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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. → 


The following post should be blamed on bone-crushing, soul-destroying fatigue.

Dear men,

It’s been a long while since I’ve been catcalled, wolf-whistled, leered at, been given the ol’ creepy-murmur-in-the-ear, or subjected to the unwanted viewing of what should be very, very private behavior.

What gives?

I know it’s winter, and it’s not easy to lurk outdoors, waiting for a worthy female to pass your way. It’s hard to unbutton and unzip the many not-quite-clean layers, should someone happening by warrant exposure of your privates. But what about the comment shared from a passing van? The obscene gesturing in the vegetable aisle of the supermarket? The suggestive use of a coffee stirrer in the coffee shop? These are all viable cold-weather options. Get creative!

Is it the kid? It’s the kid, isn’t it. Look, he doesn’t know what’s going on. He’s way more interested in making tthhhhttthhthbt noises at the planes overhead than what that unusual-smelling man is saying to Mommy. Besides, I saw some of you making eyes at the young nanny lifting her ward from his stroller outside Joe’s Pizza. While it’s true that her booty did, in fact, say pow, I don’t see why mine can’t be afforded the same courtesy. I had a heavy coat on—lined with Thinsulate. You are not aware, no doubt, of how Thinsulate can muffle the booty as it pows and bams and does what the very, very hot booties do. So, you see. Until the weather improves, you’re going to have to take it on faith that I do, in fact, shake that ass.

I may be a teensy bit unwashed and, no, I’m not wearing any makeup; yes, those are cottage cheese curds nestled in my hair, and yep, that’s “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” I’m singing to my shrieking child. Not very sexy, I know. So simply avert your eyes and make with the politically incorrect comments, already. You provide the commentary, I'll give you the finger, and balance will be restored. I thank you.


Dogs are such assholes.

My sister Liz and I were talking about dogs and what total jerk-offs they are.

Her family’s dog Sophie died last week. Liz is still pretty pissed off about the whole thing. “I am never getting a dog again,” she told me. “Actually, I’m going to get a dog when I’m 85, so that I can die before it does.”

“So, for revenge,” I said.

“Yeah,” she said, “make that stupid dog cry, for a change.”

That’s the thing about dogs. You feed them, you pet them, you let them sleep in your bed with their paws poking you in the butt, you anoint them with carcinogenic (to you) flea and tick products, and because they’re animals with irritatingly short lifespans, when they fall ill you make sure they have a nice, peaceful death—I mean, they’re not overly troubled by dying. And after it’s all done, you find out what all your years of trouble have brought you: your heart has been torn from its cavity and gnawed up like an old chew-toy. Who needs it?

Apparently we do. And it’s all the dogs’ fault. They’re doing this to us on purpose, I’m sure of it.

Despite her (probably) sinister intentions, Sophie was, unfortunately, cute. She was a purebred (translation: inbred, eensy-brained) Springer Spaniel. A bit on the hefty side. But she had the glamorous Springer waves, so that her ears always looked like they had been Marceled. If she had been a person, she would have been an unmarried secretary from the 1930s, living in a women’s residence on the Upper East Side, starting on a promising new reducing regimen, hoping to catch the eye of her boss at the firm. She also would have had a predilection for eating poop.

Sophie was a droopy-eyed, quivering love addict. All you had to do was glance at her, and she would pad over to you, throw her body across your feet, and wait for a morsel of attention to come her way. Our dog Charlie was pretty hot for her (as much as a neutered dog can be hot for a spayed dog), but she made it clear that she wasn’t that kind of girl—dogs meant nothing to her; she was squarely in league with the humans. Once, in Liz’s kitchen, Charlie snuck up to Sophie, jumped up, latched on, and began frantically humping her. She quickly sat down, causing my dog to slide awkwardly off of her rump, and primly exited the room—leaving poor Charlie targetless, humping the air in frustration.

She panted loudly and constantly, and sometimes she smelled a little…off. But she was a nice doggie. Damn her.


But what can he truly enjoy, if not the haunting notes of the fado?

A few years ago, my parents watched our dog, Charlie, while we were away. When we returned, my mother said, “We took him to work with us. He was so funny. He liked to run from window to window, like a little Italian.”

Like a little Italian?” I said.

“You know," she said, "like a little Italian who wants to see what’s outside."

What I love about this is not only the nonsensical stereotype that my mother (who is Italian, by the way) chose to invent. It’s also the detail--who wants to see what’s outside--added for clarity. I suppose there are other reasons a little Italian might run from window to window. Perhaps to see if Giuseppe has arrived yet, his donkey cart piled high with bushels of fresh manicotti.

Since then, I’ve enjoyed inventing my own baffling non-stereotypes. I’ve been as happy, you might say, as a Portuguese deaf-mute. You know. A Portuguese deaf-mute, who enjoys things.


Remember, dads: Drinks go in the face-hole.

I saw this commercial last night:

A man wakes up in the middle of the night. He hears a noise. It’s coming from his son’s room. He checks on his son. His son is coughing.

The man goes online. He reads a page entitled “Coughing.” Next, we see him give his son a glass of water. His wife looks on in loving approval.

The voiceover says something about Optimum Online having the information you need, blah blah, I can’t remember that part.

So. Let’s take a closer look at what went on in this particular commercial, shall we? Come on!

A father—let’s call him Kevin!—wakes up in the middle of the night. Noise, possibly coming from the boy’s room. Not a good sound. Kevin looks at his wife. She’s not silencing the noise. She seems to be sleeping. He nudges her a little. Nothing. Okay, so he waits for a moment. The noise only gets louder. The wife is sleeping, still not taking care of things. Fine, fine, he’ll get up. No one says Kevin can’t take care of his own. The noise is almost definitely coming from the boy’s room. Logic dictates that he should enter the boy’s room, see what’s up. He pokes his head in. Yep, here it is. He looks at the boy, whose shoulders appear to lurch forward with each unpleasant noise.

He has no idea what could be going on.

Shaking his head, he leaves the boy’s room, and heads downstairs. There are a whole bunch of books on child care, but that’s the wife’s job, he doesn’t even know where they are. Anyway he never could figure out the, what do you call it, "Table of Contents." But he does like the computer, with its pretty pictures. Luckily, this man has Optimum Online, so he goes on the “World Wide Web,” which he heard can provide information and so forth. So, okay, computer it is. He types in “hacking noise.” Here we go. “Coughing.”

Huh! Who knew? Says it comes from the lungs! Which are in the body!

There’s a whole lot of stuff here, too much to read. Something about bronchi-whatsis and pulmo-whoozit. He’s getting awfully sleepy. Oh, wait, here’s the section for Dads. Whew! “Dads: If your child is making a noise we call “coughing,” call your wife. If you want to do a little something yourself, you can give your child a glass of water!”

Well, there you go! He heads straight to the kitchen, gets a glass, breaks it. Crap. She’ll clean it up tomorrow. Gets another one, plastic this time. Drops it. Doesn’t break. He smiles. Nothing he can’t figure out. Fills it with water, heads to the kid’s room. “Here, son,” Kevin says. “I made you a glass of water.” Son drinks a little, says, “Thanks, Dad.” Wait, there’s the wife, behind him! Took her long enough. “I made him a glass of water,” he says to her. “You sure did,” she says, beaming. “You sure did.”

Now that I think about it, this is a reasonable scenario. Carry on.