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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. → 

« After the sleepover | Main | Where I was »


Today we pause to venerate our Henry, who is officially NINE YEARS OLD. What in the huh? I have no idea how this could have happened. He assured me he would stop growing up, and yet. Yet HERE WE ARE. With most of his pants ending at mid-calf, like he's a Park Slope mom rocking the cargo capris.

Here's a recent picture of him.

Please put a shirt on, dear.

Henry is a little excited about his birthday. And he should be. I didn't think I could possibly fit any more Legos into our home, but (spoiler alert) by the end of this evening, his room will be awash in shiny new pieces. At least he's now keeping them to his room. Because he knows that if they end up anywhere else Mr. Vacuum Cleaner will gobble them up! Gobble gobble gobble!

(I do not actually talk that way about my vacuum. Besides, his name is Derek.)

Also, he will soon be enjoying a new set of Magic: The Gathering: The Card Game: Which I Can't Stand Cards. He really really REALLY wants me to learn how to play Magic and seriously nothing makes me crankier than that game. That game requires math, and I am 100% sure he is making up rules that will lead to him winning. This is fine with me, as long as it means he wins quickly, which he never ever does. I am always on the verge of losing/being destroyed when suddenly he's handing me a +9 life potion card or some shit. He tries to be an encouraging and patient coach but the whole thing makes my brain twitch. Can we just play more Uno, Henry? You know how Mama loves her the Uno.

Henry's birthday this year, like so many other years, has turned into a multi-day and multi-dessert celebration. Of course I had to bring brownies for his class, because they haven't had a birthday in their class since, oh, NEVER, THERE ARE ALWAYS BIRTHDAYS, and in fact today Henry is one of two birthday boys in the class, and the other kid is also bringing brownies. And yet I have to bake as well. I used to go for quality, but I have since wised up, and I used a mix. Suckers!

Tonight, we celebrate with The Family, and so I made a cake from this cookbook, which is an amazing cookbook for those of you who are aspiring Paleo types, are gluten-free, or just have some almond flour on hand (?).  I made it once before in sheet-cake form, and you couldn't tell that it was any different from a regular cake. Today I'm going for a layer cake for the first time since the layer cake debacle of 2005. My sister Liz came over yesterday to talk me through it. So far, so good. I haven't done the frosting yet, though. I might need to take an Ativan first.

Tomorrow we're hosting a sleepover with three other boys, and for that we ordered an ice cream cake, because if there's one thing that kids don't seem to appreciate all that much (or at least enough for my liking), it's a homemade cake. (The last time I watched them all lick the frosting off of their cupcakes and walk away, and then I wept in the bathroom. I get a little overwrought when it comes to baking.) Then the kids will watch Pirates of the Caribbean and refuse to sleep and we will tell them how unamused they are by their antics! In stern parental voices!

Oh and then on Sunday we get to go to ANOTHER kid's birthday party. Seriously, what is it with all these kids and their birthdays? We get it: you were born. NEWS FLASH SO WAS EVERYONE ELSE. EEUGH.

I'm not "eeugh"ing at you, Henry. You I like.

Reader Comments (35)

My husband works for the company that makes Magic the Gathering.

I know, right? That's actually a JOB. That he gets PAID for.

He's always wanting me to learn to play and I refuse. Too much crap to remember and all of those cards to keep track of and trade and stuff. He did get me playing their Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012 version and we enjoyed playing that together for quite some time. I didn't have to remember much and there were tips to help me.

Just something you may want to look into, if you want to play with the 9 year old man you have in your home. And tell him that someday, if he lives in Washington state he can actually have a JOB working for these geeks.

October 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

Just spewed water all over my monitor when the Tom Selleck photo popped up. Well done!

October 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAllison

I feel the exact same way about Monopoly: Pixar Cars 2 Edition. Just when I think the torture is ending, I draw some Collect 20,000 Fake Lightning McQueen Dollars! chance card. Hasbro, man.

Happy Birthday, Henry!

October 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterwhoorl

Whoorl, when Henry suggests Monopoly, Scott and I shriek and run for the hills. Who ever thought Monopoly was fun? Who? WHO THOUGHT IT?

October 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteralice

Based on your description, Magic is right up there with Pokemon. Except I get to play this game: "So, Mom, this Pokemon has 200 strength and has black fur and wings. Guess which one it is." Or "Which one of these Pokemon do you like better." And neither is not answer, unfortunately.

Happy Birthday, Henry!

October 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLeandra

That Selleck photo is my iPhone "wake-up" screen, and it will always be, as it is perfect.

October 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDebbie

Oh, and Happy Birthday Henry! Alice, I played Magic back in the mid-90s, and I think it's become exponentially more complicated since then. I don't envy you.

October 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDebbie

Happy Birthday to Henry! I know a seemingly disproportionate number of people with birthdays in the couple of weeks surrounding today, and one year we realized that the first week of October is 40 weeks after New Year's. I don't know if that was your particular timeline, but for the mass of early October birthdays... just sayin'.

October 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCait

Happy birthday H. Nine. Freaking nine. It is both terrifying and AWESOME. Also, Henry is looking fiiiiiiine, can we date? I'd love to be your daughter-in-law. That was weird. But I mean it. But not really.

October 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterthe grumblies

1) Is Ativan Paleo approved?
2) Yes! Elana's cookbook is fabulous.
3) Definitely reserve the pricey gluten-free flours for those who will not simply lick off the icing and disdain the cake.
4) A very happy birthday to Henry!

October 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

Also--that photo. I'm probably supposed to notice more than that *hilarious* cell phone (car phone?) he's using, but seriously. It's HILARIOUS. No wonder those things were supposed to be stashed in cars...where they were less likely to cause you to strain your back while carting them around.

October 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

Happy Birthday Henry! I never knew nine could be so hairy!

October 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSara

My past 2 Sunday afternoons were taken by 8 year old birthday parties and we have 2 tomorrow (besides our own football game) and I haven't gone shopping for those gifts yet. Ughhh -- I've grown to hate kid birthday parties. They take up way too much of MY OWN TIME.

October 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

In my opinion, you should save the Ativan for the sleepover. I've been a parent for almost 20 years and thus far I have avoided hosting one of those nightmarish events. I hates them, I do.

KoolAid Mom, I'm not.

October 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersuburbancorrespondent

Happy Birthday to Henry!!!

And I also spewed water at the screen for both Tom Selleck and "Magic: The Gathering: The Card Game: Which I Can't Stand." You are hilarious!!

October 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMissRed

I love you, Alice B. Finslippy... And Henry too. Happy birthday to the boy, and the one who brought him to us!

October 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterValorie

You know, you're RIGHT. The baked from scratch cake isn't worth it. Brilliant.

Why is Henry's chest hair so curly? I find curly chest hair...confusing. And kind of silly.

October 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTeam Suzanne

Our vacuum eats Legos too. Her name is Shirley. Noah says she has an evil smile and won't walk too close to her.

He's 8, and a little crazy. I'm not kidding.

Also, maybe that Magic thing is one of the times it is a blessing that the drugs that help keep him from going from slightly annoying crazy to bat shit I'm moving so fast my feet aren't touching the ground and now I'm not making any sense at all when I talk, make him a little less bright than he should be. And thus we have not yet tried games where he has to use actual, well, you know, thinking.

HBD to Henry, and a wish that you survive the celebrate-a-thon. My daughter used to eat the frosting off of the cake piece and then arrogantly dispose of the homemade remains, and one day I asked why she didn't like the cake. "I like the cake," she said, "I just don't like the bready part." Maybe next year you make him a damn cake but without the bready part?

October 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdgm

Happy Birthday Henry! I played Magic a bit in high school, and enjoyed it. I'd be happy if my boys were interested when they get older, but we're a few years from that.

October 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRachael

Happy birthday to Henry! And happy Henry's birthday to you. Sure, he was born, but you did the birthing. I'm practically a doctor. A doctor that likes cake.

October 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarinka

Happy Birthday, Henry! My Ethan hasn't discovered Magic Cards yet. Shhhhh, don't tell him! I'm guessing, though, that the 4th grade rumor mill about those will make its way to him eventually. Sigh. After learning the names and characteristics of a thousand different Power Rangers, Bakugan, Pokemon, go-gos crazy bones, etc. etc. I am SO over all this.

October 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterVarda (SquashedMom)

How have we reached this point of SO MANY BIRTHDAY CAKES? My daughter turned 8 last week, and I baked: 1. cupcakes for the class at school, 2. a banana cake for the family celebration, 3. a zucchini cake for the adults at the party, and 4. cupcakes for the kids at the party. I actually just bought the last damn set of cupcakes at Safeway, and it was the best $10 I've spent in a long time.

Oh, and happy birthday to Henry!

October 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteramy

Dear Henry: I have created my own website here (isn't your mama nice, Henry?) to wish you happy, happy 9th birthday.

And did you know that my boy, Auggie, is 9, too?

9 is a wonderful age.

Grown up, but not really.

Happy, happy birthday.

You have the swellest mom and dad (ask your mom what swell in that way you don't get all worried about your parents and edema...though, now I feel bad b/c I planted that seed in your mom's head and she probably just pulled up her pants leg to look at her ankles.)

Sorry. Enjoy the ice cream cake.

(hope it doesn't cause edema..SORRY! couldn't help myself..)

October 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlexandra/Empress

I'll totally play Magic with Henry. I draw the line at Pokemon, but Magic can be quite fun once you get the hang of it, and I KNOW you would have a field day making fun of all the silly creatures and their "abilities." (When we play, there is much playacting, animal noise-making, and melodrama.)

Of course, Henry could probably whip anyone's butt including mine, so "fun" probably equals "resigned to losing."

October 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAsha {Parent Hacks}

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