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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

Some Books
I'm In...

Sleep Is
For The Weak

Chicago Review Press

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Let's Panic

The site that inspired the book!

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. → 


I leave the tough decisions up to the Internet.

I can’t stop thinking about real estate, Internet. Specifically: should we stay in Brooklyn, or should we beat a shameful retreat to the suburbs? I need you to tell me.

We bought our two-bedroom apartment a few years back for a quarter and some old gum wrappers, and it is now worth billions. While this is lovely, it also means that if we hope to buy a larger space in our neighborhood—well, we can’t; it’s not even worth talking about. Our space is not quite large enough for us, and will definitely Not Work if we have another child (NO I’M NOT PREGNANT). With the crazy inflation of real estate prices in NYC, we will only be able to afford a lean-to on the banks of the Gowanus, and Henry and his imaginary sibling will develop extra limbs from all the fumes coming off of the fetid waters. So that’s probably not the best option.

So it comes down to this: either we stay in our place, which in addition to being on the small side is dark and loud (we’re on the first floor on a main avenue—in the summer people walk up to our window and ask for money. We’re like an ATM! An ATM for crazies!), or we move to an As Yet Unnamed Suburb. We’ve found a couple of areas that seem to suit our needs: we could probably afford a smallish house in one of these towns, which are close to the city and artsy/liberal. However (need I add this?) they’re Not Brooklyn. We would not have the library, the museum, the park, and the Botanic Garden all within a few blocks of our home. We would have to own a car (gasp!). On the other hand, we would have a backyard. And a decent school district. And amenities within walking distance. On the other hand I will be dead inside (probably). My youth gone, I will spend the days watching soaps and drinking Chardonnay; when Husband arrives from the city I will greet him at the door with pies made of Play-Doh and cigarette butts. Isn’t this what you suburban types do? Yes?

In a nutshell, I am driving myself bonkers. One moment I think I can never leave Brooklyn how could I even think such a thing and then in the next moment I’m dreamily picturing mornings with Henry and Scott in a sunny breakfast nook instead of our dank living room/dining room/kitchen that is periodically infested with vermin. I would give up a lot to never have to worry again about stepping on a waterbug on my way to the bathroom. And don’t try to tell me about the cicadas or grasshoppers or whatnot you have in the suburbs--they are not the same thing.

Basically what it comes down to is there are many pros to moving, and one big con: we wouldn’t live here anymore. We feel superior to you non-Brooklyn people. Now you know.

Opinions. Yours. Let me have them.

EDITED TO ADD: Before I get more defensive comments: do I really have to say that I'm being facetious when I say I feel superior? Do I have to say that? I guess I have to say that. Sigh.


In which I don't bother coming up with a conclusion.

Today Henry woke up to find that his nose had turned into a cascading waterfall of goo. Besides the runniness and the sneeziness he seems relatively okay, but he has also been squeamish lately about strange substances on his skin, so every time he sneezes and mucus shoots out of his nose, he screams “Get it off me! GET IT OFF!” and I have to run and wipe him before he enters The Freakout Territory From Which It Is Difficult To Exit Gracefully. You’d think such a fussy child would learn to wipe his own nose, but when the tissue is used and it becomes infused with the goo, then his hands must be wiped. It's an exhausting process. A few times he just lunged forward and wiped his nose on my jeans, and I let him.

Right before his nap I thought he felt a little warm, so I whipped out the thermometer. Now, in the past Henry has found the under-arm option of temperature-taking unacceptable; strangely, he always handled the rectal option with aplomb, so that’s where we went. So today I didn’t even think about it: I lubed up the thermometer and put him over my lap. Henry was intensely curious about the goings-on; when I got out the thermometer he was all “What is THAT” and then “Oooh, temperature,” and “Because I don’t feel well” and “This will make my rash better” (lately everything is about the rash). Then I took off his diaper, which is always a thrill for him, and when I told him to lie down across my lap he was clearly anticipating Fun Times. And then there was insertion.

What I failed to take into account is, because this has been a ridiculously healthy year for all of us, I haven’t taken Henry’s temperature in a long, long time. And what an 18-month-old will tolerate is not necessarily what a two-something enjoys. So I stuck this thermometer in and Henry says, “Hey. HEY. WAIT. HEY. What’s THAT. NO. HEY,” like an adult chastising a little kid who put something where it’s not supposed to go. It was so adult that I started laughing and I took the thermometer out of my indignant son’s butt and he stood up and looked at me, still saying, “HEY” except now because I was laughing he concluded that whatever had just happened, it was hilarious. And then we had lunch. The End.


If it's not one thing, it's your mother.

Diagnose me, Internet: for the past three days I have had a blinding headache, my entire body aches, I am mildly queasy, and if I walk more than a few blocks I feel as if I should just lie down in the gutter forever. My guesses are hanta virus, or imminent death. Any other ideas?

Speaking of hypochondria, my husband spent last weekend obsessing over a mole that had suddenly sprouted on his wrist. The mole was all the things they say moles should never be: irregularly shaped, dark, raised, shiny, bumpy, mole-y. We enjoyed 48 hours of Scott peering at his wrist and whispering “Oh god oh god oh god.” Of looking at pictures of moles online and predicting the grim outcome of the biopsy and why didn’t he have life insurance and etc. So this week he went to the dermatologist, who diagnosed him with…

… a scab.

Yes. A scab. The mole that had suddenly appeared was a CUT that suddenly SCABBED. And oh, how I laughed. I laughed and laughed. There may have been some pointing. I’m not a nice person. I am now calling him Scabbers.

(My husband agreed to let me share this story on one condition: that I mention how, by the end of the weekend, he told me he thought the Cancerous Mole was getting smaller, and I told him that he was insane, that he was seeing things because he was so afraid of going to the doctor. So. But still. A scab! Laugh! Laugh and point!)

Speaking of words that begin with “scab,” my son’s itchiness has also been diagnosed. The kid has scabies. It took three doctors to figure this out. As I had joked, he was in fact being eaten alive by microscopic vermin. For MONTHS. One application of scabicidal ointment later, my son’s skin is smooth and clear. I shared this news with my mother, who shouted, “He has SCABBIES? I don’t understand! How did he get SCABBIES?” and I'd like to say that I told her he caught them from his father, but I wasn't clever enough, probably because of the parasite that’s eating my brain.


Pretty Rambo: love him at your own risk.

My husband now believes that if I ever leave him, he will have a bevy of Pretty Rambo groupies lining up to audition as my replacement. So listen up, ladies: he may be funny and clever and bearded, but he has his dark side. To wit:

He’s a talented impersonator, but he will never impersonate on command. This is maddening. Try telling him to do his Christopher Walken when you’re out with friends. He will not.

He knows more about B- and C-list actors from the '60s to the '80s than you could imagine. He can tell you the entire professional biography of Blue-Uniformed Guy #4 in Episode 38 of Star Trek, and then he will. Sometimes you’ll be trying to sleep while he’s telling you. Imagine it.

Hope that he never gets pink eye in your lifetime. According to Scott, pink eye is the dreaded scourge of this and any century, the Worst Affliction Ever. Once, while we were watching television, Scott turned to me and said, “My eye itches.” Then he paused to rub his eye. “Wow, my eye really itches,” he said. Then I watched him as he continued: “My eye really itches. Now that I think of it, both eyes itch. [Pause for frantic blinking.] MY EYES REALLY ITCH. Shit! Shit! I have pink eye! Shit! I can’t believe this! [More rubbing and blinking and shouting] I have pink eye! This is terrible! Don’t laugh! My eyes really itch! [Pause]… wait, wait. I think it’s okay. [blinking] Maybe they’re just itchy. They’re… yeah, they’re okay. Whew. I really thought I had pink eye. [looks at me] What’s so funny?”

You have been warned.