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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. → 


Spice racks can make us happy--and tell us a little something about ourselves.

I bought a spice rack today. I’ve wanted a spice rack for weeks, and finally I said to myself, I said, Alice, old girl (I talk to myself like that), you deserve a spice rack.

I spent an hour tonight filling and labeling the spice rack’s glass bottles. And now I keep walking past it so that I can admire its shiny newness.

A couple of times I've pretended* to just be casually walking by, when—whoopsy—something shiny catches my attention. Well, will you look at that! It’s a spice rack!

I realize this is sad. It’s good at least that I realize it, right?


* For whose benefit, you may well ask? My husband is watching television. My son is asleep. My dog—if I said what he's doing to himself, the google hits I get would become even more lurid. So this charade I'm playing must be all for the imaginary viewing audience.

And…cue laugh track. Roll credits. Thank you.


If there's a better word than "rictus," I don't know it.

A couple of days ago Henry and I were making our way into our apartment building when we ran into one of our upstairs neighbors. We don’t know this woman very well. She doesn’t really speak English. We see her maybe once every few months when we’re entering or exiting our apartment. She and her family are always very sweet to us, exclaiming over the baby, etc.

So on this day, she opened the door for me as I tore several muscles trying to lug Henry’s stroller up the stairs, and she shouted, “I have present!” and skipped up the stairs to her apartment. Dear god, I thought. She’s given us some things for Henry before, and none of it was anything we could use. Of course it’s nice that she’s giving Henry gifts, but we have a square-footage-challenged apartment, and the last thing we need is more clutter. We’re perfectly capable of collecting our own junk, thank you—we don’t need someone else’s.

And then she came down the stairs. And she was holding--oh, people. How I wish you could have seen. She was holding an enormous plastic swan.

Not only was it enormous. And plastic. But it was black with filth. This was one dirty, dirty swan.

“Happy Easter!” she shouted (she kind of shouts everything, actually) and plonked this thing down in front of me. And, oh god. It had stuff inside it.

Highlights of the enclosed items: a wrinkled, dirty kite featuring some kind of green sea monster. A moldering pre-teen girl’s bathing suit. An unidentifiable animal made of glued-together pom-poms, wearing a chef’s hat, with a tag on it that reads “Buono Appetito!” A small, chipped, plastic seal dressed as a clown, a ball balanced on its nose. A red tambourine with a decal on it featuring some ‘70s-fashioned rocking teens (floating above their heads are the words “Super Action Sound Band!” I love this, actually. Whatever grisly fate awaits the rest of these items, the tambourine's staying). And, finally, blue fuzzy slippers (covered in brown stains) with misshapen Cookie-Monster heads attached to the toes. It’s clearly not the authentic Cookie Monster (I call him “Biscuit Beast.” He lives on “Tahini Avenue.”). His mouths are agape in a rictus of agony.

All of these items, I should mention, reek of...something. Mothballs, maybe, or death. It's not clear to me.

She presented us with the trash-filled grimy swan and then got down on one knee and shrieked at Henry, “Give me hug!” He ran away, screaming. Well, wouldn’t you? This is unusual behavior for Henry, who usually bats his eyelashes at even the kookiest, most garbage-festooned street people, but even he was not able to overlook her particular brand of crazy. “He’s a little tired,” I said, and she said, “I give candy!” and before I even knew it she had grabbed his hand and put something in it. Luckily he was too terrified to hold onto the mystery item, and it fell to the ground. It was a plastic-wrapped hard candy, the size of a large grape—a watermelon-flavored hard candy with gum inside it, to be exact. Is she trying to kill my kid? How did her son live past 3? And how do you throw away a giant plastic swan without your (possibly insane, probably homicidal) upstairs neighbor noticing?


It's quiz time!

Guess which items I let my son play with this morning

a) an unplugged hair dryer

b) a plugged-in clock/radio

c) Charlie the dog’s gums

d) the contents of the upended bathroom wastebasket (tissue paper, floss)

e) container that once contained yogurt, and, all right, still does, in that Henry didn’t want to finish it, but is now feeding it to the dog, and kind of licking it himself, or at least pretending to

f) a steaming bucket of urine.

If you guessed everything but “f,” you’re correct, and as reward, you may judge me… now. No, wait. Okay, now.

Guess what I was doing while Henry was playing with the above items

a) sort of keeping one eye on him, but really reading a magazine

b) eating a waffle over the sink, real quick-like, before he saw me and decided that he deserved it more than I do

c) repeatedly asking him if it was time for his nap yet

d) Downing the bottle of scotch we keep around for when the grandparents visit (the grandparents enjoy the hooch, I’m sure they don’t mind me telling you) while making prank phone calls to ex-boyfriends.

If you guessed everything but “e,” well, I hope you’re right. Frankly, the morning is a bit of a blur for me.

Ha, ha!




Some insignificant points about Florida.

Florida makes you a little stupid, or at least it makes me a little stupid.

It’s something in the water (which, by the way, is liquid evil—mix a squirt of hand soap, a wee dab of poop, and a smidge of kerosene into a bucket of water, and you’ll get something tastier. We had to live on bottled water and, as Henry calls it, “seltz!” My son, the New Yorker.). Or the cloudless sky enabled the alien’s gamma rays to more efficiently make its way to my brains, quietly burning off all the smarty-pants lobes while plumping up the idiot nodules. I gave up the idea of “reading” or “thinking” by the second day there, and spent the rest of the time reading girly-girl magazines (note to men: this is different from “girlie magazines”) and shopping with my Mom for cute tops. Cute tops. I almost bought a clothing item that looked “fun.” “How fun,” I almost said. Scott caught me referring to someone as a “panic.”

Old people abound.

Everyone there is very, very old. Those who were not very, very old were wheeling around their very, very old relatives.

Whitey rules.

Sanibel is blindingly white—and I don’t mean the sand. There was not a person of any color to be found. Scott was possibly the most ethnic person there, being (probably) the lone Jew of the island—a fact that he did not appreciate me observing, loudly, in the middle of Ye Olde Sanibel Shoppinge Place. I mean, we’re white (and anyone who knows me knows that I, Little Miss SPF 45, am almost as white as they come.) But these people were white white. They all had blond hair and roundish middles and wore pastel tops and pastel pants hiked up above their navels and said “super” with alarming frequency. While waiting for a table in a restaurant, they exclaimed over the Clams Casino on the menu. “Ooh, it has Jack cheese broiled on top. Ooh, super.” That kind of white.

Tampa is not the place to be.

If you spend your last night in Florida in Tampa, so that your harried toddler will not have to endure a 3-hour car trip and a 3-hour plane ride on the same day, do not expect a fun time. The Tampa right outside the airport is not fun. You will eat dinner at Ruby Tuesday. Your dinner, whatever it is, will be served “buffalo-style.” You will drive around, looking for a place that sells diapers, and find many tattoo parlors, topless bars, and “exotic gift” stores. You will be glad you don’t live in Tampa. On second thought, maybe you should visit Tampa.