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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
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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. → 

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Happiest of Henry's birthday to you and yours


Perhaps you do not know that this is the holiest of holy days, that being The Day When He Who Couldn't Wait to Turn 11 Finally Turns 11. We eat the macaroni and cheese and we consume the frostingest of cakes to celebrate His glorious birth and subsequent descent (ascent?) into Minecraft/Magic The Gathering obsession.

I don't know how you celebrate Henry's birthday, but we turned it into a weekend-long affair. On Saturday we took our beloved and his pals to a terrible adventure park. This is a place where no one over the age of 15 should ever step foot, where all the animatronic everythings harangue you about having fun and all the speakers blast any music they could get the rights to. Scott and I spent the day trying to find a quiet corner in which to chat, and failing miserably. Naturally it's our kid's favorite place, so what the hell. As long as it didn't involve a sleepover, we were game.

Last year's sleepover did not go so well, mostly because boys in the 10-12 age range appear to be nuts. I'm sure girls are, too, but they don't come to our sleepovers, so I can't speak for them. I can only tell you about boys, and for that matter, I can only tell you about Henry's friends, all of whom are bright and complicated and impulsive and charming and maddening and smelly and loud. Load 'em up with sugar and deny them sleep, and watch their Inner Psychopaths come out to play. So after last year we said: never again. Maybe when we get the house with a separate wing and a team of caregivers to monitor the children. Some kind of automated shower system to disinfect them before they entire the home and remove their shoes. Maybe then. MAYBE.

So Henry had his adventure-park day and last night my family all came over and loaded him up with more Magic The Gathering cards than you would believe existed, and he hyperventilated with joy. Today being his official birthday, there are even more gifts coming, but the pressure's off, since he already deemed this THE BEST BIRTHDAY EVER. Hope he's happy with all the socks I bought him!

You would think I'd be used to this whole Growing Up thing since Henry does it every year--does it all the time, in fact; he's doing it right now--but every now and then I get a little woozy when I think about how goddamn big he is. The other day I remembered the song his cousin Paul wrote for him, eight years ago; the one where Henry sings and he is three and the cutest thing on two legs. Then I listened to it LIKE A FOOL and I cried my eyes right out of my head. I had to practice my deep breathing and remind myself that three-year-olds are annoying and eleven is better. Eventually I calmed down and cleaned myself up and I told Henry about the song. We listened to it together, and it was great. And I realized that I don't have to miss him: he's still around. Only better, because now he can shower without my help, get his own breakfast, and tell me jokes that are actually funny. He's a good one. This is a day worth celebrating, at least at our house. 

[Hey! I've been a guest blogger at The Prowl for the past month. Want to see my boards? There you go.]

Reader Comments (17)

Happy happy birthday, Henry!

October 7, 2013 | Unregistered Commenteralison c

I am convinced that boys that age loose their brains when they get together. I loathe sleepovers, whether its for a birthday or not. Glad you were able to say no, and they still had just as much fun! Happy Birthday Henry!

October 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFabs

Congratulations to you on the day of Henry's birth. Everyone celebrates the birthee but in reality, we should be celebrating you, the birther! You did all the work. He just had to hang on for the ride.

I love me a three year old. Especially one who makes up songs.

Happy birthday Henry!

October 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMissusB

Happy birthday, Henry~! Did you know you are the same age as my son, Auggie. He has lost his mind over rainbow loom and has a store for his bracelets. He sells them for one dollar but I get a 50 percent discount because I am his mother. What a deal, huh? Did you get a favorite gift for your birthday? Tell your mother hi for me, and that I really like her. xo

October 8, 2013 | Unregistered Commenteralexandra

Happy birthday to Henry!

We moved out of Magic the Gathering stage by 12 so as to better devote all energy to Minecraft.

Almost makes me miss Pokemon.

October 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMarinka

I just realized I was quietly singing, "underwater Batman, he's fun to play with too.." to myself as I worked. Happy birthday, Henry!

October 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKathleen

Happy birthday and congratulations on getting out of the sleepover!

October 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKizz

What a lovely birthday post! My oldest is 11, and I agree that as much as I miss the cuteness of the younger ages, it's wonderful to be able to relate to your kid on a more interesting level and watch them do things on his or her own. Happy birthday, Henry!

October 8, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkorinthia

I had been thinking maybe a sleepover? For when my son turns 11 in January. But I think that you have talked me right out of *that*. ugh. Winter birthdays are hard.

Happy Happy 11 to you Henry!

October 8, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterholly c

Where does the stench come from?
It's confusing, like Chicken Noodle Soup
I miss my kids "babyness" too. He's 10 but I'm convinced the Minecraft will lead to a lucrative Architect career.

You're capturing the essence of it, and showcasing
such great writing. It's so refreshing.

October 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

So you're saying that when my son gets old enough to have sleepover birthday parties, I should be prepared to have my home smelling like 20 of my son's hockey bags?
I to get weepy with every birthday. It's also a blessing that they are thriving.
Now where's that damn cake. I wanna make out with the frostiest of frosting.
Happy Birthday!!

October 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKimberly

My own Henry is celebrating his SECOND birthday in about a month. This post makes me realize that maybe it's okay that he's growing up.

October 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRhi

Oh 11. 10 was just the entrance to double digits. 11 is really really old. Pretty much a grown up old. Sadly not old enough to head to the misery park alone though. Thanks for this tribute.

October 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnna Palmer

Belated happy birthday wishes to Henry! I was so delighted to read this post, which evokes boyness in years to come. (For me, it'll be times 2; my sons are 5 and 7.) And your version of family life always makes it seem better, somehow, and more manageable, as opposed to batshit crazy, as things often are in my household.

October 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterReid

Happy belated birthday to Henry! Your socks are in the mail, kid!

October 16, 2013 | Unregistered Commentergreen

Sweet post, Alice (for lack of a less rigid, technical, and hideously of-the-moment term). I grok your acute melancholy over the passage of time as evidenced by Henry's continuing to move blissfully along that curve that seems to otherwise define and obsess us and which, despite what they keep hollering, is not like a river at all. Rivers are unstoppable, yes, but also pleasantly languid for the most part. My Stella is turning twelve in December and already carries herself like a wildly laughing (barking mad) leggy teen, reducing me further to hunched, graying warthog status. I call this one Circle of Life with Warthog. Let's corner a married-with-no-kids celebrant and make them listen to our droning. Yeah!

October 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJeff Wing

Happy belated birthday to Henry! We celebrated Henry's special day a bit late this year. Also, we referred to it as Mister Man's birthday, since our son's 11th b-day is a few weeks after yours.

When I asked him a few months prior to the big day what he'd like for gifts, he replied, "It isn't time for me to reveal what I want yet." I felt like I was watching an episode of "Conversations with my 3 year old." Except he was nearly 11.

Glad to hear the day was filled with fun and your home was devoid of malodorous mobs!

November 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterWombat Central

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