. No ideas, no original thoughts, just a dim buzzing and, inexplicably, “Head Over Heels” by the Go-Gos. (I hope I didn’t just put that song in your head. I hope you’re too young or old or too not-a-thirteen-year-old-girl-in-1982 to know it. If so, here it is! NOW the song’s in your head.) (I'm sorry.) (Belinda, your shirt’s falling off! Better fix that!)

*Come on! Guess where that came from!

Although I am but an empty vessel, I will soldier on. This weekend Henry went to the in-laws. If you have parents nearby who are willing to take your child away from you for days or even hours, I highly recommend it. You might think you can’t bear the separation from your beloved child for even a minute, but I’ll tell you, after the first 30 or so times you’re left weeping at Grand Central as your baby toddles away, his chubby little hand in Grandma’s, you start to feel pretty casual about it. And once your baby is four and let’s face it, not getting any younger, you might find yourself peeling out of the grandparents’ driveway, shouting, “So long, suckers!” as you take off for a weekend of sweet, sweet freedom. All weekend I found myself wondering aloud that I wasn’t pining for my baby. Of course, I also spent much of that time sharing adorable anecdotes about him to anyone who would listen. Hey, dry cleaner, want to hear about how my sweater got yogurt all over it? There’s a cute story in it! You sit down and you LISTEN.

Now he’s back, at school, while I’m in my house, swaddled in multiple sweaters. Here’s a funny story: once there was an adorable, if old, house in the suburbs. When it got cold, the wind whistled through the window frames and the door frames and the walls and probably also through the furniture. Sometimes it seemed as if it were colder inside the house than out! Fortunately, the winter was warm and sultry, thanks to pre-apocalyptic freaky weather changes, so it was only cold inside, instead of toe-losingly frigid. Then the gas bill came! And wow! The owners of the house sure didn’t know heating could cost that much! And once again, they questioned their decision to move to this god-forsaken land, this JERSEY.

Speaking of which, at some point I do intend to write about our adjustment to the new place. Because I know you’ve been aching for more information on our suburban ennui or lack thereof. Or is that sensation from all the granola you just ate?

Reader Comments (40)

Thanks for the post of the Go-Gos, I'd forgotten that song - being almost old by 1982. I was still hanging in bars up until 1983 and then became domesticated and boring. So it brings me back to my last days of bar-hopping.

Does your house have insulation? If not, you can get it blown into the insides of your walls, which is what the previous owners of our house had done just before we moved in. True, any gap between any piece of the wall-related structure had fluffy gray stuff coming out of it for the first five years but now it's settled out nicely and we don't notice this. We've also plugged up any errant holes. And although our heating bill is scary during the really cold weather, this year it's been so balmy I am pleased with what we're being charged. PSE&G man came today to check the meter; it will be interesting to see what happens for this month now that it's getting a bit chillier.

Best of luck, hope you are settled in to Jersey and enjoying it now...



January 16, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMauigirl52
Oh, how I wish to have someone to take my son for a weekend! The only kid-free time that I get is ten minutes twice a day to and from the school where I spend the day with 110 fifth-graders. That doesn't count as being away from kids! Even though they're not mine, I still have to discipline and clean up after them.We still haven't managed to import family members to Texas, so we are stuck paying babysitters twice a year when we can find one. Actually, I did go away for a weekend alone in October. That was the first time in over five years that I have traveled alone, and it was the strangest feeling; so liberating, yet I missed him.
January 16, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAlana
will your in laws take my child? both sets of our parents are far far away, and even when we do see them, they never take the kid off our hands. seriously. never. the kid is almost 4 and i've probably left him alone with my parents a whopping total of 5 hours.maybe i'll soothe my wounded psyche with sweet sweet granola.
January 16, 2007 | Unregistered Commentersara
20 below here with wind chill. We have ice on the INSIDE of our windows. Want to trade? Because I'd totally adopt your in laws who will take children for an entire weekend and you can live here, in law-less in rock solid frozen potato land.

WHY DID WE MOVE HERE?
January 16, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterkerflop
3 in 1982? *sigh* I was ecstatic when "13 going on 30" came out, burning forever my pre-teen years on film. I owned Thriller, yes. And I kissed its cover nightly. I now brush my teeth for a minimum of three minutes each tooth just remembering kissing that record sleeve. Oh, the naivity of youth. Our Lips Are Sealed!

(And I'm too young for Flock of Seagulls, but too old for Nirvana).
Well, I don't know from gas bills but every time that oil truck pulls up to the house I clap my hands to the side of my head and run around the house screaming. Then I hide when the guy comes up to stick the bill in the door. Did I mention the furnace is original to the house? The house built in 1921? It's like were heating the house with a Studebaker. And yet we still happily signed those papers...
January 16, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLetterB
Writing to you from Seattle, where we stopped worrying about the paint peeling off the walls all around the giant, leaking windows.... so that we could turn panicky attention to the water streaming into our basement. Thank god that happened the day AFTER Christmas instead of on Christmas Eve, at least.

I so needed that little taste of Go-Go's, thank you, Alice!
January 16, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLisa
Two words: Performance Fleece. In layers.

You build up a tolerance. We turned our heat up to 55 degrees the other night and it felt so balmy. Better, your kid gets used to a cold house which will save you quite a lot in the years to come. Of which there aren't many as you reminded me in your New Year's post (it still haunts me), but you know. Saving money's still good even without that future thing.
January 16, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterozma
Wool socks are the gifts of the gods. Get some and wear them in good health. I swear my life has improved in inexplicable ways since I switched to wool socks.

I'm generally swathed in several layers of wool and/or silk when I am at home, for lo, I too have an old house (though mine is in inner Kansas City) and in order to be able to afford to eat, the thermostat stays just high enough to keep the pipes from freezing.

I feel your pain.

Still, $5 secondhand merino, cashmere, and silk sweaters from the Junior League thriftshop, and a butt-ton of SmartWool socks have made a positive difference.

Oh, good tights to wear under jeans or khakis. I like UnderArmour, but they are awfully pricey. The "wicking" workout tights from Target are a good second. The polyester ones are the best. Cotton tends to retain too much sweat and feel clammy. Eeeww!
January 17, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle D
When we realized our old NJ house was more drafty than expected, my husband went out to Home Depot and bought trimfiller (that rubbery glue type stuff - not caulk - the other stuff) and put it around every window in the house. It made a difference.

We also bought lots of fleece blankets, thick slippers and flannel sheets. Oh, and a wonderful Cuddledown comforter.

If you have a working wood fireplace, consider installing a blower and buy a couple cords of firewood. The blower will help circulate the warm air throughout the house, and wood is a cheaper than running the heat all winter.
January 17, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJaynee
G'parent support has been spotty at best...what's that step-daddy dearest? We have nothing in common since I had kids? You trust a relationship will *come naturally, one day* with your grandkids? Oh? And now, 8 months after the birth of our 2nd you're, what? Oh embarrassed? For having yet to meet her?Deal, loser.So I guess I don't know that joy. But we have new siding and insulation on our 111 year old home in the Adirondaks plus storm doors. I keep fighting the urge to stand naked in front of the glass doors and gloating about the newfound heat retention. Unfortunately I am too busy trying to get the 2 1/2 year old to please-for-the-love-of-god eat something.

Cheers.
January 17, 2007 | Unregistered Commenteramanda
Belinda was such a cute little chubby gal and then she went and got all stylish for Heaven is a Place on Earth. It was somewhat similar to what happened with Janet Jackson in that video that was in black and white (can't remember the name) and then everyone was all "Whoa, Janet's a babe" but then she gained 400 pounds again. And meanwhile in the non-MTV world, I had to move up to frickin' size 14 pants, and never, ever seem to lose weight or get stylish. What's up with that?
January 17, 2007 | Unregistered Commentermichele
Thank you for that You Tube link! 80's hair! Oh, the mousse, the gel!
January 17, 2007 | Unregistered Commentervictoria
My parents-in-law have been taking my racket since I was pregnant with my 2nd and had the flu so bad I was hospitalized. They started taking him about 3 times a month for the weekend. When #2 was about 1 and weaned, they took him too. Also. As well. At the same time as #1. Yes, both children off my hands. My mom started trying to get in on the fun, too. Then, When #3 was born, even my grandchild-less aunt wanted some action. She took them for a couple of days, I think twice. I know I'm more fortunate than most. I definitely advocate hinting around, if your parents or in-laws haven't had some hard-core grandkid time. They will love it while your kids are there, and be reminded of what good lives they have, now that they don't have kids around all the time.
January 18, 2007 | Unregistered Commentersarah
OK, it's in my head, but not really, because I don't know that one so much. Instead I have "head over heels" going through my head to the tune of "Our Lips are Sealed" except I don't know all the words so It's just "head over heels...head over heels...head over heels..." like a scratchy record, which, yes, I am old enough to remember listening to scratchy records and even playing the 78s on 45 speed and vice versa.
January 19, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterdajamama

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