Home - Top Row


Home - Bottom Row

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. → 

« My mom, folks! | Main | More than you wanted to know about the last 48 hours. »

Sometimes when we talk about one thing, we're actually talking about something else!

I don't want to exaggerate, but my Wonderland column from last Friday is saving lives. Right now, as I write this. Which I think makes me some kind of savior. Scratch "some kind." Why equivocate?

Anyway, if it's not saving your life, it's because you're not reading it, and let me tell you, you should. If only because it hurt my head to write. I had to read, and then I had to think about what I had read, and then I had to string words together in orders that were both pleasing and meaningful. My life could not be more difficult.

Speaking of difficult, this morning did not go well. There was muttering and things being slammed and meaningful sighing, and then Henry freaked out about his new coat. Of course. It's not like he's immune to his surroundings. So, the coat. Its newness was unbearable. How could we even suggest that he couldn't wear his old coat, even though its sleeves end at his elbows? Even though we used our charms to get the coat on him and convince him that he would live, he was still ornery all the way to school. During the Coat Battle he had pitched his voice waaa-haaaay up high, above even where dogs can hear, to a pitch that I think would kill bats—just cause them to seize up in mid-flight and plummet to the earth. Then apparently he couldn't get it back down to a normal pitch, or maybe he just hates bats. As we walked to school everything he said sounded like air being let out of a balloon, so to cheer him up I suggested that we play secret agents on the way to school. This involves running from tree to tree, shooting lasers at squirrels and hiding from oncoming cars. I should have known that is the WORST GAME EVER, even though we play it every day on the way to school even when it's the last thing I want to do. HOW COULD I EVEN SUGGEST IT. He actually demanded to know why I would suggest such a thing. And then when I began to explain that I SUGGESTED IT TO TORMENT HIM, he squeaked, "You're interrupting me!" and before I could respond to that he added, "Why won't you answer me! "

Then I started in, I don't even know what I said or why I said it. Some nonsense about how his behavior was not acceptable and I don't need to be screamed at for trying to suggest something fun even though it's not fun for me, I would rather be at home reading a book (and then I was just talking to myself, because none of this was for his benefit, and anyway he was busy squealing EEEEE, EEEEE, INTERRUPTING, EEEE, not hearing a word that I said, which is probably for the best) and why did I bother trying to make everyone around me happy and maybe they should be the ones who try to make me happy for once and I'm so tired of everyone yelling and the constant ceaseless rage and oh my god Alice shut up—

Then Henry said, "You know what letter I like?" in a perfectly normal voice. And I had the good sense, at least, to abort my harangue, and find out.

He likes H, by the way. Which is so clearly the best letter in the alphabet.

I think I need a nap. Or a new and better life. One or the other.

Reader Comments (38)

I think there's a secret class in elementary schools called "How to Infuriate Your Parents." I used to be able to stay calm and patient through endless hours of toddler flailing, but one huffy "You shouldn't SAY that to me! I KNOW that already!" from my almost-nine-year-old (when I pointed out -- gently, I thought -- that it was 8:01 a.m., we needed to leave for school in four minutes, and she was still watching TV in her pajamas) is enough to make me see red!

October 29, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterVanessa
My little brother had a favorite color-number at that age. Red-7. You should pull that on Henry tomorrow. Blow his mind.

October 30, 2007 | Unregistered Commentersarahbeanne
Seasonal transitions that inspire wardrobe changes are hard around here too. My O was trying to sneak a pair of shorts under his jeans so he could change at the bus stop this morning. It's 31 degrees outside!Now, could I borrow your Henry? Because I have some bats roosting in my attic that I could use some help getting rid of.
October 30, 2007 | Unregistered Commentercce
The clothing thing is a "rite of passage" with kindergarteners I think. I can't tell you how many times both my daughter and I ended mornings in tears. It's better this year (1st grade).

On another note entirely, are things okay with you and Scott? Between some of your twitters and today's post title, I'm just wondering.
October 30, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterImanitsud
It's a wonder any of us mothers live to see our kids grow up. We will enjoy them one day, won't we? please.
October 30, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterErika
I am quite fond of Q.
October 30, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterDM
Say, it sounds like Henry is so very five. I have one of those too.
October 30, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterSheryl
Have you seen the Robert Munsch book, Thomas' Snowsuit? That's a popular read around these parts in the winter.
October 30, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMignon
My middle daughter, now 18, would not wear her coat when she was 4. She refused but would stand outside of nursery school, waiting for it to open, screaming that she was cold.
October 31, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterDenise
Funny, we had the same new coat problem with our H son this week. I searched high and low for a coat that was just like the old one, and he hates it anyway. He takes pains to point out its failures every time he wears it - doesn't stay on, sleeves too long, it's bad, etc. Maybe the brand new cold weather is cranking them out.
October 31, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterClaudia
our house is in the low 60s this week (having our furnace replaced) and my 4 year old refused to put on clothes after getting out of his PJs. Sitting at breakfast in only his undies, he polishes off a frozen yogurt squeezie and starts screaming "I'm freezing!" Not, mind you, for lack of clothes- for lack of hot chocolate.
November 1, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterChi-An
It reminds me of that one time a long time ago when I think you were trying to feed him oatmeal and he was crying copiously and he said...wait, I found it. THIS:

"8:30 a.m., Friday. Henry and I are eating oatmeal.

Henry: [sounding eerily like an air horn, if an air horn could speak] No, not this bowl!Me: You want another bowl?Henry: [weeping] No!Me: [sipping my tea calmly while Henry glares at me through his tears of rage]Henry: Don’t drink your tea!Me: But I like my tea.Henry: No--don’t like it!Me: I’m going to go sit over there now. [I move to the couch. Wouldn’t you?]Henry: Don’t sit over there! Stand up!Me: [My resolve falling apart because he’s making his oatmeal soggier with his tears, I stand] Do you want me to sit with you?Henry: Don’t stand up!Me: [beginning to sit]Henry: Don’t sit! Don’t stand!Me: Ookay.Henry: DON’T SAY OKAY!"

this is what made me fall in love with Henry, oh so long ago.
November 1, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterHeath
Okay I'm so glad everyone else's 5-year-old is like this, because I've seriously been wondering where I am failing as a parent. When I try to hold her hand in a store, she screams "OW! YOU'RE HURTING ME!" Awesome.

Not to mention the battles over clothes -- she only wants "soft, huggy" clothes. And corduroy pants infuriate her to the point of tears.

November 3, 2007 | Unregistered Commenteramy

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>