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Let's Panic: The Book!

Order your copy today!

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

Home - Middle Row

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.

Lets-Panic.com → 

Sunday
Feb272005

I should post more, but then I don't post more.

I know, I know. It's just that I’m all over the place these days. I haven’t been able to sit down long enough to figure out what’s on my mind. Should I share more Tales of Henry, such as his obsession with Star Wars (not surprising, as our home is awash in Lucasian detritus)? Tell you that Finslippy.com is now mine all mine, thanks to my kind friend who bought the URL and had it redirect to this address, all without my asking? Or should I mention that I’m going to be interviewed next week on national television? See, I can’t decide. Besides, I have to go purchase some flattering pants.

TRAGIC UPDATE: Henry and I got bumped--bumped!--from ABC/Nightline. Apparently there wasn't enough time in the segment to justify including our antics. In protest, I intend to storm Ted Koeppel's hair.

Sunday
Feb202005

Here's where I get all preachy. You can skim this one.

Here on the Internets, some or other bloggers have been criticized for talking about their troubles when others have it worse. This is an all-too-familiar routine on many blogs—the ol’ My Pain Beats Yours So Shut Up number. It goes a little something like this:

1. You shouldn’t be sad because your child has a scraped knee—my kid had to get stitches.

2. You can’t be upset about your kid’s stitches; my child is sick.

3. My child’s disease is worse, therefore you don’t deserve to bitch.

4. Shut up. My child is sick and I’m sick and also I’m writing this on a computer made out of cardboard because that’s how poor I am.

5. At least you’re alive. I’m writing this from my grave. Stop whining. Stop it. Booooo.

6. God, can you shut up, dead person? At least you’re not suffering. My life is a never ending festival of torment. Also I have hives.

(Please note: I’m not trying to make fun of anyone’s suffering. I cannot fathom how much suffering is out there, and I can’t begin to imagine the pain that other people withstand. Imagining such things would mean weeping and that would make the keyboard soggy, and the circuits and the whatnot would short out and cause some kind of Electric Dreams scenario, and people, I cannot afford to have my computer fall in love with me. )

And now for a story:

A while back, a friend of a friend was injured in a stupid, tragic accident that resulted in the loss of her leg. At the time she was also writing an advice column for teenagers. After I heard about her accident, I would at times wonder if she had ever responded to another complaint about the Tragedy of Bad Hair or The Heartbreak of Loserdom with, “I know how you feel. Because I LOST MY LEG. Which is just like losing your homework and getting a D. Except, you know, it’s a LEG.” Because I like to kill time with pointless activities, one day I went online and read a bunch of her columns. Week after week, she gave patient, compassionate advice to problems that the best of us would deem awfully silly. She never compared anyone’s pain to her own; she never even mentioned her pain. I know part of this was just her being a professional. But also, she clearly knew that pain is relative—just because you could hurt more doesn’t mean you don’t hurt.

That’s the thing about pain: perspective doesn’t necessarily ease it. Say I stub my toe: if you grab me and scream, “What if I had chopped that toe off with a cleaver! THINK OF IT!” I may be distracted by your odd behavior, but the pain in my pinky toe will not miraculously dissolve. When someone writes in their blog of some misfortune that’s befallen her, she is not necessarily writing her definition of the Worst Thing That Could Ever Happen to Anyone. Just because she could hurt more doesn’t mean she doesn’t hurt.

When I spoke to the New York Times, most of what I talked about was how the parenting blogs are, most of all, authentic. That’s all we’re after (I think)—some representation of authentic experience that we’re not getting elsewhere. We sure as hell aren’t getting it from the parenting magazines, which provide canned information about vaccinations and discipline and baking nutritious muffins that look like kitty cats, but will never help you feel less alone, less stupid, less ridiculous. This is the service we try to provide—we share our lopsided, slightly hysterical, often exaggerated but more or less authentic experiences. If one blogger writes about her traumatic doctor’s visit, then maybe at some point, some freaked-out new mother is going to read that and feel a little better—less stupid, less ridiculous—about her own breakdown at the pediatrician’s. Or maybe not. But what service are you providing when you tell her to shut up?

I now return you to your discussion of my son’s itchiness. He’s itchy! It’s the worst thing that could ever happen!

Wednesday
Feb162005

Don’t rub me like a Jedi knight.

The above is a statement uttered by Henry. I was going to provide the anecdote that would put it in context, but the hell with it. You might think you can figure out why he would say such a thing but you won’t be able to figure it out. Henry is an enigma wrapped in a riddle, side-by-side with a conundrum, across the way from a bugaboo.

In other news, my son is covered in rashes. This is not new. For lo these many months he has been bedecked with eczema and bespeckled with hives. As he himself put it, he is "itchy, itchy Ichabod." I haven’t done much about it because—well, I blame the liquor. Whoops! Actually I am sober 89% of the time, and we’ve done everything we can to figure out what the problem is, and everyone’s conclusion is that there’s no real problem. Except he’s all scratchy and hive-y. The hives bloom and then fade of their own twisted accord, with no apparent connection to anything he’s eaten or done or said or thought. One doctor posited that it might be a reaction to our wool rug, so we no longer let him lounge pantsless on said rug. We apply medicinal salves and unguents on a regular basis, and we dose him with Benadryl. Our detergents are everything-free. No longer do we enjoy bubbles in our bath—instead we add soothing but decidedly un-festive baking soda, or as Henry calls it, “baby soda.” After the bath, instead of rubbing him like a Jedi knight, we pat him softly like a Sith lord.

Then he spent the weekend with my in-laws, and returned with smooth, rash-free skin for the first time in, oh, since he was born. My in-laws denied doing anything special for him. So the only reasonable conclusion is that his skin benefited from their lack of squalor. That a weekend in the suburbs meant a blessed reprieve from the dust mites and chiggers that usually gnaw on his infant flesh as he slumbers. In other words, we live in filth. Which I guess means I should vacuum or clean or whatever, but I’m so tired! And self-absorbed! Oh—and drunk.

Sunday
Feb132005

Only two reasons why I married the right person.

1. Because my husband, not usually one to pay any attention to silly holidays, gave me a Valentine’s Day gift of chocolates that were in a box made of chocolate, causing me to eat every single chocolate and then the box--and then, smeared with choco-leavings, whoop and yawp as I tore ass up and down the length of our apartment for the next six hours.

2. Because later in the day he grabbed the pink-and-white ribbon that had festooned the box, wrapped it around his head, cried out, “I’m Pretty Rambo!” and then pretended to machine-gun the living room. “I’m so pretty!”

It was quite funny. Especially if you’ve just eaten 37 chocolates.