Being Kendra: Cribs, Cocktails, and Getting My Sexy Backby Kendra Wilkinson
In the intimate follow up to her New York Times bestselling memoir Sliding Into Home, Kendra Wilkinson reveals the naked truth about her life after Playboy—the secrets behind regaining her trademark sexy body, the trials of her life as a new mother, the tricks of sustaining her long-distance romance with Hank, and her busy adventures juggling the needs of her husband and baby with the demands of her hit TV career. As fans of Dancing with the Stars and Girls Next Door know, Kendra is able to tell it like it is, baring everything she’s learned about love, hardship, body image, and perseverance, all with the infectious optimism that the world loves her for.
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Being KendraCribs, Cocktails, and Getting My Sexy Back
By Kendra Wilkinson
It BooksCopyright © 2011 Kendra Wilkinson
All right reserved.
MOTHERHOOD 2.0The Plight of the Modern-Day Mom
Is this yours or the baby's?"
My husband, Hank, held up a tiny jersey for me to look at.
He hunched over open boxes in our bedroom and, of course, a big
pile of my clothes mixed in with some of the baby's things. When I
replied that it was mine, he winked and put it in a box labeled
We werefinishing up a grueling few days of packing
our StudioCity apartmentthe most recent in a long string
ofapartments and houses in the last two years. But this move was
the mostexciting, and hopefully the last. We were moving into our
firstfamily houseour forever homein Calabasas, California.
They sayhome is where the heart is. Well, my heart is with my
family, butI still wanted that permanent safe haven for my one-
and-a-half-year-oldson, Hank Jr. And for myself.
Moving inwas a monumental occasion because other than my
marriageand my family I had very little else to call my own. I
neededsomewhere to put down roots. It took us a while to find
the perfecthousesomeplace where paparazzi can't get into the
gates,stalkers can't camp out, and random people can't drive by to
look andsay, "Hey! It's Kendra's house!" I finally felt like the house
hadeverything we were looking for, but for me the biggest selling
point waswhen I walked into the community and heard the sound
of childrenplaying outside and splashing around in the pool next
door. Itwas music to my ears. And it really was the main reason
why Ibought my house. We looked in a million different
communitiesaround Los Angeles, some of them high-end with lots of
celebrityresidents, but one thing was missing: kids. And that's not
right formy family. I wanted to give Hank Jr. a neighborhood full
of kids hisage and a family-oriented safe place for him to grow up,
not tomention fulfilling my own needs of a five bedroom house
with apool. It's big by normal standards, but it's well proportioned.
Nothingabout it is over-the-top or extravagantit's a home not a
Hank spenta lot of time at the house getting everything ready
for us tomove inpainting every room and dealing with a couple
small fixeshere and there. I was rehearsing and filming for Dancing
with theStars, so he worked his ass off trying to get everything in
place,including baby-proofing. We had to make sure nothing about
our newhome would be a danger to baby Hank. The pool is fenced
all the wayaround with metal bars. We like to barbecue a lot, so
we havecaps on the on/off switch for the grills since Hank Jr. loves
to pressbuttons. We put covers over anything that gets hot, we
installeddoor handle locks on all the doors to make sure Hank Jr.
can't getout, and we put in a metal gate at the top and bottom of our
stairway.And, of course, socket covers all over the house.
One of thelast times Hank went to our dream house before we
officiallymoved in, he took baby Hank with him and the next door
neighborsinvited Hank Jr. over to play with their kids! That made
me sohappy, I just started to cry. Someone could offer me a million
dollars totake a different house and I wouldn't care. Money is just
money, butwhen I heard that there were kids baby Hank's age right
next door,I was thrilled. He'll probably grow up with them and go
to schoolwith them. This is where lifelong bonding begins. I imagined
hiswonderful childhood unfolding in that neighborhood. It's
the best thingI could have heard.
And sincewe moved in, I've met all of the neighbors and they
areawesome. I know I made the right choice. Hank was over there
a lot morethan me because I was on DWTS, so he got a head start
on meetingeveryone. But after DWTS, I finally got to know them
all. We'drun into each other on the street, we'd see each other in
our yards,and we'd just start talking about the neighborhoodit's
somethingwe all had in common! It was all just so easy. We felt like
we'd beenliving there for twenty years.
This was soimportant to me because for so long we had been
moving babyHank around to a million cities, in a million homes,
and neverletting him get to adjust. We were in cities we didn't
know andwithout friends or family for support. I tried to keep
him indoorsand away from the elements, whether that was freezing
temperatures,city life, or just anything we couldn't control.
But I don'twant to hide little Hank from life anymore. I may be
scared ofall the dangers out there, but I'm not going to keep my
son safelyindoors and shrouded in bubble wrap. I'll book him play
dates ortake him to the park, and whether the parents know I'm a
celebrityor not doesn't matter. Raising kids in Hollywood doesn't
mean yourkid has to only grow up with famous friends. While I
will alwaysbe paying close attention to anyone who is approaching
my child,what's most important is getting baby Hank out there
with otherbabies and letting him develop the social skills he needs.
I take babyHank to a baby class every Thursday for a twelve-
to-twenty-monthclass where he can socialize. I've noticed that
I'm one ofthe only parents who allow their child to go off on his
own andexplore. Every other parent is attached to his or her kid
like glue.When their child wants to interact with Hank Jr., their
parentsjust grab them and say, "No, no, no. Be nice." And all I can
think tomyself is, "What do you mean 'be nice'? The baby didn't
doanything! Are you serious?" If the kids tap one another to talk,
let themtap each other. That's not hitting. I know when baby Hank
is tryingto hit someone and when he's just exploring or trying to
makefriends. I think parents meddle in their kids' business way too
I have beennoticing that kids are a lot more sheltered than they
used to be.I don't know if it's me or society, but it seems like
parents aremore protective of their kids than ever. Not me; I'm all
aboutlittle Hank Jr. falling down and knowing what it is to hurt.
I want himto be tough. I am raising a kid, not a porcelain egg. He
deserves tolearn for himself what it's like to fall or get a scratch.
Recently inour old neighborhood I took baby Hank to the park
on a Sundayand there were only five kids there on a sunny day in
L.A. Whereis everyone? Now, I don't expect Shiloh Jolie-Pitt to
be there,but surely more than five kids would want to play outside.
Luckily twokids there were his age, so I encouraged him to
invite oneof the other boys over to play with him. He was so excited
to hang outwith a boy his age, but before they even got settled, the
dad cameover and steered his son away so he wouldn't bother us.
I said itwas no problemwe were just sitting in the grass blowing
bubbles,not much to interruptbut they left. Socializing is good
for kids,so I want Hank to ask to play with other kids in the park.
Am I theonly one letting my child explore? If so, am I raising him
That's justhow I was raised. I loved building forts, and I fell
from treesand scraped my knees. Now I look back and I thank
God for mychildhood. I remember a couple times where I got hurt
pretty badand I was bleeding, but I was fine and it made for the
beststories. My mom used to kick me and my brother outside to
go have funand explore. I actually stole my grandpa's wood out of
the garageand would take a hammer and nails and put it together.
Most kidscan't do that kind of stuff anymore, but I wonder with
kids soprotected and isolated what they will grow up to be.
I'm constantlytrying to guide Hank Jr. down the proper path,
to keep himaway from the bad temptations I faced and move him
toward thegood experiences I did have. I laugh about it because the
only way Ican explain it is to say, "I don't want to shelter him, but
I do wantto shelter him." I've seen so much craziness throughout
my life, somuch dirtiness, and I lived through it. Now I feel like it's
my job as amom to protect him and prevent him from experiencing
any ofthat. I know a kid is going to be a kid. Scrapes are fine; he
will fall.But I want to do whatever I can to raise him right. It's my
job toguide him into good habits, not bad habits.
I don'twant him to be aware of how crazy adults can be . . . yet.
So I shieldhim from it. If Hank and I are getting heated, we make
sure tospell things out or give each other looks that say, "Let's wait
to finishthis conversation until we aren't around the baby." It's like
pressingpause on whatever situation we are in. It's harder for Hank
to waitthree hours to finish our argumenthe usually gets a little
more heatedduring our spatswhile my natural instinct is to delay
theargument and protect the baby. I don't want baby Hank to have
badmemories of his parents fighting; I don't think there's any way
to erasethat. I will always remember my father's rage when my
parentsfought or the time he punched a hole through the wall. I
will neverget that out of my head. I don't want that for baby Hank.
I alwayswant to make sure he has nothing but happy memories.
Life isn'tperfect. I know there will be times where Hank sees us
fighting,but I want to do my best to limit it. I am always aware. As
much as Imight want to fight in that moment, it's not worth it for
Hank Jr.deserves the best chance possible. He's got more of an
advantagethan Hank and I had combined. My teachers sucked,
my friendswere as bad as me, and my mom was working all the
time. SoI'm not letting that happen to baby Hank; I'm guiding
him throughhis childhood. I'm his guardian angel. But I also know
that makesme a bit of a control freak.
People areafraid of everything. The reality is there probably
isn't somuch to worry about. We remember all of the bad things
happeningin the news and on TV, and we're scared. It's a natural
reaction,but it affects our everyday life and how our kids perceive
the world.It's either a wonderful place full of opportunity or
a scaryplace. I say, turn off the damn TV, get off the Internet, and
just letyour kids be kids.
I rememberwhen I was a kid and I had only twenty-one channels
on my TV,and that was more than enough. We had lots of news,
Nickelodeon,and MTV (which I was banned from watching until
juniorhigh), and then we had VH1 and E! and HBO. Having only
thosechannels made me appreciate it more when a movie came on
everySaturday night on HBO. With so few options, I was bored
juststaying inside. It made me go outside and enjoy life. Now we
havethousands of channels and too many options!
Hank and I hadvery similar childhoods and we talk about it all
the time.We liked the same sports, watched the same shows, and
shared alove for Pogs. Now that I know that Hank collected them
too, I'msure on the same day at the same time we were both playing
Pogs. Andwe both had so much fun playing outside. That's
what wewant for little Hank. Even though my teenage years sucked
and Hankwent through hard times too, we are so thankful for our
childhoods.We both just loved running around playing tag, playing
softball,building fortsthat was a real childhood. It's because
of thoseexperiences that we are so passionate about giving Hank Jr.
the bestchildhood he can have. Which to us means freedom and
exploring.Of course, we are teaching him his left and right and
things likedon't cross the street before looking both waysthe
commonsensestuff. But everything else we just want him to
explore onhis own. If he falls, he falls. We are going to let him figure
it out forhimself.
When HankJr. cries we don't always run to him if it's not serious.
We want himto gain a sense of independence and not always
look to usfor help. I don't want him to think that we are always
lookingover his shoulder spying on him or that we'll always be
there whenhe falls. Hopefully we will, but it's not a guarantee.
We're stilladjusting to life in the suburbs, and we are desperate
to find hima playdate. Of course, Kourtney Kardashian and I have
talkedabout playdates. But in the year and a half since our kids
have beenborn it's still yet to happen. We both have busy work
schedulesand travel back and forth between New York and L.A.
Now thatwe're both living in Calabasas we will hopefully end up
Excerpted from Being Kendra by Kendra Wilkinson Copyright © 2011 by Kendra Wilkinson. Excerpted by permission of It Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Meet the Author
Kendra Wilkinson is the star of the hit reality series Kendra and former star of the massively popular show The Girls Next Door. She lives in Calabasa, California, with her husband, Hank Baskett, and her son, Hank Jr.
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