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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. → 

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Happy book-birthdays to us

Rita, Eden, and I were emailing recently about how our books have recently celebrated (in their own quiet, unassuming way) their birthdays. Sleep is For The Weak is now a five-year-old, while Let's Panic About Babies is in its Terrible Twos. (Or "Terrific Twos," which is what the pre-pre-school program Henry attended was called. Those liars. Terrifying, maybe. I guess no one would have signed up for a class called "Terrifying Twos." I would have, and maybe that's why we had so few playdates.

Oh, memories. Puzzling, dark memories.)

ANYHOO, we thought we'd each do a giveaway to celebrate these milestones, because look, someone has to. Our books are feeling terribly neglected.

Sleep is For The Weak is a collection of the best of various parenting blogs. I had a bunch of posts in there about the toddler years, and reading them now is awfully therapeutic. I can't look at pictures of him at that age without choking up and whispering "Sunrise, Sunset" while my lower lip trembles and falls off. And then I read only slightly exaggerated moments such as this one, when he presented his list of demands:



1. Will be ALL THE TIME, unless I say differently. While watching TELEVISION, you are to sit by my side, quietly, hands folded in lap, whilst I enjoy my shows.

a. You may arise to fetch me a SNACK or a DRINK.
2. No DIAPER CHANGING or PLEAS TO ENGAGE IN PHYSICAL ACTIVITY will be tolerated during the watching of the TELEVISION.

3. Turning off of the television will result in much SCREAMING.


1. There will be many.

a. They will always be strewn about the house so that I may simply reach down and pick up a toy, no matter where I am.

b. They will be loud, complicated, and contain many small bits. I enjoy the SHOOTING NOISES that go w-shooooop or zim zim zim.

c. Nothing that results in LEARNING, please.

And I feel much better. Now he's evolved enough that, were he to request a thing, I can respond with an observation like, "You can buy that once you've saved up enough allowance," or "You can get that yourself, you big, strapping boy." Or I can simply raise an eyebrow and he gets my meaning. Sure, he reacts, but it's nothing compared to toddler behavior. The worst that happens is he goes to his room and slides angry notes under the door. So fun.

I miss the toddler-to-preschooler years more than I miss having a baby around, I have to say. Babies are cute and all, but they're kind of lumpish. Squealing and lumpish. And they never ask you how your day has been. Still, they have that nice head-smell. I don't know, those years are all a blur. Occasionally I'll get weepy over some goddamn cute picture, and then I can always reach for solace in our book, which is also only slightly exaggerated. Excerpt alert!

How do you train a baby to sleep through the night? It's easier than you think. Just follow this simple procedure exactly, with absolutely no variations at all.

8:00 p.m. Put Baby down in the crib.
8:05 p.m. Pace nervously outside nursery as the shrieking starts up.
8:07 p.m. Rummage through refrigerator for snacks. Loud rummaging will drown out the crying.
8:10 p.m. Enter Baby's room and pat her back three times. Not four times. Three. Say "Shhh" four times, in three-second intervals.  Retreat quickly.
8:13 p.m. Glare at husband. Surely this is partly his fault.
8:15 p.m. Cry for a little while.
9:00 p.m. Go back into Baby's room. Pick up Baby. Swear to Baby that you'll never leave her alone again. Rock her until your arms go numb.
10:45 p.m. Put Baby back down. Dim lights. Whoops. You forgot to do that at 8 p.m., didn't you? Just because I didn't specifically say to? Must I spell out everything?
11:00 p.m. Back into Baby's room. Three pats on the back. Not too hard, now.
11:15 p.m. Your husband's asleep. Stand over him, seething.
11:30 p.m. Back in Baby's room, your mere presence will soothe her. Without touching her, reassure her that you are there, and that you're just going in the other room, just for a little bit, it's not like anyone is disappearing, for Christ's sake, isn't she being a little dramatic?
11:45 p.m. Loudly ask your husband if he wants to take over for a little bit, maybe, if it's not too much trouble. He reluctantly gets up. Reluctantly, though. Christ!
12:00 a.m. Try to sleep but don’t because you're now furious and can't believe you ever thought getting married was a good idea.
1:00 a.m. Wake up, even though you didn't realize you were sleeping in the first place. Hear your husband muttering angrily while pacing back and forth with Baby.
1:15 a.m. Tell him he's not doing it right and to just forget it.
1:30 a.m. How does he get to sleep so fast? Jerk.
1:45 a.m. Place Baby back in crib. Dim the lights again, do those soothing "shhh" sounds AGAIN. Back slowly out of room.
1:47 a.m. She just woke up. Pat her back seven times.
1:50 a.m. Okay, ten times. But no more. Now retreat. Retreat!
2:00 a.m. Reassure Baby from other side of door that you're still around. Continue to reassure as needed.
3:30 a.m. Is your voice getting hoarse? I recommend recording your voice and replaying on a continuous loop!
4:00 a.m. Accidentally throw something at husband, injuring him into consciousness.
4:30 a.m. There's silence! Run into room because you think something's wrong, but nothing is wrong! The baby is asleep, and you can be, too!
5:00 a.m. Wake up because you thought you heard the baby, but it turns out you didn't.
5:15 a.m. Oh, wait, you did. Crap.
5:30 a.m. Baby's up for the day, full of smiles and burbles. You made it! Sort of.

Do this every night until it works, or Baby enlists in the military.

Guess what ten-year-olds do? They go to sleep on their own, like sensible people. Really, there's no contest.

Speaking of contests, she segues effortlessly, would you like your very own copy of our books? Did you know that Mother's Day is coming up? And what could be a better gift for the prospective mother or harried mother of a relatively small person? If you want in, comment thusly: if you have a child, explain what your favorite age has been. If you don't have a kid, you can either tell me about a niece or nephew or some beloved family member, OR your own memories of when you were particularly charming.

I'll announce the winner in one week. Eden and Rita are giving away books as well, so if you want to increase your chances, you know what you have to do.




Reader Comments (53)

I'm currently groovin' on six. My son is old enough that we can have some really interesting conversations about Big Topics (religion, I mean. And politics. Not sex, neither of us is anywhere near ready for that), but he's still young enough that he likes to snuggle with his mommy. On occasion. You know, when his friends aren't around.

April 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHilary

I love age 3-4 when they are a fountain of malapropisms. I also love your book!

April 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJustine

My son is 4.5 months old.... so far it just keeps getting better and better.

April 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRoseanna

0 - Plusses: Sleepy. Wrapable. Floppy. Minuses: Inexplicable. Nipple chewey. Screamy.

1 - Plusses: Mobile. Minuses: Mobile.

2 - Plusses: Talky. Minuses: Talky. Tantrumy.

3 - Plusses: Does occasional things by self. Minuses: Opinionated. Demandy.

4 - Plusses: Sometimes actually helpful. Minuses: Knows everything.

We haven't made it beyond 4 yet, but 5 is just around the corner! Kids make you realise you're alive. Never will you laugh so hard, cry so hard, work so hard, see so much, have so much fun.... at all ages.

Miranda x

April 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMiranda

my baby is 22, and you just triggered a flashback! That is EXACTLY how we trained him to sleep through the night...

April 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSharona Zee

Have a 6 year old, 3 year old, and 5 month old. The five month old must eat NOW, so I must sit down and tend to her while my 6 year old insists on making us lunch of PB&J with a side of mini carrots, chips, and a topping of a giant banana (peel and all) as my 3 year old dances and makes jokes to entertain us all. It's all good!

April 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCassi

I have a 2.5. year old daughter and a 4 month old son and so far the older the better! With my daughter we started out frankly underwhelmed and then flipped into overwhelmed with delight starting at about 3 months... and it's just gotten better and better! With her brother we had lower expectations and have been able to enjoy him more from an earlier age. It helps that he's snuggly and is happy just to be part of the show.

April 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLise

We have a 3.5-year-old boy and an 11-week-old daughter. Like Lise, we're enjoying #2 a lot more a lot earlier. Is it because she sleeps better? Or is it because we chilled the eff out about a lot of things? We'll never know!

Regardless ... I was watching some videos of my son recently and I have to say the 18 month-2 year phase is great. They're mobile, verbal (well, my son has always been super chatty), they sleep through the night, and still pretty cuddly and loving. J right now is very curious and very INTO things but also yells a lot. My baby girl is adorable and has the greatest side-eyed smile and throaty laugh but she's also pretty much still a blob with a gigantic head so I'm witholding judgement until she gets older.

Oh so I already own Sleep is for the Weak (love it, cried re-reading it when I was pregnant) but I'd love a copy of Let's Panic!

April 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCourtney

For sure not three. Three is way worse than two as far as "terrible" goes. I loved four, and I love five, which is the age of my youngest, and my eldest daughter is now seven and that's pretty cool too because now she can read and it has opened up her world so wide I can hardly stand it.

April 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKimberley

Well. We have only made it to almost-3 years old, and so far... I have adored the 6 month old fat juicy stage, and the 1 yr penguin waddle stage, and am now in love with the hilarious declarations and catchphrases of the 2.5 stage. The newest catchphrase being "Peacock!" anytime he's happy. (Whaaaaa?)

April 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

my son is four and i never want this age to end.
well. at 8pm i do. then it needs to. but during the day: gold.

April 29, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterguiniveve

My daughter just turned two, and this is generally much more fun than babydom. However, she has coined a new catchphrase that is oh-so-charming: "I can't get out."
It can be used in a variety of circumstances, and with different inflection.
- i CAN'T get out!
- I can't GET out!
- I can't get OOOOUUUUTTT! (this is her favorite)
She uses it in the car seat, the grocery cart, her stroller, the church pew, her crib, my arms, the couch, her circus tent, or just for no reason when she feels emotionally trapped by her sarcastic parents.

April 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth

My daughter is 10, and my favourite age has always been the age she is in (once she moved past the lumpy-baby-causing-me-regular-panic-attacks-and-overreactions-because-I-was-so-sleep-deprived-from-doing-this-on-my-own-stage). I love our conversations and her (often hilarious) observations on the world around her. I love that she still wants to be my baby and cuddle. I love that she is strong enough to stand up for herself, her values, and her friends. I love that we can watch old movies together, go to the theatre, listen to each other's music (1D, who knew?). I love that she is athletic (SO unlike me!) and that is introducing me to a whole new world of sports (I had never even HEARD of Premier League Soccer before last year). So, yeah, most every age has been a blast in its own way.

April 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTracey

A nearly 3-year-old and a one-week-old here (ha ha ha hah crazy times. Hah.) as others have said, I think we are enjoying this one a lot earlier this time. Last time it was very much a matter of survival in the early days. I do love the stage my 2 and three quarters is at: sweetness, chattiness, overflowing love and cuddles. Though there are a few too many 'whys' for my taste. I think every age has its good and bad bits, and is as hard and delightful as any other. It's just at the time, you tend to think the one you're in is the hardest, and that it will likely last forever. Then as soon as it's gone, you miss it. Oh, the irony of this parenting lark!

April 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCharlie

I find the 18 months to 3 years-old ages especially charming. Of course I don't have kids, so I even find tantrums to be kind of charming in their own weird way. The melodrama!

April 29, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermia

My twins were born when my oldest was 19 months, so things were totally crazy at our house for 5 or so years there. And yet I, with my mom-nesia, MISS those toddler years--no doubt due to some perverted form of PTSD. They were so cute! Those curly heads and big eyes and sweet hugs. I miss them. I wish I could go back in time, so that I'd remember what it was really like and snap out of this nostalgia! (now? they're currently 17 and 16)

April 29, 2013 | Unregistered Commenteredj

My favorite age is whatever age my now-7-month-old is when he learns how to sleep through the night.

April 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKerry

I loved ages 3 and 5, with my daughter, but not so much 13 and 14 so far. And for my son, 2 and 9 sucked hard, but 11 has been delightful.

My dear friend is pregnant and I would love to have a signed copy of your book (that's what you're offering, right) for her...

May 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

2- they talk and are starting to get startlingly independent and FUNNY.

May 1, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterelif

I had a hideous time with the whole getting the babies to sleep thing. I felt like a zombie everyday. Thank God my kids are 9 and 6 now. I would love the books for my cousin who is now pregnant with identical twin boys.

May 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLaura Hogerhuis

I already have copies of both books, so don't need them, but can I put in a vote for "Sarah" on Page 1 of the comments whose little ones are in their 50's now? For some reason, that post brought a little tear to my eye.

My daughters are young adults, but reading these posts bring back so many memories. I remember having middle-aged women tell me stories about their child-rearing escapades and thinking, "Yeah, right--but you raised your kids in the dark ages. That will never happen to me." And now, I'm one of those middle-aged women! It is really difficult to remember not to bore the young parents I know with my years of wisdom....

May 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBethT.

I've wanted to be one of the "every age is the best!" people (my son is almost 17 months), but secretly, I loved around 6 months the most. He was really starting to take notice of the world, and it was all exciting and awesome to him. He was happy just to sit on my lap on the porch, watching the wind and the trees and the cars going by.

He continues to be awesome, but more and more of his own person, and being a person is just so complicated. So many feelings! So many choices and partings and frustrations to wrap one's head around!

May 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterR

My guy is only 11 months old, so not a lot of "favorite ages" to speak of, but I do think i like the older baby more than the newborn. I'm really looking forward to the part where he starts sleeping better. Your LPAB excerpt is too realistic to be funny yet, even though I laughed through the whole book before I actually had a baby.

May 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMary Ann

I had my third twelve days ago. All boys. Sleep is for the weak, indeed. So is peeing by yourself, and fart jokes are always funny, especially at the dinner table with grandma.

May 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

I'm looking forward to reading these! I hope I win!!

May 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBarb

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