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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

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Sleep Is
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Chicago Review Press

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Let's Panic

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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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Tuesday
Jan162007

The voice of reason is one I left so far behind.*

I'm sorry, but there’s nothing in my head today. No ideas, no original thoughts, just a dim buzzing and, inexplicably, “Head Over Heels” by the Go-Gos. (I hope I didn’t just put that song in your head. I hope you’re too young or old or too not-a-thirteen-year-old-girl-in-1982 to know it. If so, here it is! NOW the song’s in your head.) (I'm sorry.) (Belinda, your shirt’s falling off! Better fix that!)

*Come on! Guess where that came from!

Although I am but an empty vessel, I will soldier on. This weekend Henry went to the in-laws. If you have parents nearby who are willing to take your child away from you for days or even hours, I highly recommend it. You might think you can’t bear the separation from your beloved child for even a minute, but I’ll tell you, after the first 30 or so times you’re left weeping at Grand Central as your baby toddles away, his chubby little hand in Grandma’s, you start to feel pretty casual about it. And once your baby is four and let’s face it, not getting any younger, you might find yourself peeling out of the grandparents’ driveway, shouting, “So long, suckers!” as you take off for a weekend of sweet, sweet freedom. All weekend I found myself wondering aloud that I wasn’t pining for my baby. Of course, I also spent much of that time sharing adorable anecdotes about him to anyone who would listen. Hey, dry cleaner, want to hear about how my sweater got yogurt all over it? There’s a cute story in it! You sit down and you LISTEN.

Now he’s back, at school, while I’m in my house, swaddled in multiple sweaters. Here’s a funny story: once there was an adorable, if old, house in the suburbs. When it got cold, the wind whistled through the window frames and the door frames and the walls and probably also through the furniture. Sometimes it seemed as if it were colder inside the house than out! Fortunately, the winter was warm and sultry, thanks to pre-apocalyptic freaky weather changes, so it was only cold inside, instead of toe-losingly frigid. Then the gas bill came! And wow! The owners of the house sure didn’t know heating could cost that much! And once again, they questioned their decision to move to this god-forsaken land, this JERSEY.

Speaking of which, at some point I do intend to write about our adjustment to the new place. Because I know you’ve been aching for more information on our suburban ennui or lack thereof. Or is that sensation from all the granola you just ate?

Reader Comments (40)

Being neither too young nor too old, I am now reliving 6th grade, singing along with you and the girls. Could be worse. It could have been "Mickey". Come on, sing along. I know you can. (Hey Toni! Love the cheerleading giddup. Nah, you're not too old to pull it off.)



January 16, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLisa Milton
More Jersey adaptiveness - suburban ennui avoidance ruminations are highly desirable. How is the Mega-grocery store relationship? Still enjoying the daily d-r-i-v-e-s? Joined the malling crowd? Inquiring minds want to know.
January 16, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMatt
Yes, yes. Utilizing the grandparents for babysitting is the best. Our parents have always been good about taking our kids for sleepovers/weekends, even weeks at a time!

And once your baby is 13 or so, you pull 20 bucks out of your wallet and pay her to watch her younger siblings so you and your significant other can scream out of your own driveway, off to paradise...otherwise known as dinner and a movie. Ah, bliss.
January 16, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterVicky
"you might find yourself peeling out of the grandparents’ driveway, shouting, “So long, suckers!”"

OH YEAH, BABY. Been there, shouted that. In their faces.
January 16, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterKaren Rani
this is all good. because i am FLIPPING out over going away from my kids next month. i see now that i need to lean into the fear, load Beauty and the Beat onto my iPod Shuffle, and...well, not ever move to Jersey.

that's what i love about you, alice...every post has a moral.
January 16, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterkyran
...just like every rose has its thornjust as every night has its dawnjust like every cowboy sings a sad,sad song



...does that help with the GoGos?

January 16, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterkyran
Invest in fleece. And more fleece. And insulate everything, everywhere. We moved to the suburbs a couple of years ago and the gas bill is a RUDE shock every winter.

I wholeheartedly agree about the grandparents. And next month? I am going to California ALONE. For a whole weekend.
January 16, 2007 | Unregistered Commentermaggie
What about Flock of Seagulls? Men At Work? Soft Cell? Ahh, those were the days.

Oh, and you believe yourself to be in the middle of nowhere in JERSEY? I laugh at that. Ha.Ha.Ha. While I cry at that. I grew up in The-City-That-Must-Not-Be-Mentioned, and now I live 3.5 hours away from the nearest city. Guess what the city is? Cmon, guess! Please? OK, I'll tell you, since you asked so politely. It's PITTSBURGH, that's what it is. (Sorry, Pittsburghers. Pittsburghians? Hmm... You do have a *very* wonderful science museum.)
January 16, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterslouching mom
When we made the move to Jersey we too were appalled at the heating cost. New windows cut that bill in half! And they should pay for themselves by the time the youngest goes to college and we high tail it back to the city!!

Damned if you do, cold if you don't.



January 16, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterclickmom
Yes, yes.*nodding in agreement*We too lived in a House With Gaping Holes Around All Windows And Doors. Fun times. And the best part? Dust on everything! All the time!
January 16, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterKatieG
In college, we actually had a little snowdrift by our front door, where the snow blew through the gaping crack along the side.

Now I live in one of those old, old homes that actually IS colder inside than outside in the spring -- when the nights are still chilly, but the days are warm. It's unnerving. And in the winter, well, we might as well direct deposit our paycheck right into the gas man's personal bank account. Two words: budget plan.

My parents live two miles away, so whenever I send my children over, they always are back by bedtime. Not enough time for pining.
January 16, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterBethany
It definitely takes a village, and I can personally attest to the fact that if my parents had not helped us with raising our kids, I probably would be in an insane asylum as we speak. It was a sanity saver, and the kids always loved it. Now they are teenagers, and they still like to sleep over at their grandparents -- gotta love it!
January 16, 2007 | Unregistered Commenteramy
My inlaws must have heard that I was a hellion as a child - they'll babysit one kid, but as soon as we have two, they won't look after both of them at once. This makes me pout just a little bit :)
January 16, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterKait
Up here in Saskatchewan, we know all about cold (and heating bills!).

If you can't afford new windows, here's a trick that works: buy some clear plastic sheeting and put it up over the windows (on the inside or the outside--either works).

It's amazing how much warmer (and richer) you'll be.
January 16, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAmy
Yeah, we have approximately 30,000 windows, so I don't think we'll be replacing them, well, ever. Plastic sheeting it is!
January 16, 2007 | Unregistered Commenteralice
"So long, suckers!"

That was beautiful. The image of you peeling out of your parent's driveway is just...awesome!



January 16, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterstarshine
Being a mid-30s chick, I remember Head Over Heels all too well, the Go-Gos being the epitome of cool then. Thanks for the reminder!
January 16, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterSonia
You think your gas bill is bad, how about paying for air conditioning 364 days out of the year? Oh, and that one day that it cooled off enough for you to open the windows, you opened them only to find giant mutant spiders living between the glass and the screen. Then, of course, you panicked because the only thing you like less than spiders is giant mutant spiders and you slammed the window shut, but in your haste you didn't see where the spider went and now you're absolutely certain it's in the house somewhere just waiting for you to fall asleep so it can lay eggs in your face. Must not sleep. Must not sleep.
January 16, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMonkee
I was crazy about "Head Over Heels" by The GoGos when I was about 8 years old. So much so that I demanded my mom take me to get that Belinda haircut, with a rat tail. Then, I danced all around my room, just like Belinda, with my new wave do. I still dance that way, which is why my single friends refuse to take me out dancing with them.
January 16, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie
Another old house owner where you can feel a breeze when you go anywhere near a window. A breeze strong enough to blow your hair.

And that song is now stuck in my head. ARGH!
January 16, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterchris
Hey, Alice, read this:

http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/oldhouse/msg1011484312015.html

We're about to buy a 1916 2-story, and I'm planning on using that forum HEAVILY to combat the scary gas bills.

There's some tax benefits to adding insulation adn other energy-efficient updates in 2007, too.



January 16, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterKim
I recently left Jack with my mom for a weekend and drove to Kansas City to visit a friend. It was bliss. I also made my mom put Jack on the phone.Then when Caleb left last time after being here a month, his empty bed kept making me sad.

January 16, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJack's Raging Mommy
Mutant spiders! I feel better already!



January 16, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAlice
The song isn't stuck in my head but I decided to make granola this week thanks to your post. Haven't done it in months and it sounded so good . . .
January 16, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle
* Vacation! All I ever wanted...

And I was only three in 1982!
January 16, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterdink(y)

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