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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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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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Use your inside voice, BBC World News

This morning I walked Henry to school and as we walked, he narrated a complicated story about something. I could pretend I know what he was talking about, but in reality I wasn't following a word of it. I lost the thread while I was trying to find his hat, and then I just let it go while he kept on talking. There were things or people exploding, that much I remember. Every time he let out a dramatic BLAM I would murmur, "Oh, my!" Beyond that I said, "Uh huh," "Really!", and "Wow." He was still talking as I handed him off to his teachers. I don't think he noticed or cared that no one was listening, the poor dear. I am sure the saga will still be going strong at pickup time.

Anyway, I got home, and I was getting my breakfast ready and trying to figure out what sort of side dishes I could make for my sister's Thanksgiving dinner, when I realized I had just said "Really!" and "Huh!" There was no one there, and the voice I was humoring? Was coming from NPR.

In my defense, they were really going on and on. I mean, okay, Chinese illegals coming over the Mexican border, we get it. Now go play with Legos, NPR, and let Mommy have a little quiet time.

Reader Comments (29)

I do the very same, but then my 4 yr old loses his train of thought and turns to me with a 'hmm, what was I saying?' ... then the cover's blown!
November 20, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLeigh
Yes, I do it too, lots of unhuhs and hmmms and then suddenly my 5 yr old will turn to me and say, "So mommy, is that why girls have two holes and I only have one?" And then I am SCREWED.
November 20, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJenny
Oh, I caught myself answering trivia questions on NPR this weekend while walking down a main street with my dog and my walkman. Why yes, I did just drop "walkman."
November 20, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJanell
I do the same with my 16 year old when he starts talking about video games. He mostly forgives me when he catches me not listening, however.
November 20, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMindy
I do the same thing with my five year old. Glad to see from the comments and post I'm not the only one.

It gets real tricky when you do that to your husband, and find out you agreed to a new tv or car, though.
November 20, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJamie
November 20, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterSue
Last night I said to my 4 year old "Okay, you have to stop talking for a couple of minutes or Mommies head is going to explode!"She was silent for all of 10 seconds and then started asking questions about exploding heads...
November 20, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAriel
That? Is the funniest thing I've heard a long time.
November 20, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterslouching mom
IN a long time, that is.
November 20, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterslouching mom
This is reminding me of interactions with my 30 year-old boyfriend. Because he works with computers and he tells me all about it and I understand roughly 1% of what he says, so there is a lot of uh-huhing and mentally checking out to make a Target list or daydream about Brian Williams or something equally more useful of that time.
November 20, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterSuperfantastic
Let's be real. We love them, but we just are not present 100% of the time. I mean, who really wants to be present for an account of a World of Warcraft exploit? I have things to do in my head. Like sparing that last braincell exposure to something I know absolutely nothing about and have no interest in. I blame myself. When he was little, I hung on Every. Word. the little genius said. Now he expects it.
November 20, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterwitchypoo
Oh, the talk talk talking talking. It washes over you like a wee, verbose ocean.

I have actually had to turn NPR off in the car because my brain is throbbing from the constant, rambling flow of words from my three year old. In her defense, though, she's got a lot of well-researched points about Chinese illegals.
November 20, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMelanie at Beanpaste
Why did you have to get a tetanus shot?
November 20, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnne Prince
Mine has just started with short sentences, which he wants repeated back, ie:

Choo-choo?Yes, choo-choo.Choo-choo go boom?Yes, the choo-choo went boom.Choo-choo up?Yes, they're lifting the choo-choo up.

If I do it wrong, he'll just repeat the question with increasing urgency and "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Choo-choo boom!" until I get it right.

But the funniest part? I spaced out in the middle of that Very Very Long NPR story too. The part where it costs $100k and requires a trip around the globe to illegally enter the US from China was interesting...the 4th stop on the trip became a little less so.
November 20, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLiza
I totally used to be your son (um, not really).

Start over.

I totally used to be just like your son.

I would go on and on. When mom would start saying "Uh-huh" and "Oh, wow". I'd get all serious and say, "Mommy, you have to talk real words". She was so snagged.

Of course, now I am a big bundle of "uh-huh"s and "REALLY"s to my three boys (and to my dh as well - sorry, dear).

November 20, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterK
I do that to my son (16) and my husband. But in fairness, my husband preaches. And I'm usually the choir already. I claim it's self defense.
November 20, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterRee
I love this!! I have a similar problem but not child related. I've gotten so used to answering the phone at work that now whenever I'm distracted at home I accidentally answer with "Hello,(company name)." Most callers tend to roll with it but it's embarrassed me a few times.
November 20, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterChristinaTE
We call this "Very nice colors, dear" in my house. My mom was doing some "uh, huh and said "very nice colors dear" when I was little, and since it was a drawing with PENCIL, there were no colors! She was busted! That has become our way of saying, "yes, I'm not really listening, but go ahead.."And I wish I could just nod and say uh huh as my chatterbox 5 yr old goes on and on. He seems to notice if I'm not listening.. sigh. it's so hard with all the space aliens and blasters and things getting blown up.
November 20, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterrachel
That is why I prefer to listen to hip hop. Booties are far more interesting.
November 20, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterStrizz
I do it, too, and while it still works on 5, 7 isn't too happy with me when I do it to her. 7 is pretty quick on the uptake and KNOWS when Mom is phoning it in.
November 20, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterVelma
How did the side dish choices go?

Here is a little slice of heaven that keeps me entertained for hours upon hours:
November 20, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterTip
So I'm not the only one who talks to herself? Good to know.
November 20, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterjennifer Kashak
Oh... just give me minute. I'm chuckling to myself really. Not at you at all.

I've done this too many times I've lost count. In fact, just right now...

huh, huh.

I am doing this very thing as my son tells me about a story he wrote before bed.
November 20, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterBethany
You are brilliant.(I heard that report this morning. I was carpooling, so I had to pretend to be "smart" and "interested," otherwise I'd have turned the channel.)
November 20, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterSonja
NPR is the constant voice in my house that keeps the boogeyman away while my kids are at school.

Boogeymen hate droning, too.
November 20, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterjozet at Halushki

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