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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

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Sleep Is
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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. → 

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To the moon!

My dad visited Henry's class on Wednesday afternoon, to talk about his days as an astronaut.

All right, actually he was an engineer at Grumman Aerospace, where he worked on the design of the lunar module. Among other things. I am unclear as to what he did. Only I know it was impressive!

"You know," I told him, "You could have just said you were an astronaut. They were ready and willing to believe whatever you told them."

"Right," he laughed, and gave me that look. That do you mean it? I think you mean it, Alice, you nut, what kind of values did I teach you look.

"'It's Henry's grandpa, Buzz Aldrin!'"


Anyway, because Henry's grandpa built something (or designed something, WHATEVER) that made it to the moon, he was as good as an astronaut to these kids. They were in awe. "I like your glasses," one of them said, as soon as he walked in. "You look cool," another kid observed.


My favorite thing about visiting Henry's classroom is that the kids act like you're a celebrity. An adult, in our midst! But--but you're not normally here! Can I get your autograph?

Anyway, my dad told them all about the design of the lunar module, sometimes in more detail than I thought they could comprehend, but damned if they didn't eat it up.


Plus he had a cool model. That our household is going to get, one of these days. My parents have it in their basement. Their basement! That thing deserves a display case.


The kids were scandalized at the fact that the astronauts had to leave detritus on the moon. "That's littering," was the collective murmur. "And someday the moon-people will come to our planet and steal our children in order to get their revenge," I whispered to the back row of kids. (No I didn't.)

Showing various launch photos

One question no one asked: where did the astronauts go to the bathroom? Scott, my mom, and I were all standing in the back, waiting for that one. But alas.

"Could you imagine," I said later, "what would have happened if you had told them that astronauts wear diapers? Chaos! They would have had to end the day early!"

My mom sighed. "I knew I should have asked it. I was going to," she said.

"I would have told them that there was a special porthole built into the shuttle, out of which the astronauts could stick their butts," I said.

My dad just shook his head. It's not easy, being the smartest person in this family.

Reader Comments (57)

Funny, the kids in my daughter's class seem more critical than awestruck. "What did you do to your hair?" one asked last week in a way that really said, "WHY oh WHY did you do that horrible thing to your hair?" ;)
March 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShannon M.
I like that stylish kid in the front with his bangs sticking up. Is that Henry?
March 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKalisa
Okay, I must bite, even if I sound like a 5 year old. Do they really wear diapers?? As a nurse I always assumed they had catheters in. The rest, I just let myself drift into denial...
March 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMaureen@IslandRoar
I wish my dad was an astronaut! heehee. I did have a fireman daddy though, which was enough to buy the abundant love of my peers for a few months.
March 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea
Your dad is so cute! I have dad envy.
March 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMegan
HOLY CRAP! I want your Dad's autograph! I'm a closeted space nerd! This post has given me the confidence to come out.

The lunar module! More affectionately known as the LEM! OMG OMG you have the COOLEST Dad!

My dad once met and got the autograph of Gene Kranz, and he won't give it to me. That caused a rift.
March 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterErin @ Fierce Beagle
That. is. awesome. On all counts.
March 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBoston Mamas
Henry must've been so very proud. That's a special memory.
March 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlexandra
Another space nerd here - OMG, this is the most exciting thing I've read online all week, your Dad worked for Northrup Grumman on the LEM??? Are you kidding me?! That is too amazingly cool for words. Have you seen the "Spider" ep in the "From the Earth to the Moon" series? My favorite - I would give my right arm to have that model. Wow.
March 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEmily D
My 5 year old would have been high in hog heaven listening to your Dad. They had Space Week at his kindergarten last month and he ate that stuff up. Your Dad is like a rock star, but waaaay cooler.
March 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterZoë
hahahah love it. especially the closing. too funny.

March 19, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteramigurumigirl
I think your dad is cool. My dad is a psychiatrist, which meant growing up my classmates would be appalled that he saw patients at my house, where he had an office in the back. "Really? Crazy people?" [in a whisper] "Did they pee in your BATHROOM?"
March 19, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermermil
Your dad is so classic. I love his shirt. And his white hair. The whole thing, actually.
March 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLPC
I love your dad. Does he love me?

Tell him I live in the same town as NASA. Surely that would do it.
so so awesome.
March 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterIsabel @AlphaMom
This post, it made my day. It is SO SWEET to think about how Henry's grandpa loves him...enough to appear in class! With a model! I hope someday my dad will do the same for my son. Thanks so much, Alice, for sharing this.
March 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie
I guess I'm going to have to give up on my "they never really landed on the moon" conspiracy theory, now. That model looks incredible.
March 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRachel
It's cool that they were actually enthralled instead of like, wishing they could go home and play Wii, or sit inside and watch some lame show on TV.
March 19, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterstatia
Your father is so freaking adorable. I want to put him in my pocket and bring him home and stick him in my own private Grandfather Museum. (I have a weird -- but definitely not creepy! -- thing about little old men and little old ladies. I want to collect them all and hug them to bits and, like, sit and drink tea and play board games with them all the time.)
March 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMiss B
My dad is really, really un-little, Miss B. And I think he would cast a stern eye at the idea of being forced to drink tea and/or play board games. If you want to discuss German literature over some Johnny Walker, however, he'd be up for that. 
March 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlice Bradley
i have a lunar connection too! my dad was a mechanic in the clean room at cape canaveral during the apollo missions, so he was one of the last people to touch each lunar module before they were launched. i have tons of lunar mission memorabilia... i think i have copies of those same pics your dad is showing henry's class!
March 19, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterwendy
My grandpa was an aeronautical engineer who did work on something that landed on the moon, I believe his name is on something still on the moon. (Can you tell how up I am on the family history?) And now I feel motivated to grill my mom about what exactly he did...
March 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKatie Ann
This is totally sweet.

Although, I think I used to wear the same glasses your dad is wearing and I'm not completely sure how to feel about that.
March 19, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjennifer in sf
Katie Ann, my dad's name is on a plaque on the moon! I bet your grandpa's is, as well! 
March 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlice Bradley
Love this story! Grandpas are the best!
March 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

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