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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
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Sleep Is
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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. → 

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Just when you thought it was safe to take off your shoes…

We were getting ready for a trip to the Red Hook Recreational Center, Henry and I; it was a hot day, and we were going to spend it in an Olympic-sized toddler pool (oh, if only there were a toddler Olympics—can you imagine such a thing? The track-and-field contenders, wandering off during the 800 to demand some Goldfish? The steroid-fueled tantrums? The swimmers trying to execute a perfect breaststroke while wearing water wings? I COULD GO ON). Ten inches deep all around and surrounded by sprinklers, the toddler pool is sort of like standing in a clogged gutter during a heavy rain storm—but for Henry it means hours of unmitigated joy, so I slosh around while he shrieks and whoops and blaaarrghs.

I was searching through Henry’s various piles of clothing for his bathing suit when Henry came to see what I was up to. As he walked my way, he glanced down, said, “Oh!” and leapt into my arms. “Big bee!” he cried. I looked down at where he was pointing, and hmm, there seemed to be a caterpillar or something on his carpet, what could that be OH SWEET CHRIST OH MOMMY MOMMY HELP ME---

I knew the last time I encountered a waterbug wouldn’t be the last time, literally. But usually, as I have noted in the past, any waterbugs out in the open have had the decency to at least be at death’s door. But this waterbug wasn’t even a little sick. It wasn’t flailing about piteously. It was not coughing. It was ambling across my son’s carpet, perfectly healthy, and heading right toward us.

Clutching my slightly freaked son in my arms, I jumped over it OH GOD OH GOD and ran toward the living room. “Sit here, Henry!” I cried out calmly. “Watch some TV! Don’t move! Mommy will be right back! Mommy wants to die, but that’s okay!”

“Big bee!” he repeated.

“There’s nothing to worry about!” I shrieked. “It’s just a nice bug paying us a visit!"

He didn’t look like he was buying it, so I added, “Ha, ha!”

I grabbed the canister of ant-and-roach death spray, and tried to head toward Henry’s room. Only I couldn’t move. And there was this whimpering sound. Coming out of my head. I had to do something! My child was staring at me. “Just a fly!” he called out helpfully. Yes. Yes, I will pretend it’s just a fly. A giant fly with long spindly legs and inch-long antennae and a fingernail-thick carapace who emerged from the depths of our basement to spread disease and ick all about my son’s carpet, OH PLEASE NO--

No, I would need more than that to go in there and get the job done.

So I named it! A waterbug with a name will not scare me, I reasoned with my usual infallibility! I shall name him Sean! No, better—Shaun. The unfortunately named Shaun lives in his mom’s basement and still feathers his hair; he most definitely cannot terrorize the likes of me. I would enter my son’s room and put poor Shaun out of his misery. Oh, Shaun—you never had a chance in this world.

The story of what happens after this is long and drawn-out and involves much screaming and clutching of the hair and whacking and spraying (while the child sat on the couch, watching Noggin and calling out every few minutes, “Just a fly! Bzz!”) All I can tell you is that in the end, Shaun’s corpse lay underneath a Tupperware container, waiting for my husband to come home and give him a decent burial. As for Henry, he spent the day getting as wet and wild as a toddler can legally become, while his mother followed him around, staring off into the distance with a haunted expression on her face, shuddering at some unseen horror.

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Reader Comments (27)

Well, now you've got me freaked out and I'll not be able to take a nap before karaoke. Water bug or Shaun Cassidy, which could be scarier?
August 29, 2004 | Unregistered CommenterDM
OMG! Laughing my ass off over this - not that I am happy you had to endure this but becaue not that many months ago my toddler was sitting on our couch giving helpful commentary while I chased a giant spider around (knowing full well that if I were not a mama I would just have been outside waiting for hours for my husband to come home and track it down and kill it) ... not to clog up your comments with the long version, the short version is that it ended much like your adventure: with the creature under a bowl waiting for my hubby to come home and kill it :( Ewwww! By the way, my name is Kara and I've been lurking around reading your blog for a few weeks now and you never fail to give me a grin. Thanks mama! Best Wishes!
August 30, 2004 | Unregistered CommenterKara
Now that you have demonstrated superhuman bravery in defence of an innocent child's life from a menacing, horrific creature, I will forever associate you with Sigourney Weaver in Aliens.
August 30, 2004 | Unregistered Commenterjilbur
Oh my, Jilbur certainly does spark the mental images. I now picture our intrepid Alice, soaked with the sweat of motherhood gone ballistic, screaming for that THING to BACK OFF. And to think that you did it all and then went swimming in a public pool.... I am in awe!
August 30, 2004 | Unregistered CommenterMir
As long as it ends just like the movie, with the heroine battling the her underwear.
August 30, 2004 | Unregistered Commentersac
I'm just like Sigourney, except my biceps are more impressive, and my panties skimpier.
August 30, 2004 | Unregistered Commenteralice
I had a moment like that yesterday. When I got up off the couch I felt something on my arm and I brushed it off and it was HUGE! and THICK! and HEAVY! And I freaked out! But then I looked around on the floor and I didn't see a giant spider skittering away toward its lair. It was just a flattened chocolate chip that had been stuck to the couch. The end.
August 30, 2004 | Unregistered CommenterMrs. Kennedy
Re: the panties. Excellent.
August 30, 2004 | Unregistered Commentersac
My sister used to crank her Shaun Cassidy records in her bedroom, which was right beneath mine. "Hey Deanie" still haunts my soul.
August 30, 2004 | Unregistered CommenterLOD
oh, honey, come on down to Texas. People keep those nasty things as pets.

And if THAT grossed you out, check THIS out...

... a similarly horrible roach story.

Hope your case of the heeby-jeebies subsides soon.

August 30, 2004 | Unregistered CommenterKaren
I had to laugh when I read this. I have often thrown something over a bug and left it there for my husband to take care of when he got home from work, too. He thinks I'm crazy, but I just can't bring myself to actually kill it. I will spray the HELL out of it and then put a cup or bowl over it {always a clear one so that Dh can see it right away}.
August 30, 2004 | Unregistered CommenterAmy
AUUUGGGHHH!! Commence freaking out! I am itching all over after this post, and as I put my fingers on the keyboard SOMETHING FREAKING MOVED! It WAS only a fly but it was a big fat hairy fly and it jumped and flew off into the room somewhere but I jumped about thirty feet in the air thinking it was the ginormous waterbug from the computer screen and yelled AUUUGGHHH! And woke up my sleeping baby on my lap who is also now yelling AUUUGGHHH in harmony with me! And the fly! It is dive. bombing. my head!

August 30, 2004 | Unregistered CommenterVery Mom
(unrelated to this post) Hey, Henry looks different today.... ;)
August 31, 2004 | Unregistered CommenterMir
Yes. Poor Henry. It's a terrible virus.
August 31, 2004 | Unregistered Commenteralice
You had me laughing my ass off. I do the exact same thing, cover the damn spider, bug, whatever gross thing it is and wait for the hubby. You know what I found works great on spiders and other gross insects? Hairspray - They get stuck and won't move. Try it!

On a separate note, I've been reading your blog for a couple weeks now, and I can relate to you so much. Thanks!
August 31, 2004 | Unregistered CommenterKaroni
Oh, thank god I'm not the only bug-weenie that leaves the thing dead where it lies until someone else can pick it up! The last time I killed one, I left a sneaker on top of it as a marker until the next time my bf came to visit, and he flushed it down the toilet for me. Brave warrior!
September 1, 2004 | Unregistered Commenterconnie
A rose by any other name...Yeah, someone convinced me that water bugs were not like ROACHES instead they were like BEETLES. What do I know. I'm from the place where the roaches are huge and brown and flying. And somehow thinking of them as beetles helped. Especially after my black breast pump bag appeared to move but it turned out to be a water bug. Or so the super told me.

And then I came to your %#^# site (beautifully hilarious though it is) a few months ago and the water bug-beetle association was destroyed and replaced by the horrifyng water bug-roach association.

But you have redeemed yourself which was hard because we adore you in our house so very much you could hardly be esteemed higher--because a water bug-Shaun Cassidy association totally, totally beats the water bug/beetle association. I've lost all fear. Disgust, I still have. But fear is now gone.

September 1, 2004 | Unregistered CommenterSuper Turtle Girl
I just found this page through Mimi Smartypants most recent post and I'm so happy. So happy. Another blog to read when I should be studying. Thanks and good luck with the bug thing- I freak out about spiders myself.
September 1, 2004 | Unregistered Commentersarahred
I had a similar run-in last night when I came home from work - I found "one" on its back in the floor. Smart woman that I am, I KNEW it wasn't really dead. So I drowned it in foam bath of RAID! and I left it there for Friday evening when my boyfriend gets in town.
September 2, 2004 | Unregistered CommenterWindylou

Back in my day, we had bugs like that, but they were 40x bigger! They'd be bigger than us, and there would be nothing we could do about it! We'd be running around crying while a gigantic cockroach would be spewing acid in our faces, and we had to just sit there and take it! One time I was fighting this 7 footer back in 43' and he laid egg's in my brain! And then I lost all my memory, and to this day, I cant remember anything for more that 2 minutes...... Back in my day, we had bugs like that, but they were 40x bigger!
September 2, 2004 | Unregistered CommenterOld Prospector
The thing to do is to use a sturdy flat shoe, raise the wrist to 90 degrees, and run run run screaming: "The end of the world is nigh"
September 2, 2004 | Unregistered Commenterhusbands anon
Hello, my name is Jen and I'm a Lurker. (All together now: "HELLO, JEN.")

Okay, so I just spent my Friday night reading every one - yes, every one - of your entries. Up to this point, I've delighted in a regular dose of Mimi Smartypants and now my husband is REALLY going to groan as I keep laughing loudly and tearing up as I read ANOTHER one.

Thank you for sharing your experiences so damn cleverly (is that a word?)

And tonight I had yet another "I must be old" revelation. It's Friday night and I spent the whole evening reading one blog.

Yay Old!
September 3, 2004 | Unregistered CommenterJen Z
Just found site today.

Things you do not want to hear when you are home with daughter and Daddy is not there?

1. "Mom, somethings in my shoe...when I put it on it like...crunched." (and then the ensuing hysterics when said "thing" is dumped out of shoe)2. "Mom, I can't get my soccer uniform out of the dryer...there is a tiny black bird flying around in there." ( 20 minutes before we have to be a soccer practice)3. Mom, did you give the cat some kind of new black pom pom toy? He sure is going nutty over it. (and then the reality check)4. A MOUSE ran across my foot!!! (No, sweetheart...that was no mouse)

and finally...the scenario you do not want to have..

Hubby: okay girls...bathroom clear...bug gone...Mom of 35: almost time for bed...take your showerChild of 10: nope...not going in there.Mom of 35: you know there is no time in the morning, besides Daddy said the bug is gone..TAKE YOUR SHOWER!!Child of 10: nope...there could be others and they could come up through the drain while I shower. They are called water bugs because of that.Mom of 35: Get in there now and no fooling!Child of 10: Okay no problem you come in with me and protect me.Mom of 35: No way I'm going in there!!You're on your own kiddo!Child of 10: Daddy! Mom is being a chicken!!Mom of 35: yes I am...take your shower.

September 4, 2004 | Unregistered CommenterChristi
*wiping away tears of mirth*

Good God woman. I almost peed in my panties. You are hilarious.
September 8, 2004 | Unregistered CommenterJenny
When I first moved to Texas, I had me an encounter with one of those bad boys.

Now, I was already familiar with water bugs. "Palmetto bugs," we called 'em in Florida. Whatever you call 'em, they're big-ass roaches. But I didn't know everything.

Came home one day to find one of these monstrous bastards perched on my living room wall. "Aha!" says I to myself. "One shot of Raid will take care of him." So I get the Raid and give him a good squirt.

And it's then that I learned a major truth about Texas roaches: They eat Raid for lunch.

Damn thing flew right at me. "Jeezis! They fly!!??!

Well, after he landed on another wall (and my heart rate had settled down to a leisurely 200 beats per minute), I just took off my shoe and smashed him with the heel. Left a nice ding in the wall, but at least I knew he was dead.

Now I knew. In Texas, they don't kill 'em; they give 'em names. Put saddles on 'em.Yeef.
September 21, 2004 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

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