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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
For The Weak

Chicago Review Press

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Let's Panic

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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. → 

« Addendum. And pictures! | Main | Three questions »

The Indignant Kindergartener.

Henry is shocked—SHOCKED!—that I dare move around in space and talk to him and have the gall to ask him questions. He learned from someone (I'm still searching for the source, and I will find it, oh, and how that person will rue the day) to answer every question with the handy phrase "Of course I (fill in the blank)." The above should be stated in weary indignation, as if the questioner should really know better by now. "Did you have a good day at school?" I might ask. "OF COURSE I didn't!" This is usually followed by violent eye-rolling and the occasional drop to the floor. His horror that I would dare ask such a question renders him incapable of bearing his own weight. His legs have simply given out from the shock. And yet here she comes again, with more questions! "Did you have gym today?" The eyes roll around and around. "OF COURSE. And it was BORING. All we did was WALK in CIRCLES."

Even if the response is positive, the affect is the same. "OF COURSE I had a good day at school. I only had the BEST DAY EVER. AAAAAAH." "And what made it the best day ever?" I might ask. "Obviously, that I WAS THE BEST KID," he booms, "And of course I ANSWERED EVERY QUESTION RIGHT." Then he throws himself to the ground because he can't believe he has to WALK with ME. GOD.

On the other hand, he's answering my questions this year. He can act as tough as he likes, but I'm still getting the precious, precious info. I realize that being excited to hear that "Nicholas STEPPED on my FOOT during LINE-UP" is pretty pathetic. But seriously, it's the most he's told me since the day he entered preschool, all those many years ago, when he wanted to marry me but didn't want to tell me what they ate during snack time.

Reader Comments (54)

Wow, the one time I dared to sass my mother like that, I lost TV for a week and had to write a one-page essay on respecting one's elders. I was five. :) "No lying, no backtalk and no whining" were the cardinal rules at our house and you broke them at the expense of your fanny. Lying was the worst--automatic loss of all privileges plus written apology, sarcasm and eye rolling second worst--automatic restricted privileges for a week, lectures, written apology, and whining was an automatic loss of privileges for a day. It sounds Draconian, but damn if we weren't respectful.
September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDeanna
oh yes, my third grader will only tell me about his day to stall bedtime or beg for money. "buuuut mooooom! i dropped my lunch tray and it was the worst day of my life". ahhh, kids.
September 16, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterkimblahg
My kid used to want to marry me. He used to say that all the time. One time I said to him, "Aw, honey, that is so sweet! But son's don't marry their moms." And he asked why not (of course). And I told him they just don't, but he shouldn't worry about it because by the time he was old enough to get married he would for sure not *want* to marry me. He looked shocked and horrified and almost kind of hurt and said, "What do you mean?!" Isn't that adorable?!! And I am going to take great delight in reminding him of that when he announces he's gotten engaged. Heh.
September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTitanKT
Oh my god, my preschooler also wants to marry me but won't tell me about his days. Are the two traits linked somehow?
September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTammy
Has he been watching Napoleon Dynamite?
September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSara
We don't have the "of course" conversations. Ours are more along the lines of "nothing" and "fine" and my personal favorite, the "I don't remember" conversations.

What did you do at school today?


How was recess?


Who did you play with?

I can't remember

September 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMotherhoodTheUltimateSurvivor
"Rue the day? Who talks like that?" - "Real Genius". Now, I will have pull quotes in my head all day. Thanks, Alice!
September 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJen
I am simaltaneously laughing and horrified. It starts this quickly? I thought I had to wait until the teenage years to be introduced to eye-rolling and indignance... Alice, say it ain't so!!
September 17, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterbessie.viola
I hurt for my parents when your posts allow me retrospectives about what I put them through.
September 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSarahThe
I wait for my five yr old to tell her 3 yr old sister about her day. This is the only way I get any info.
September 17, 2008 | Unregistered Commentergorillabuns
Kindergarden: learning how to act way older than you are while being taught things way younger than you are. Seriously, though, my daughter turned into a little pain in the neck. She was a grump, spoiled, mean, crys-a-lot girl for the first three quarters of kindergarden, and I still don't quite get it. She'd been in daycare 3 days a week, 8 hours a day her whole life up until then, and suddenly a half day for 5 days was too much? Oy. And before that, she'd always been a really *good* kid; friendly, helpful, sweet, funny, cooperative. I was really at wits end. We started more days than I care to remember with arguments. Although, I am happy to report that second grade has started off with a very pleasant bang.
September 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterImanitsud
My son never wanted to tell me anything in preschool. He would only talk about his day at dinner and that conversation would maybe last five minutes at most. Now that he's in kindergarten I get soooo much information. Of course, we're only two weeks in. I won't at all be surprised if this changes by next month. My only problem with all the info is that sometimes it drifts into fantasy territory. My son seems to acquire superhero powers from time to time. It makes me wonder if some of the more plausible stories are embellished too.
September 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterHolly
My daughter is in K this year and "can't remember" anything that happens until bedtime, when every single detail of her day comes spilling out. Even when my little darling punched a kid last week for telling her she couldn't run fast, it was gone from her memory until I told her that the teacher had to tell me things like that. Then her selective amnesia was cured as we discussed bullies and the zero-tolerance violence policy. Yikes! My son is in first grade and has been silent since he started pre-school 3 years ago. He just started this: he gets in the car and says, "OK mom, what questions do you have today" knowing by now that I'm going to keep asking whether he is talking or not and wanting to get it all over with as soon as possible. We try very hard to have dinner together every night, even if it means slamming down chicken nuggets 5 minutes before soccer. Because that is our set aside time all together, we started "best and worst" a few years ago to find out what was going on with our son during preschool. We have to listen without judgement to the best and worst events of the day and then share our own and often this leads to a good discussion about how to handle social situations like second-graders making fun of your underpants in the bathroom or how to stand up to a little meanie without punching him, or just laughing at whatever "best" funny thing happened that day. It's been great for our family.
September 17, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterlurky mommy
Persevere, lady. If you give up, they won't talk to you again until they are 25.
September 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAimee Greeblemonkey
Holy Freakin' Crap. That Nerve essay was soooo funny! Although I almost hurt myself when I choked on my coffee at the phrase "labial folds"......
September 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKelley
Enjoyed the nervy essay Alice! At thirteen (and I realize this is a totally different animal than a five-year-old) my son has taken to answering every question with a shrug. And nothing else. I do remember him becoming a sullen teen around the age of six and then re-emerging as a pretty pleasant preteen for a few years.
September 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRobin
I'm lucky if I can get anything but one word responces from my second grader.
September 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSarcasta-Mom
At least I'm not alone in the world of the Kindergarten mommies!! While I'm getting a few tidbits, I might be better off not asking when I recall last week's exchange about who sits at his table:Me: "So, do you have fun with the kids that sit at your table?"D: "Well, my friend told me his daddy is in prison"Me: "Oh. I hope you are nice to S every day"D: "I try mom, but sometimes he is grumpy"Me: (not sure what to say, stumbling...) "Well, sometimes things make you grumpy"Next day we're riding in the car and out of the blue he says--D: "Mom, Can I tell you something? -- It's not my friend's Daddy that is in prison, it is his sister's Daddy"Ah -- the plot thickens.

I'm lucky to have one just starting preschool so I can remember to enjoy the innocence too!!
September 17, 2008 | Unregistered Commentersusi
Oh Susi, I have to say I laughed out loud when I read your comment. "It's not my friend's daddy, it is his sister's daddy."

The next revelation will probably be, "He and his sister have different daddys."

I find when I am given information that I simply have no response for, "That's interesting," is usually the best response. Feel free to borrow! :)
September 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAstrogirl426
Ooooh, Susi, I had one like that last year helping out in my daughter's kindergarten class - lining up to wash hands before lunch, little miss L says "yeah, my daddy is in jail. He knocked someone down and then kicked them." What else can you say but "okay L, your turn to wash your hands!"
September 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnne
Dang, my daughter is TWO and she does this crap. "Did you have fun at preschool?" "Yup." "What was your favorite thing?" "Snack." "Who did you play with?" "Michael." And so on. And then, out of the blue: "A little boy threw up red because he ate strawberries and his mommy helped him and he was coughing but then he started to barf and it was all red and why did he barf? Why, Mommy? Why? Why? Why did he barf?" And with 2-year-olds you have to tell (or hear them tell) every story hundreds of times, and answer every "why," and jeezus.

How much preschool tuition do you pay for a detailed report at the end of every day?!

September 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBeth
My niece does the same thing. I guess it must be a five year old thing and not the result of her being a sassy little punk. I have two boys (2 yrs and 4 months) so I was just thinking it was a girl thing. But I guess it's another phase I have to look forward too.
September 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAshley
Henry is flippin awesome.
September 18, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterdawn
Oh, that last line. How I wish I could have said it. (That's been my issue with writing lately - reading too much good stuff and thinking, "Oh well, now I can never use that analogy.")
September 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMignon
My Kidlet is three, and she rolls her eyes with such... disgust... that I'm concerned she might injure herself.
September 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

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