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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. → 

« Toddlers are less fun when they're sick. | Main | Why I should never be left alone with anyone under the age of eighteen. »

Attention, public: mothers must be judged as much as possible. Here's how.

“That’s not tuna you’re eating, is it? Did you know that tuna is composed entirely of mercury? Um, so, do you care about your unborn child?”

“Did you just order a turkey sandwich? Ever heard of a bacterium called listeria? Well, you better find out all about it, missy, because from now until that poor innocent baby is born, your thoughtless snacking can kill. No more cold cuts for you. Or brie. Forget brie. Don’t even think about goat cheese. If you care about anything except yourself. And I hope that’s decaffeinated tea you’re drinking.”

“Listeria? I ate a salami sandwich every day and you turned out fine. Don’t be an idiot. Eat this prosciutto while I stand here and watch you. Eat it eat it eat it. Your child needs protein. Jerk.”

“Did you just take a sip of your husband’s beer? I happen to have in my hands twelve separate studies that show that as little as two grams of alcohol a month can cause your child’s brain to resemble, in size and personality, a walnut. Why do you want your baby to be walnut-brained? And vanilla extract counts, so hand over that cookie.”

“Your baby needs you to relax, so I’ve mixed you a special vitamin-packed Manhattan. Don’t talk to me about studies—when I had my kids, I drank Johnny Walker every day and smoked unfiltereds while I drove with the seatbelt off. And most of them lived, am I right? I mean, I don’t want to call you a gutless whore, but come on.”

“You’re only six months pregnant? Wow. I thought you were, like, more pregnant. I only gained 11 pounds with my kids. Wow. Um. Wow.”

“Have you gained enough? You know, they’re now discovering that you need to gain at least 35 pounds, or your child will be an asshole.”

“You’re getting an epidural, I assume. You know you’ll never be able to handle the indescribably blinding pain. You’re not going to try to prove something with that whole natural-childbirth hoo-ha, I hope. Please tell me you’re not going to prove something and that you’ll just take the nice drugs the nice doctors give you. What’s that? Oh, sweet Christ, what’s a ‘midwife’?”

“Of course it’s your choice, but I’ve read some alarming statistics on children whose mothers had epidurals. It seems they’re 89% more unloved, and 116% less happy for the rest of their lives. I’ve already emailed the studies to you. But I guess if a little pain is more important to you than your child’s happiness, you have to factor that in.”

“You’re only nursing for the first few weeks, right? After that it’s more about you trying to prove something, you know. Bottles are easier. Look at him—he’s got no idea what to do with those tits you keep shoving at his face. Are you trying to turn him into a gay?”

“Nursing is difficult, you say? I have no idea what you could mean. Mastitis? I think I remember having that. About seven times or so. Once I had a 106 fever, but I kept nursing little Dakota, no matter what. Did I tell you about when I was in that accident, and I was pinned under a tractor-trailer, and I had the paramedics bring me my baby so that I could nurse her as they sawed off my leg? Well, I mean, what choice did I have?”

“I hope your baby is sleeping in bed with you. Do you know what happens if she doesn’t? She stares all night at the bars of her cold, dank crib, trembling in fear and wondering why her mummy and daddy hate her so much that they’d put her in prison.”

“You’ve got that poor little thing in the bed with you? Are you trying to kill him?”

“Your baby cries all the time? Obviously you’re doing something wrong.”

“Your baby never cries? You got lucky. When your first child is easy, studies have shown that the second child is 99% more likely to drive you clinically insane with his ceaseless shrieking. So wipe that smile off your face. Yeah, that’s right.”

“Are you still letting that child fall asleep while she’s feeding? You know that you’re being selfish, lazy, and possibly criminal in your neglect of her sleep training. You need to leave her alone and let her cry it out. Right now.”

“What do you mean, ‘sleep training’? You’re not reading that Ferber book, I hope. I’ve read that if you let your child cry for more than 2.7 minutes, he’ll only learn that you hate him. You hate him, and want to sell him. To Dr. Ferber. Who, incidentally, you know what I heard about him? He eats babies. I’m just saying.”

“Don’t you think it’s a little selfish, being a stay-at-home mother? It’s not like he even knows who you are at this point. Or is it that you like staying in your pajamas all day and not showering? So your kid is an excuse, is what you’re saying? Nice.”

“You’re going back to work? I see. So you value your career more than your child, whom you’re abandoning so that he can be raised by strangers. Well, bully for you.”

“Lighten up—a little TV is good for kids. That’s why, when I was babysitting, I let him stay up late with me and watch some Cinemax. He learned some great new words!”

“You let your son watch ‘Sesame Street’? Huh. So I guess you’re fine with it if your kid lives in a fantasy world, where muppets bathe with each other and the number 8 tangos with the letter H. Incidentally, your cavalier parenting just caused his SAT scores to plummet 104 points. Bravo.”

(I'm sure I'll have more in a few months.)

Reader Comments (38)


Dear GOD.
May 6, 2004 | Unregistered Commenteralice
I can't get over how true and yet utterly hysterically funny all of that was!
May 8, 2004 | Unregistered CommenterStacie
Doug, I would buy at least three copies of "When Grandma's an Asshole." I'm safely into my twenties and my grandmother, who is, yes, a *royal* asshole, is STILL trying to tell my parents how to raise me.
May 17, 2004 | Unregistered CommenterMorphienne
yup -- thanks for making me laugh today! may I just add:

-you're having another one already?? you should have waited at least another year -- this will really mess up the first one's emotional development. and now the second one won't get the nurturing she needs, either.-you waited this long to have another one?? they'll be like strangers. and you've already spoiled the first one rotten by letting him be an only child for so long. and when he goes to school the second one will get spoiled, too.
May 24, 2004 | Unregistered Commenteranna
Tears are rolling down my cheeks, and since my poor toddler can't yet distinguish between hysterical-laughter-tears and sadness-tears I'd better take a quick break.

Thanks SO much.
September 2, 2004 | Unregistered Commenterfalwyn
Total random stranger here just came across this. 18 weeks pregnant and heard it ALL and more! Made me laugh, thanks, I needed it :)
February 17, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterRLJ
Great stuff! Its all so true. I am 19 weeks pregnant having already got a 18 month old daughter and had to giggle at all of this!
February 17, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterNikki
I loved the watermelon seed comment... Reminds me of a great come-back to people picking on you when you're pregnant.

"Oh, I'm not pregnant. I swallowed a watermelon seed."
February 24, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterMiriam
Complete unknown here...just stumbled in. Glad to see that I'm not the only one who thinks this way. Restores my faith in humanity (well...somewhat)!

Thanks for the laugh.
March 9, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterjeanine
Holy crap - you nailed that on the head! Before I actually fall off my chair from hysterical laughter, may I add:

"What do you mean, you aren't sanitizing his bottles? Do you want your baby to come down with every disease known to mankind? What kind of heartless mother are you that you want your child to grow up to be a sickly, weak litle boy that has to live in a bubble because of your reckless abandon - just because it takes less time to NOT sanitize his bottles?"

"What do you mean you're sanitizing his bottles? Germs are good! Your child needs them to develop some kind of immune system. Or else he'll grow up to be a sickly, weak little boy that has to live in a bubble. Good for you that you're taking the time with the extra, wasted step of sanitizing his bottles. My mother never sanitized our bottles, AND I ate dirt in the backyard, and I turned out just fine!"
March 10, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterDulcie
The sad part is that this list can continue well into their teen years. To that end, here's my contribution from the Mommy of an un-potty-trained 2 year old:

"What do you mean she's not potty trained?! You know the longer you wait the harder it gets. And if she doesn't learn now, she's liable to wet her bed until she's hits puberty, never get invited to slumber parties and risk being forever ostracized from her peers. You're just being lazy -- YOU were potty-trained at 2 months!"

"What do you mean you're trying to potty train? Don't you know, the longer you wait the easier it gets? And if you push her now, she's liable to wet her bed until she's hits puberty, never get invited to slumber parties and risk being forever ostracized from her peers. You're just being neurotic; I mean what are you gonna do next time, start at 2 months!?"
March 10, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterMommyDiva
Meet your new stalker. I know I'm a year late or so on this entry, but as the mother of a three year old and an 8 month old, I so totally relate to your entries. This one is classic and so so true. It's a wonder women don't blow their brains out.
August 18, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterErika
yeah, what the previous poster said.

or rather 'thank christ i'm no longer pregnant - just the 18 years of parenting to have criticsed'
September 1, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterRelly

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