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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. → 

Entries in mishaps (13)


The night before last

I woke up at 3 am to the sound of Henry calling for me. I stumbled into his room, reassured him that I was alive, stomped back to bed, lay there wide awake for what seemed like hours, finally dropped back into blissful slumber, then heard him calling me again. I nudged Scott and explained that his son was calling for him and if he was a sensitive and loving father he would run to his side. He totally bought that line and made his way to Henry’s room, showed Henry that he, too, was alive, and I heard him stumbling back to our room and then I heard a terrible sound. It was the sound of a delicate foot-part slamming into a heavy piece of furniture.


There was a millisecond of silence and then a string of expletives. This is normal procedure for Scott, who is well-known in these parts for taking out his anger on inanimate objects. He can usually be found instructing God to damn a computer to hell or unleashing brutal verbal abuse on a hinky small appliance. I could tell from the sound and the ensuing tenor of the cursing, though, that this particular injury was beyond the usual stubbed toe. This was bad. I wondered, from the comfort of the bed, if he had broken his toe. I considered getting up and helping him out, but on the other hand the bed was warm. I decided to wait it out. I heard him making his way to the bathroom, I assumed to check out his injuries in a well-lit place, and there was much hissing and gasping and cursing. I really should get up, I thought, and did not move an inch. Because really, what could I do? Wring my hands while he bandaged himself?


As I considered what a good wife I was, keeping the faith that he could help himself and in the process getting some much-needed rest so I could tend to the household tomorrow while he nursed his painful foot-wounds, I heard a crash. Actually it was more like a series of crashes, like all the furniture in the bathroom had come tumbling down. Except we don’t have furniture in the bathroom. I braced myself for the onslaught of cursing that would undoubtedly follow whatever it was that probably just landed on or near my husband, but I heard…nothing. Silence! Well, he’s handling that well, I thought. Just cleaning up the mess, without cursing and…

I sat up. My husband has never in his life taken events in stride. Especially when he already has what sounds like a painful injury. The silence continued. Shit.

I made my way through the dark hallway toward the lit bathroom, and then had what I referred to later as my Law & Order moment: turning the corner to see Scott sprawled, unconscious, on the bathroom tile. There were a couple of small puddles of blood a few inches from his arm, and a streak of blood across the cabinet. I would have been more alarmed if it hadn’t been for the small smile that was playing across my husband’s face, as if he were in the middle of a lovely dream, while his hand, now alarmingly close to all that blood, pawed the air. Did he think he was petting the dog?


I crouched down by him. “Honey,” I said.

He opened his eyes. “What?”

“You fainted,” I explained to him.

“I did it again?” he said.

Scott’s fainted a couple of times, the last time almost exactly a year ago, also in the bathroom, although that time he had been under the weather and not nursing a bloody toe. We ended up hanging out in the ER for hours and hours that time, only for the doctors to tell us that he was completely fine.

So this time, I wasn’t too alarmed. Only I knew that if he got up, he’d probably faint again, because that seems to be his way. And he was trying to get up.

“I’m okay,” he said.

“You’re not,” I said. “You’re lying on the bathroom floor. Stay down.”

Then we heard Henry open his door and amble over. “Hey, guys, what’s all the racket?” he asked, and then saw his dad lying on the ground surrounded by blood. He appeared…concerned.

“It’s okay,” I told him.

“It’s okay!” Scott repeated. “It’s okay!” His face was completely gray by now, and shiny with sweat.

“What’s wrong with Dad?” Henry said, his lower lip starting to tremble.

We then entered the wacky hijinks phase of the evening, in which I tried to reassure Henry that his father was, despite all the blood and the nearing-death quality of his face, actually fine, and also keep Scott from getting up and, in the process, pass out again and this time crack his head open, which was really the last thing we needed. I had to get Henry out of the bathroom and back into bed, and at the same time keep Scott lying down for little while longer, and while I was in Henry’s room comforting him and explaining low blood pressure and fainting and also how sometimes a little blood, strategically placed, looks like a lot of blood, Scott was in the bathroom, inexplicably calling out I’M OKAY to the Universe, and I kept shouting DO NOT GET UP WAIT FOR ME, and possibly the alarm in my voice kept Henry from dropping back into slumber, and then I got Henry to laugh by poking a little fun at his dad's fainting tendencies, and it was going well until I used the phrase “ripped his toenail off” and made Henry weep for Scott’s toenail, weep as if it were his very own, and I had to comfort him all over again and then get back to the bathroom because Scott was all I’M GETTING UP, and for some reason he went over to the couch, which was far from the bedroom and in the exact opposite place he needed to be, and then I went back to Henry who was now mourning Scott’s toe AND freaking out over the blood, and it’s amazing that any of us got any sleep that night.


But we did. In the end, Scott’s poor pinky toe was bandaged, his healthful glow returned to his face, and he managed to get to Henry’s room to reassure him and then get back to bed, and Henry fell asleep, and then I did, somehow, eventually. And the next day the source of the original injury—a heavy wood file box, which had been emptied and left in the hallway so that it could be thrown out—was taken outside and tossed to the curb, where it could never hurt anyone again.


Here is a story for you.

We begin with Alice, walking her dog, listening to her iPod. Not bothering anyone. Turning the corner, she sees a small, furry blur rushing toward them. A dog, a comically tiny dog, is running out of a backyard, and headed right for Charlie. It's trailing a leash, so she figures the owner must be somewhere behind it.

Charlie, who is not a lover of other dogs, promptly freaks, attempting to get as far away from the other dog as his leash will allow. Alice tries to continue on, but the dog follows. Where is the owner? No one is showing up to explain why this puffball of a dog is free to accost the general public. The dog, whom Alice has named Teeny, appears to want to play, but the playing is taking the form of nippy neck-lunges. Charlie assumes that the dog wants to tear open his carotid. Unable to make a run for it, he finds himself running in frantic circles around Alice. Teeny follows. Yay! Fun times! thinks Teeny. (Actually, Teeny is probably thinking "tththththththththththththth" because Teeny has a brain no bigger than a nail clipping.) Having grabbed Teeny's leash, Alice is now thoroughly tangled. Her earphone cord somehow gets involved with the leashes. It's chaos. "Hello?" Alice calls out to the empty street. "Whose, uh, dog is this?"

Charlie backs away and slips out of his collar, freeing himself, and darts into the street. Teeny tries to follow. Alice screams for him to return, but he's no fool. And go back to that tiny scrabbly thing who wants at his precious neck parts? No thank you. He can still be seen at the far end of the block, peeing on a bush, eyeing that hateful tiny thing. Alice lets go of Teeny's leash and runs toward Charlie, but of course Teeny gets there first, causing Charlie to run farther away and cower behind a tree. Before both dogs run to the next town, Alice grabs Teeny's leash. She attempts to get Charlie to return to her using her most forceful tone of voice, and somehow he falls for it. Now she's managed to slip his collar back on him! Bet you didn't think that was going to happen! Meanwhile Teeny lunges and yaps and Charlie shrieks in horror. Someone's growling. Her? The dogs? Hard to say. She holds both dogs as far away as possible from each other. Now what?

There are at least two more minutes of Teeny lunging for Charlie and Charlie running in circles and Alice getting caught up in both leashes. There must be a smart way to solve this problem , Alice keeps thinking, I should be able to triumph over a dog who is the size of my fist. Is there anywhere to tie up Charlie for the time being? There is not. So she gets both dogs onto the porch of the house from where Teeny may or may not have come, and rings the doorbell. A larger dog barks and scrabbles at the front door. Charlie looks at Alice, as if to say, Are you inviting that dog out, too, because if you are I don't think I can live much longer.

She rings the doorbell. And rings again. Teeny tries to go for Charlie's neck one more time, and he lets out this mournful howl, as if he's calling out I AM TOO OLD FOR THIS SHIT. So Alice ties Teeny to a bench on the front porch of the house, and Alice and Charlie make their way back home. And either the owner of that house will arrive home and think, excellent, I see my evil tiny dog got out to wreak havoc yet again, or else, who left that curiously noisy koosh ball tied to my porch?


More than you wanted to know about the last 48 hours.

Well, the child recovered from his fever in time to spend the weekend at my in-laws, as we had planned. Scott and I had a great weekend, and because of this, on Sunday night, the Lord chose to strike me down with yet another bladder infection. Yea, he didst render me insensible with pain, such was his wrath, that we should dare enjoy each other's company without a child mewling and tugging at our belt loops.

It began at midnight on Sunday, when I thought, hmm, what's that mild twinge in my lower abdomen? I then made the mistake of going to the bathroom, instead of throwing myself out the window. The less said about what happened in the bathroom, the better, but I will say that I have never experienced pain like that; I would rather have given birth through my urethra, and I'm sorry I just wrote that but there it is. Do you want me to delete it? Too late! Already published!

We spent much of Sunday-into-Monday in the emergency room—and it was the cutest little emergency room you ever did see. So wee! So not spattered with blood and fear! Until I showed up! Although there was only one other guy there, some guy with a cough, CRY ME A RIVER, the ER staff still decided to make us wait for hours, or what seemed like hours. I think I heard music coming from the triage room. They couldn't hear my moaning and weeping over the music and the clog dancing—I bet there was clog dancing—or maybe they could, and it amused them. If they could have siphoned my tears into their cocktails, they probably would have. The devils!

Finally the doctor took a break from his carousing to see me, and declared that instead of giving me the medication that works for bladder infections, he would give me the medication that does not work. I thought this was an interesting strategy, but maybe one that would result in pain, instead of not-pain. He didn't seem to mind that idea. I tried to argue my point, but he had already had enough of me. He was done the moment he entered the room and asked me what was wrong, and I had the temerity to observe that I had a bladder infection. How dare I diagnose myself!

I wasn't even going to write about this. I sat down this morning and thought, "Don't write about your stupid bladder, Alice, no one wants to hear about it." But my hands keep on typing it out. I can't stop them. Anyway, the drugs didn't work, I wept and clawed at myself, the pain, oh the pain, I went to my doctor, he gave me the drugs that worked, I slept the rest of the day, my son came home and I kissed him all over his sweet head, and here I am. The sun is shining, and I have the ability to stand upright. It's a good day.



With one joke, my day is shot to hell.

Today my son laughed so hard, he threw up. And really, if you’re going to throw up for any reason, isn’t that the best one? I got the call from school that I have dreaded since his first day. Your son threw up, the school administrator said. But he’s fine! Just a bout of uncontrollable laughter! So you probably don’t need to come get him. But of course I did, how could I leave my poor post-vomit boy at school? Wouldn’t he be tired, or sore, or freaked out?

In short: no. If he was upset about anything, it was that I dared show up and ruin his good time. The teacher recounted to me how the other children barely registered that one of their own had just upchucked all over the lunch table. One of them—put down your corn dog when you read this—continued to eat the grapes that Henry had just thrown up on. I hasten to add that they were not the actual soiled grapes, but the few pristine grapes remaining in the bunch. I ask you, who could be so totally unfazed? Only a bunch of preschoolers, that’s who. Those adorable nitwits.

Anyway, on the way home Henry cheerfully shared with me the hilarity that caused his sickness. Are you ready? He and his best friend had invented Peanut Butter Man, “which were like our fingers walking across the table.” And Peanut Butter Man had a special gun that squirted peanut butter at bad guys. “It’s a peanut butter gun,” said Henry, sensibly.

“No,” said his friend, “It’s a penis butter gun.”


The End.

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