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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. → 

« While I'm hiding under this pile of blankets... | Main | Glargh »

Is "hidden room" something you can find in rental listings?

Me: So did you want to talk about what happened here last night?

Henry: About that man who cursed you?

Me; Well, cursed AT me, but...yeah.

Henry: No.

Me: Okay! But I wanted you to know that everything is being taken care of.

Henry: He's gone forever?

Me: Well, no. But we are going to move, soon.

Henry: Tomorrow?

Me: We have to pack first. And find a place. It'll take a while.

Henry: Great! Because I really want a room that has a hidden door to another room.

Me: ...

Henry: You know, a bookcase, and you pull out a book and the bookcase is a door and then you have *another* room behind the door bookcase. I want that. Can we get that?

Me: Probably not going to happen.

Henry: Someday I really want a hidden room. Do you want a hidden room?

Me: More than you know. Right now, though, I just want us to live someplace we can feel comfortable.

Henry: And where no one curses you.

Me: Exactly.

Reader Comments (94)

If they advertised a hidden room in the listing, that would kind of ruin the secret, wouldn't it?
March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCyndi
I always wanted one of those rooms too! Until I saw some haunted house episode on A&E where the hidden room with the door in the closet led to a whole 'nother part of the house that no one knew was there (yes, I know, realistic, because square footage is totally not important and mystery rooms always appear out of nowhere). Either way, I don't want a hidden room anymore.
March 25, 2010 | Unregistered Commentera
I don't know about finding them in real estate listings, but you can build them. Here's a company that does secret passageways: My husband is obsessed with this!
March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLois
We just bought a house (well, almost, not signed yet) and while looking, I totally saw a house that COULD have a secret room. It was a basement room and there was a room off that room that totally could have a bookcase installed in front of the door. Let me know if you decide to buy it based on my description here. ;)
March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHereWeGoAJen
my parents have a secret bookshelf door in their new house. My mom had always wanted one. It's SO AWESOME!
March 25, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteremery jo

First of all, for real: I am so sorry that you are experiencing fear and violence where you live. If you are interested in reaching out please feel free to contact me. I am an anti-violence educator and worked for over a decade with a fantastic agency in Brooklyn. It can help to connect with others, honor the things you are doing to keep yourself safe, and explore additional strategies. You are doing a great job. Hang in there.

And, re: hidden room--I am designing a new kitchen and it occurred to me that I could build myself a writing office accessible only by crawling through one of the cabinets. It has enormous appeal.
March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLynne Marie Wanamaker
Our two not-master bedrooms (one of which is Peeper's room and one of which is our home office) connect via the closet. Something like that would probably be close enough for him. (How much will you give us for the house?)
March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWhozat
Maybe he means a "panic room." Might not be a bad idea, depending on the new building.
March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterXdm
Come on mom, you don't think a hidden room would be good for him when he becomes a teenager? Just think of all the trouble...
March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHolly
Was that the landlord cursing you? Does this have anything to do with asking if you could paint over the brick?

Hidden rooms rule. My daughter's room has a "secret" pocket door that leads to our walk-in closet. Her friends think she is the luckiest kid on the planet. And therefore I am the coolest mom, since it was my design idea. I highly recommend it. :)

Best of luck in your search for a safe home.
March 25, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkate
The house my parents moved to when I was 10 has a wall of bookcases in the family room, one of which opens into "The Secret Room," actually a glorified storage space/wine cellar. You can believe we used it a LOT as kids.
March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKate F.
I'm pretty sure that I or some such place has instructions for how to taken a Billy bookcase and hinge it and use it to hide a door to a closet or other room. And I TOTALLY want one!

Also, I am an adult person.. really I am.
March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBextoronto
Yeah, my first thought was panic room, too.

In my house growing up there was a door that probably had been meant to open onto a closet but instead opened onto an unfinished space under the eaves. A skinny kid could crawl through it to get to the attic. My brothers found the names of the kids who'd lived there before us written on the roof beams. My mom also had sleeping lofts built into the high-ceilinged kids' bedrooms. It all sounds romantic, but you could get slivers and fiberglass insulation and spiderwebs on you when you crawled through the eaves (although that might have added to the appeal for my brothers) and it gets wearying to have to climb a ladder to get to your bed and not be able to stand upright in a loft.

Oh, yeah, we also had a laundry chute that could be crawled down or hidden in.

I've always wanted a secret room in case I needed to hide any Jews. Maybe it could come in handy for hiding Mormons, too someday (we're LDS).
March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterZina
Oh, man. It really sucks when something happens that scares your child. All you can do is promise them that you'll keep them safe--but it's heartbreaking.

I love the ikeahack idea just above my comment! I'll bet you could pretty easily replace a door with a bookcase (well, I couldn't, but someone could!).
March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer
I have a contractor friend that has been building hidden "rooms" in the houses he's doing. One of them just goes from the kid's room via a tunnel to a hidden room behind the master bedroom walk in closet, but one of the other houses has one that leads to a spiral staircase in the garage and then to outside. It is awesome. I want one.
March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMjbutah
We have family in NYC who have a "door disguised as bookcase" in their apartment that leads to their son's room. He loves it and it has the added advantage of blending seamlessly into their living space when closed (so if his room is a mess when they have company, who cares?). As a commenter suggested above, I bet this is something you could hack together relatively easily. By the way, I love your kid. :)
March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStepfordExile
Woah... check out you can hover over the image and make the door actually open!You could try getting one of those over-the-bed canopy things. He might be too old for that. But I had mine until I was, like, ten.Good luck finding the new place... so stressful. Any chance you'll move back to Jersey?
March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSheryl
I know it doesn't alleviate not feeling comfortable in your own home, but maybe it'll give you a laugh: My daughter wants to have a bedroom where the back of her closet hides a secret mad scientist room so she can do "crazy experiments". She's 10 now - I'm wondering what those crazy experiments would turn into when she's 16!
March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTara
Moving sucks but not feeling safe sucks even worse:(And ya, I'm 30 and a hidden room is still on my list of things I'd LOVE someday:)
March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAriel
My friend built a hidden room for her daughter. She drywalled off the top of the stairwell so that there was a little room there, and it attached to her daughter's adjacent room by a little window-sized hatch. It was high on the wall, so it was right beside her bunk bed. They hung a poster over the hatch so it was veeery secret.

I hope you find a good place soon.
March 25, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterlb
Put… the candle… back.
March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDave
Clearly, you need an old castle.
March 25, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterhikooky
Is the silver lining in all of this that you don't have to redecorate the apartment you now live in? Of course, I'm sure we'll all be happy to give advice about the new place. Best of luck in your search.
March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMJ
We had a hidden room growing up! It was like Harry Potter's in his Uncle's house, right under the stair case.

Oh, I don't blame Henry wanting one at all b/c it was so very very cool.

Good luck! Wish I could do more..but am very happy you've decided to move.
March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlexandra
New Yorkers start young with the hidden room fantasies...You guys should've just bought 17 Prospect Park West. I'm sure there's one in there.
March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJessica

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