Eden M. Kennedy

mission accomplished, pal

Eden M. Kennedy is the co-author (with Alice Bradley) of the book Let's Panic About Babies! (St. Martin's Press, 2011).

A former college-radio DJ, Mrs. Kennedy has driven cross-country six times in a 1973 Volkswagen Bug and enjoys standing on her head.

Currently she works at a nonprofit and is just about finished writing her first novel.

Filtering by Tag: Let's Panic

Creepy little thoughts

I don't ever really think about my archives because once I get something off my chest I'm usually done with it. But the other day I was thinking about the post I wrote when my son told me he liked to hurt dogs. Those were the days! When I could admit difficult parenting moments and get the almost-full support of the Internet. I got some anonymous comments from what we used to call "concern trolls" who were worried that Jackson would grow up to be a serial killer, one of whom suggested I take him to an abused animal shelter and show him what it looks like for dogs to be horribly mistreated, which -- would they even let a four-year-old into a place like that? If I had explained to them that he liked to pinch his dog's ears, would they have said, "Oh, by all means, let's show him some bait dogs that have been starved half to death so that you can teach him that grown ups can be far more cruel than he'd ever imagined, because we want to make sure he feels just as helpless and traumatized as these puppies." I am so glad I don't blog about my kid anymore.

Rita read that post and ended up including it in her parenting anthology, Sleep Is For The Weak. Knowing what I know now, that Jackson was going through a phase that's weirdly normal for a lot of kids, and that he was not on his way to becoming a sociopath, I am tempted to delete that post because it could end up embarrassing him when he's older. I am also tempted to rewrite it because I come off as fairly desperate to reassure myself that he was just kidding. He wasn't, of course. I simply had no idea how to handle what he was telling me.

Fortunately, the Internet can smell insecurity on you. Then they pinch your ears until you cry! Who's the sociopath now, Internet?

What made that post necessary for me then and the reason I'm leaving it up for now are the comments that said, Oh yeah, I used to do that as a kid but I grew out of it, and, Thank you for writing this because my kid is doing the same thing and I am freaking out.

Now, I'm not an expert in anything, but -- okay, would you like to know what irony is? My dog was just sitting in the living room barking at nothing and I said, "Oh my God, Peewee, I am going to fucking kill you if you don't shut up!" and then I took two chew toys and I dangled them over his head to get him to follow me into the bedroom, and then I threw them on the floor and ran out of the room and closed the door. He is now trapped in a squeaky, quilt-filled prison.

People used to ask me and Alice if we were going to do a sequel to Let's Panic About Babies!, something that would take you from toddlerhood through teenagers, but since neither of us knew anything about parenting a teenager the idea never got out of the gate. I still have no idea how to parent a teenager. It has occasionally occurred to me that I wouldn't mind swaddling Jackson, who is now eleven, but only because I think it might make it more of a challenge for him to play Grand Theft Auto IV.

Swaddled, by Oslo Davis


I've also felt guilty for drawing a mustache on one of his baby pictures and putting it into Let's Panic!

creepy baby

He said it was okay that I did this -- and please believe me when I tell you that I asked for his permission at least a dozen times before the book went to print -- but then when the book came out he was all, I don't like that you did that! and I was all, Goddamnit I asked you a hundred* times!

I just looked into the bedroom and Peewee was lying on the bed with his head on my pillow, snoring. HE'S NOT DEAD AND I DID NOT KILL HIM, EVEN THOUGH IT SEEMED LIKE A GREAT IDEA TWENTY MINUTES AGO. But now I have another idea.


swaddled dog

Excuse me while I go register dogswaddling.com.

Rita is doing a giveaway because it's the fifth anniversary of Sleep Is For The Weak and the second anniversary of Let's Panic About Babies! Alice is doing one here, and I am doing it, too, because that seems to be what I do these days, give away books in exchange for you leaving your life story in the comments! It's in honor of Mother's Day, which is coming up pretty soon. If you would like to win a parenting double whammy of Sleep and Panic, leave a comment telling us the thing that worried everyone most about you when you were a kid, and how you grew up to be okay anyway. I mean, yes: unless you're dead we won't really know how it all works out, maybe the urge to put beans up your nose will return when you're 73 and make fools of us all. But if you feel relatively sure you're in the clear, psychologically and spiritually.

UPDATE: Our winner is frequent commenter and long-time Fussy supporter DGM. Thanks to each of you who spilled out a small portion of your guts in contribution to this post.

I haven't been avoiding you!

I didn't really mean to stop posting at the end of November, I was on a roll! But then December 1 was World AIDS Day, where you're supposed to go silent to honor all the people who've died of AIDS, and then I had to work the next few days in a row, and then bam! I was on a plane to New York reading a book about midwifery and preparing for this: This is the set in Brooklyn where Alice and I filmed the first twelve episodes of MomEd, a new series for cafemom.com. We talked about childbirth and yes, I know we are not childbirth experts, we are fake-childbirth-book-writing experts. Fortunately, not just for us but for everyone who ends up watching these videos, they hired a crack researcher and booked actual experts to sit next to us and tell us how it's done. Saul, for example:

Saul is an actual Park Avenue doctor who performed a c-section on our other guest, Lyss, who's the co-author of If You Give a Mom a Martini (which is not an adult version of the If You Give a Moose a Muffin series, though that might have some potential). Saul wanted to sing show tunes but Alice wouldn't let him! So we talked about c-sections instead.

Whenever we had to start a new take, I'd get my energy up by thinking, "I get to be in a video!" And then I'd go EEEEEEE! in my head and Ben, the director (far left), would smile because he could read my thoughts.

Joe was our prop master and Haley was our logistics coordinator and I'm sorry I don't have better pictures of either of them. The prop baby was just sort of inert after Alice dropped it on its head. Ha ha! Kidding. It was plastic.

We did one episode sitting in a birthing tub with a British person!

We also had to shoot separate footage of Alice and me explaining medical terms. We called these "knowledge transfers" because this was where we transferred knowledge from cue cards to the camera. We are magical conveyor belts of  wisdom.

I know, the cue card guy was cute! I don't know why I look slightly jaundiced here. Perhaps my bilirubin was low.

We shot in the studio for three days and then went out on the street Friday morning to corral Park Slope moms into telling us their birth stories, and may I say that Park Slope moms are uniformly adorable. Every Brooklyn mom we spoke to was cogent, thoughtful, articulate, brave, and humbled by what they went through to get their babies out, and it was an honor to talk to every one of them.

Then I got on a plane and developed a massive chest cold, from which I am still recovering, five days later. I am so happy to be in my own bed, there are no words. And now I'm going to take another nap, the end.

Day Twenty-five

I'm still a little bloated and hung over from Thanksgiving, and a little ashamed of all the things Yoda knows about me now, but I still managed to suck it up and be productive today. Alice and I did a test-run of the podcast we're going to start doing next year and I was totally encouraged by how well we made almost all of our technology mesh. (I was especially impressed when Alice figured out how to Skype through her iPad. It's quick thinking like that that wins wars, people.) We may be the only ones who find us funny, of course, but then that's what podcasting is about half the time anyway. When I was done patting myself on the back about the podcast, I finished writing a Popcorn Whisperer post that's supposed to be about shopping in the movies. I may not have been all that clear about my topic because the thing most people seem to take away from it is that someone needs to start a service that will deliver Johnny Depp to their door. I'm not sure that's what Dell had in mind when they offered to sponsor the post, but when you hire Mrs. Kennedy, you get a lot of things that don't necessarily make sense right away. Give it time, though, and it'll all soak in.

The last thing you might want to see is my post for The Stir, entitled "Pepper Spray: It's Not Just for Dinner Anymore." Because I am topical as hell. Also, I wanted to give you something that will make sense right away, in case you're busy and don't have time to let your knowledge steep.


It costs me $70.00 to fill up my car at current prices. SEVENTY DOLLARS. And then I have to do it twice a month, sometimes more. What else can you get for $70? Ten movie tickets. Thirty-five medium-sized Fuji apples. Nine-tenths of a Snowball microphone. When I was a kid I drove a Volkswagen Bug with a ten-gallon tank and thus it cost me $10.00 to fill it up. One-dollar-a-gallon gas might be the only thing I remember miss about the Reagan years. I only bring this up because I drove down to MaxFunCon last weekend and whenever I drive to a conference I tend to forget to save my gas receipts for tax purposes, and I would have forgotten this time, too, except that I'd been strangely compelled to print out my last two gas receipts, and then photograph them. Like you do.

The pump just happened to shut off and charge me these oddly symmetrical prices for gas, so naturally I printed them out so I could ponder their significance a little longer. And add them to my collection of tiny bits of paper that have nowhere else to go.

I'll just put them . . . here.

Because I knew I had a three-hour-plus drive ahead of me, I checked out a few audio books from the library for the ride, one of which was by Antonia's father, called Sharpe's Trafalgar. It's one of a series of books with the main character of Richard Sharpe, a battle-scarred professional soldier who will kill a man as efficiently and horribly as possible while in the midst of an affair with a deceitful yet golden-hearted married woman, and then you will also learn a lot about nineteenth-century shipbuilding. The story could not have been more disconnected with the reality of driving through Encino on my way to a convention full of nice people I only knew because they sound real on the Internet.

I feel as though the maxim Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid had particular resonance on this occasion, for I had boldly signed up to go to a place where I knew basically no one, and a mighty force indeed came to my aid. Maggie decided to go to the conference just a few days before it happened and also got to the Lake Arrowhead venue first, got us registered for the same room, and instantly cut down my social anxiety by half. Maggie also happened to know 500% more people there than I did so she was able to introduce me to several handsome, self-deprecating, well-dressed, friendly people I might not otherwise have spoken to, and once again I was reminded how lucky and grateful I am for her generosity and friendship. Too bad I don't have any pictures of her. I have one of Greg and Matt though, which also includes Jon's hand and shoulder:

In looking up a link for Greg just now I realized that he's the author of Rainy Day Fun and Games for Toddler and Total Bastard and I am really mad that I didn't know that when I met him because I totally followed the blog tour for that book and got flamed by some guy named Anonymous as a result. Remind me to tell him that story next time we meet.

I really blew it on the picture-taking end of things, but I'll show you what I've got anyway.

Here's a picture of John Hodgman's benediction at the opening of the conference. He passed around several bottles of what tasted like liquor made out of brussels sprouts and then played a ukelele and sang La Vie En Rose with John Roderick. This simple presentation, along with the fact of the conference organizer, Jesse Thorn, being so kind and funny and such a gentleman, set the tone for the whole weekend. Jesse created this event with the underlying notion that creative people in general (and comedy nerds in specific) will come together to be awesome in a beautiful setting; that everyone will be open to meeting you; and that we're all potentially best friends. It is in this spirit that people were encouraged to leave their bullshit at home. As far as I can tell, setting that intention worked. Jesse Thorn is a smart man.

And he is married to a smart, beautiful, pregnant woman named Theresa who claimed to have a copy of Let's Panic! on her nightstand. She didn't have to say that, but she did and I want so much to believe her.

What else? I went to a session on podcasting presented by Adam Lisagor. I'd been thinking about doing some podcasting myself and now I feel far more capable of doing what it takes to make that happen. Adam activated my dormant editing genes merely by teasing apart a couple of episodes of You Look Nice Today, and the clarity and delight that he brought to the process helped my brain-heart start to blossom.

I also took a "Yoga for Comedy Nerds" class with Neal Pollack, which we did on a high platform overlooking the top of a mountain and which I did without benefit of sunscreen. I can't complain, though, because it gave me a hour to appreciate the beauty of our natural surroundings before heading right back into a series of darkened spaces to hear more hardworking people talk about what they do.

Hodgman interviewed Lee Unkrich, the director of Toy Story 3. Naturally I took a picture of the event before they even walked onstage. That's just how I operate. Maximum listening efficiency was MINE.

However, the next morning I did happen to end up having breakfast at Mr. Unkrich's table. I told him how my Barbie and my Malibu Ken used to sleep naked in a shoe box under my bed, which didn't appear to shock (or interest) him in the slightest. I forgot to tell him how I'd just been to Dreamworks and that based on what I learned from that New Yorker article, purely on the basis of workplace mindblowingness, Pixar wins. Even though I thought Kung Fu Panda 2 killed. We'll see if with Cars 2 Pixar can clear the bar Dreamworks has set.

On a final note, the whole weekend earned me my podcasting supporter badge! Now I just need to decide what to sew it onto. A sash of some sort, perhaps. Or a jaunty beret.

More stuff happened and more people were met but that's enough for now, I think. Go see Maggie's post for better pictures and another take on the whole weekend.

Mother's Day Is Nearly Upon Us

I like nothing more than a good holiday where I feel completely justified in buying myself a bunch of stuff that celebrates just how awesome I am. Also, if it's a national holiday that excludes people who identify primarily as male, and divides women into uneasy procreational factions? EVEN BETTER. I've been unloading a lot of stuff on eBay and Craigslist, so I felt like as long as I'm stimulating the local economy and a certain day is just around the corner, I could go ahead and buy myself a little treat.

It's a used Raleigh three-speed with bad brakes and it suits me to a tee. I'm not one to anthropomorphize but I may have to give her a name.

Something that says Sherwood Forest with a hint of World War II, perhaps.

Some of you may be wondering how Let's Panic is doing, sales-wise, and the answer is that it's chugging along nicely and if all goes well we'll get a little bump from Mother's Day. Luckily, St. Martin's still has a couple of gift bags left over from when the book first came out, so I'm giving one away! It's a tote bag that contains a copy of the book, as well as:

- an electric "back" massager - a stress ball thing for squeezing in your sweaty fist - an anti-stress bath soak - a meditation CD - Anne Taintor shot glasses - an exclusive Let's Panic Subversive Cross Stitch set

I have personally bought two of those cross-stitch sets. I haven't started stitching them yet because Osama bin Laden is dead under the cold, dark sea and I've been far too busy hugging my son and remembering 9/11 to look for my embroidery needle.

If you want to win the gift bag, leave a comment telling us something you learned from your mom, good or bad, I don't care. One thing my mom taught me was always to plant lily of the valley in the shade. Another thing she taught me was not to buy more yarn than you can hope to knit in your lifetime unless you want your estate sale to be set upon by frizzy-haired women in comfortable shoes.

I'll choose a random commenter and announce the winner on Thursday Wednesday afternoon! You may not get your bag in time for Mother's Day (because I should have done this last week) but we'll try!