What happens when two of the funniest ladies on the internet, Alice Bradley and Eden M. Kennedy, got together and wrote their own version of "What to Expect When You're Expecting …"? "Let's Panic About Babies!" their tongue-in-cheek, hilarious look at pregnancy and parenthood. Think Mad Magazine (yes, they have pictures, too!) on pregnancy horomones. Alice and Eden took time out of their book tour schedule to answer a few of our questions about their book; their kids (Alice has a son, Henry, age eight. Eden's son, Jackson, is nine); and how they got to be so great.
1. Where did you come up with the idea for your website/book?
Eden: We both read too many books when we were pregnant, and then when our babies came we naturally read too many parenting books. Let's Panic! was a natural outgrowth of parenting-manual saturation.
Alice: The idea blossomed in the dark recesses of our minds. Like a fungus.
2. How did you both come to collaborate on your “Panic” website and then the book? Was it a difficult process?
Eden: Once we found the voice of the book, it practically wrote itself. Giving yourself license to write in the persona of a judgmental pregnancy professional is pretty liberating. Alice and I each have our own slightly different tone, but we collaborated on every sentence of the book, so it all came together pretty seamlessly.
Alice: We actually held hands while writing. The mechanics of that were even trickier than you might think. But oh, the togetherness! We call ourselves "attachment writers."
3. What was your reaction when you found out you were pregnant? Was there a lot of panicking?
Eden: I wasn't actually trying to get pregnant, so I spent about a month trying to force my period to come through sheer force of will. After I moved out of denial and into my first trimester I was okay, and my pregnancy went pretty well! Then the baby showed up. THAT'S when the panic started.
Alice: We had been trying to get me pregnant, so I both wanted and expected a positive result. And yet, when I found out I was pregnant, I was blissful for, and I am not kidding, 7 minutes. And then I grabbed a paper bag to hyperventilate into. When my husband advised me to calm down, I screeched "YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT IT'S LIKE HAVING SOMETHING GROWING INSIDE YOU." I completely lost my sense of humor at that moment, and didn't get it back until well into my second trimester.
4. Besides a good laugh, what do you hope other parents/care-takers will get out of reading your book?
Eden: A fondness for Brian Dennehy, and a new awareness of the challenges badgers face as they try to choose the right Mom's Group.
Alice: An uncontrollable urge to buy copies of our book for everyone they know. Also, the ability to recognize and laugh at some of the sillier aspects of the "serious" parenting books they read.
5. If we were to film a reality show of your family, what would the camera catch in a typical day?
Eden: Oh, God, everything. Delight, anger, hopelessness, support, cajoling, snacks, TV, profanity, breakdancing, and beer.
Alice: Eden, stop copying me!
6. What's one of your favorite daily rituals with your child?
Eden: There's usually a point in the evening after homework and dinner where I can wrestle Jackson into some deep snuggling time on the couch. I will despair when he starts thinking he's too old to let me gnaw on his cheeks. He's nine, so that day's not too far away.
Alice: I like the conversations Henry strikes up during the fifteen minute walk home from school. Recent topics include which superpower we'd choose if we could only have one, or where we'd go in time if we had a Time Traveling Toilet.
7. Are there any traditions from your childhood that you have now passed on to your child?
Eden: Reading, reading, reading. Jackson's more of an athletic kid so he'd rather run around or play a video game than read, but he loves being read to, and we're slowly finding things he loves to read by himself. The Wimpy Kid series, for example, and Rick Riordan.
Alice: Once again, Eden stole my answer. Nothing makes me happier than seeing Henry totally engrossed in a book. I used to read to the exclusion of everything else, and Henry's not THAT obsessed, but he does love a good story.
8. What is a current parenting challenge you are encountering and how are you handling it?
Eden: It took us so long to sort out Jackson's bedtime issues that I don't even want to talk about it. I wanted to teach him to sleep in his own bed and my husband wanted to co-sleep. It got sort of messy there, for about seven years, but we're good now! He turns out his light at the appointed hour, but I know he's in there reading under his covers with a flashlight.
Alice: Getting Henry out of his comfort zone. He really treasures his alone time and hates after-school activities of all kinds, but he also needs to start branching out and pushing himself a little. So after much shouting (on both sides) we got him to try karate. There were tears (I won't say from which side) but in the end he came around. Reluctantly.
9. If your kids (or you) had to pick their favorite kid-friendly place in their respective home cities, where would it be?
Eden: We have a combination toy store and floral shop in our tiny, tiny town that Jackson adores — they have science-project toys and the whole place smells like roses. After that he'd probably choose the municipal basketball courts. Or McDonald's, because I have failed as a parent.
Alice: Henry would choose Target, because that's where the Legos are. I would choose Prospect Park, which is huge and perfect for a kid who likes to explore.
10. Lastly, if you could tell your younger self one thing you know now, what would it be?
Eden: My younger self did a pretty good job! And honestly, if I told her not to panic, we might not have this book. I've learned through hard experience how to fall back on my sense of humor when things reach a stalemate with my son, and it always helps us to break through. I love him so much it gives me a headache. And that's how it's supposed to be.
Alice: To get over perfectionism. Just get over it. It's better to try and fail than not to try. This is also, incidentally, a lesson we are doing our damnedest to teach our son.
**BONUS QUESTION, which Alice thought would make a good contribution:
How did you ladies get to be so great?
Eden: I am a river to my people.
Alice: Good genes, hours of etiquette training, years of practice. Also: orthodontia.