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Authors: Kendra Wilkinson

Being Kendra

BOOK: Being Kendra
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Being Kendra

Cribs, Cocktails & Getting My Sexy Back

KENDRA WILKINSON
WITH JARED SHAPIRO

Dedication

I’
D LIKE TO DEDICATE THIS BOOK
TO THE TWO MOST IMPORTANT MEN IN MY LIFE:

M
Y
HUSBAND
, H
ANK
III,
AND SON
, H
ANK
IV.
I
LOVE YOU BOTH, AND THANK YOU FOR INSPIRING ME EVERY DAY OF MY LIFE
.

Contents

 

 

 

H
ank and I had sex on the staircase today. Right there, flat-out spontaneous sex with our clothes mostly still on. Steps digging into my back, the banister acting as a bedpost. It was quick and skillful. I don’t buy into that whole belief that married couples don’t have sex. Because today was proof that Hank and I still do!

Of course, it wasn’t exactly a stairway to heaven . . .

See, as parents now we have to try to fit in sex whenever we can. This wasn’t a passionate act of sex where we ripped off our clothes and couldn’t wait until we got to the bedroom. I was not a rock star Playboy Bunny getting it on with a stud NFL player. There was no trail of clothes—bra, shoes, socks, and panties—littering the hallway and leading all the way up to our bed. On the contrary, we actually went to the staircase on purpose and hurried through sex. Why the staircase? Hank and I both wanted to have sex, but we weren’t alone in our house, as usual. My assistant, Eddie, was there working, so we sent him to the store to get a toilet plunger (we didn’t really need one, we just wanted him out of the house). And the staircase just happens to give us a great view of the driveway so we could see Eddie’s car pull up. So we did our deed fast and quietly, of course, since baby Hank was upstairs napping. Sure enough, ten minutes later Eddie was back.

In a nutshell, that’s my new sex life as a mom. But I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Being on a reality show, I’ve got people coming in and out of my house at all hours of the day. Sometimes they’re holding a camera, a set of lights, a microphone, a rack of size zero (finally!) clothes, or even a toilet plunger, but it’s like a revolving door. My life is just one giant production schedule. I may be the boss, I may make a nice living, but I have zero control and have to bust my butt to get it all done by sundown. I’ve learned how to multitask with the best of ’em. Sometimes when I’m doing radio interviews on the phone from home, I’ll press the “mute” button so I can pee. When you gotta go, you gotta go! There are sandwiches to be made, diapers to be changed, and pacifiers to be found (where the hell do they all go?).

My life has been a wild ride: from a stripper to a Playboy girlfriend to a pregnant bride to a mom with milk leaking through her tank top. And every day I wake up thankful to be where I am: in my new house. Of course, it wasn’t always that way. I had hit bottom when I was younger and into drugs, but I clawed my way out. I took chances and found a path that worked for me—and landed me in some pretty interesting territory. Since I’ve already had my “bottom-out” experience, I knew it could only get better. And it did—a whole lot better.

The truth is, if I wasn’t on my reality show, there’s a good chance I’d probably be stripping. I had very little growing up and struggled for money when I was on my own, so now I work extra hard to build security so my son doesn’t have to live that lifestyle. I left it all behind because I knew it wasn’t where I was supposed to be.

My good friend, rapper Too $hort (he sings the “Go Kendra” title track on my show), has a song called “Gettin’ It,” and the lyrics are: “You should be gettin’ it. Get it while the gettin’ is good.” I live by these lyrics to this day. I live by the mantra of “work, work, work” and do whatever I can to take advantage of every opportunity that comes my way. In this industry, you are only good for so long. I’m not just doing it for myself anymore; I’m doing it for the family.

The whole “getting it” mentality has been with me since day one and stayed with me on my crazy journey to where I am today. I started stripping to make money and give myself a little financial freedom. Stripping got me discovered by Hugh Hefner. So I kept on stripping but took it to a bigger level:
Playboy
.
Playboy
got me recognition, on a reality show, and a guy like Hank Baskett to know who I was. We fell in love and we had a baby. I got it then, and I’m getting it now.

I still try to live by that. It’s just the way I go about it that’s changed. Instead of stripping to get it, now I’m a mom and that’s what I’m famous for. I’ve let cameras capture my birth, my meltdowns, and my most private of family moments. But I did it all in the name of gettin’ it. Right now is my time, so I’m getting it while the getting is good.

Luckily for me, I’ve had more success post-stripping, and it’s likely I’ll never have to go back to doing it (except for my husband). Where so many other reality stars party for a living, I have left the Hollywood party scene and struggled through the first few years of motherhood and marriage. I dealt with some crazy things as a new mom, including suffering through a dark depression and an uphill battle to lose weight after Hank Jr. was born. But I conquered it all—and, for the most part, I did so under the bright lights of my reality show cameras.

A lot of my success is because of my husband. I try to keep my marriage exciting and make sure Hank is happy, because he’s my support system. I wish I could say that I was his too, but I’m not too sure about that! The first football game I went to after Hank and I started dating was when Hank was on the Philadelphia Eagles and playing the Pittsburgh Steelers. He had the most amazing game; he had a lot of good games early on in his career. In fact, in the three years before Hank got married, he had seventy-one catches and was on his way to a pretty promising future. Then we got married, and all of a sudden his statistics plummeted. In the two seasons since being married (and now having a son), Hank has caught only six passes. We are keeping our heads up, but I can’t help but wonder if maybe being married and having a baby was the curse to his football career. Am I the curse?

Regardless of Hank’s on-the-field struggles and my off-the-field struggles, we’ve somehow managed to get our act together. Being a first-time mom, balancing my work and personal life (which in my career have somehow merged together), and dodging divorce rumors (both false and occasionally slightly, possibly, just a smidge true), Hank and I still managed to find time for dates, sex, and quick cups of morning coffee. I don’t know how we do it. But I danced my way out of all my struggles and to the center stage of America’s primetime TV sets. Being a mom and a wife has changed me in ways I never thought imaginable.

I’ve got a car seat sitting behind my driver’s seat, I’ve got wipes in every bag I own, and just the sound of a kid screaming or crying sends my heart into a sprint. In my perfect world, I would put my son to sleep with a kiss on his forehead, share a bottle of wine with my husband, make love, and drift off into eight restful hours of deep sleep. But in my reality, usually the only thing on that list I do is kiss my son on his forehead. And that’s just fine with me.

I’m the person I never even knew I could be. And I love it. This is my new story.

Teaching baby Hank how to walk at a very early age!

I
s 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
KENDRA’S
CLOTHES
. We were finishing up a grueling few days of packing our Studio City apartment—the most recent in a long string of apartments and houses in the last two years. But this move was the most exciting, and hopefully the last. We were moving into our first family house—our forever home—in Calabasas, California.

They say home is where the heart is. Well, my heart is with my family, but I still wanted that permanent safe haven for my one-and-a-half-year-old son, Hank Jr. And for myself.

Moving in was a monumental occasion because other than my marriage and my family I had very little else to call my own. I needed somewhere to put down roots. It took us a while to find the perfect house—someplace where paparazzi can’t get into the gates, stalkers can’t camp out, and random people can’t drive by to look and say, “Hey! It’s Kendra’s house!” I finally felt like the house had everything we were looking for, but for me the biggest selling point was when I walked into the community and heard the sound of children playing outside and splashing around in the pool next door. It was music to my ears. And it really was the main reason why I bought my house. We looked in a million different communities around Los Angeles, some of them high-end with lots of celebrity residents, but one thing was missing: kids. And that’s not right for my family. I wanted to give Hank Jr. a neighborhood full of kids his age and a family-oriented safe place for him to grow up, not to mention fulfilling my own needs of a five-bedroom house with a pool. It’s big by normal standards, but it’s well proportioned. Nothing about it is over-the-top or extravagant—it’s a home not a mansion.

Hank spent a lot of time at the house getting everything ready for us to move in—painting every room and dealing with a couple small fixes here and there. I was rehearsing and filming for
Dancing
with
the
Stars,
so he worked his ass off trying to get everything in place, including baby-proofing. We had to make sure nothing about our new home would be a danger to baby Hank. The pool is fenced all the way around with metal bars. We like to barbecue a lot, so we have caps on the on/off switch for the grills since Hank Jr. loves to press buttons. We put covers over anything that gets hot, we installed door handle locks on all the doors to make sure Hank Jr. can’t get out, 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 the last times Hank went to our dream house before we officially moved in, he took baby Hank with him and the next-door neighbors invited Hank Jr. over to play with their kids! That made me so happy, I just started to cry. Someone could offer me a million dollars to take a different house and I wouldn’t care. Money is just money, but when 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 school with them. This is where lifelong bonding begins. I imagined his wonderful childhood unfolding in that neighborhood. It’s the best thing I could have heard.

And since we moved in, I’ve met all of the neighbors and they are awesome. I know I made the right choice. Hank was over there a lot more than me because I was on
DWTS,
so he got a head start on meeting everyone. But after
DWTS,
I finally got to know them all. We’d run into each other on the street, we’d see each other in our yards, and we’d just start talking about the neighborhood—it’s something we all had in common! It was all just so easy. We felt like we’d been living there for twenty years.

This was so important to me because for so long we had been moving baby Hank around to a million cities, in a million homes, and never letting him get to adjust. We were in cities we didn’t know and without friends or family for support. I tried to keep him indoors and away from the elements, whether that was freezing temperatures, city life, or just anything we couldn’t control. But I don’t want to hide little Hank from life anymore. I may be scared of all the dangers out there, but I’m not going to keep my son safely indoors and shrouded in bubble wrap. I’ll book him playdates or take him to the park, and whether the parents know I’m a celebrity or not doesn’t matter. Raising kids in Hollywood doesn’t mean your kid has to only grow up with famous friends. While I will always be paying close attention to anyone who is approaching my child, what’s most important is getting baby Hank out there with other babies and letting him develop the social skills he needs.

I take baby Hank to a baby class every Thursday for a twelve-to-twenty-month class where he can socialize. I’ve noticed that I’m one of the only parents who allow their child to go off on his own and explore. Every other parent is attached to his or her kid like glue. When their child wants to interact with Hank Jr., their parents just grab them and say, “No, no, no. Be nice.” And all I can think to myself is, “What do you mean ‘be nice’? The baby didn’t do anything! Are you serious?” If the kids tap one another to talk, let them tap each other. That’s not hitting. I know when baby Hank is trying to hit someone and when he’s just exploring or trying to make friends. I think parents meddle in their kids’ business way too much.

I have been noticing 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 are more protective of their kids than ever. Not me; I’m all about little Hank Jr. falling down and knowing what it is to hurt. I want him to be tough. I am raising a kid, not a porcelain egg. He deserves to learn for himself what it’s like to fall or get a scratch.

Recently in our old neighborhood I took baby Hank to the park on a Sunday and there were only five kids there on a sunny day in L.A. Where is everyone? Now, I don’t expect Shiloh Jolie-Pitt to be there, but surely more than five kids would want to play outside.

Luckily two kids there were his age, so I encouraged him to invite one of the other boys over to play with him. He was so excited to hang out with a boy his age, but before they even got settled, the dad came over and steered his son away so he wouldn’t bother us. I said it was no problem—we were just sitting in the grass blowing bubbles, not much to interrupt—but they left. Socializing is good for kids, so I want Hank to ask to play with other kids in the park. Am I the only one letting my child explore? If so, am I raising him the wrong way?

That’s just how I was raised. I loved building forts, and I fell from trees and scraped my knees. Now I look back and I thank God for my childhood. I remember a couple times where I got hurt pretty bad and I was bleeding, but I was fine and it made for the best stories. My mom used to kick me and my brother outside to go have fun and explore. I actually stole my grandpa’s wood out of the garage and would take a hammer and nails and put it together. Most kids can’t do that kind of stuff anymore, but I wonder with kids so protected and isolated what they will grow up to be.

I’m constantly trying to guide Hank Jr. down the proper path, to keep him away from the bad temptations I faced and move him toward the good experiences I did have. I laugh about it because the only way I can explain it is to say, “I don’t want to shelter him, but I do want to shelter him.” I’ve seen so much craziness throughout my life, so much dirtiness, and I lived through it. Now I feel like it’s my job as a mom to protect him and prevent him from experiencing any of that. 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 to guide him into good habits, not bad habits.

I don’t want him to be aware of how crazy adults can be . . . yet. So I shield him from it. If Hank and I are getting heated, we make sure to spell things out or give each other looks that say, “Let’s wait to finish this conversation until we aren’t around the baby.” It’s like pressing pause on whatever situation we are in. It’s harder for Hank to wait three hours to finish our argument—he usually gets a little more heated during our spats—while my natural instinct is to delay the argument and protect the baby. I don’t want baby Hank to have bad memories of his parents fighting; I don’t think there’s any way to erase that. I will always remember my father’s rage when my parents fought or the time he punched a hole through the wall. I will never get that out of my head. I don’t want that for baby Hank. I always want to make sure he has nothing but happy memories. Life isn’t perfect. 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 I might want to fight in that moment, it’s not worth it for baby Hank’s sake.

Hank Jr. deserves the best chance possible. He’s got more of an advantage than Hank and I had combined. My teachers sucked, my friends were as bad as me, and my mom was working all the time. So I’m not letting that happen to baby Hank; I’m guiding him through his childhood. I’m his guardian angel. But I also know that makes me a bit of a control freak.

People are afraid of everything. The reality is there probably isn’t so much to worry about. We remember all of the bad things happening in 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 scary place. I say, turn off the damn TV, get off the Internet, and just let your kids be kids.

I remember when 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 junior high), and then we had VH1 and E! and HBO. Having only those channels made me appreciate it more when a movie came on every Saturday night on HBO. With so few options, I was bored just staying inside. It made me go outside and enjoy life. Now we have thousands of channels and too many options!

Hank and I had very similar childhoods and we talk about it all the time. We liked the same sports, watched the same shows, and shared a love for Pogs. Now that I know that Hank collected them too, I’m sure on the same day at the same time we were both playing Pogs. And we both had so much fun playing outside. That’s what we want for little Hank. Even though my teenage years sucked and Hank went through hard times too, we are so thankful for our childhoods. We both just loved running around playing tag, playing softball, building forts—that was a real childhood. It’s because of those experiences that we are so passionate about giving Hank Jr. the best childhood he can have. Which to us means freedom and exploring. Of course, we are teaching him his left and right and things like don’t cross the street before looking both ways—the commonsense stuff. But everything else we just want him to explore on his own. If he falls, he falls. We are going to let him figure it out for himself.

When Hank Jr. cries we don’t always run to him if it’s not serious. We want him to gain a sense of independence and not always look to us for help. I don’t want him to think that we are always looking over his shoulder spying on him or that we’ll always be there when he falls. Hopefully we will, but it’s not a guarantee.

We’re still adjusting to life in the suburbs, and we are desperate to find him a playdate. Of course, Kourtney Kardashian and I have talked about playdates. But in the year and a half since our kids have been born it’s still yet to happen. We both have busy work schedules and travel back and forth between New York and L.A. Now that we’re both living in Calabasas we will hopefully end up doing it soon.

As a parent—wait, who am I kidding? In life!—I rarely do anything by the book, but I try to follow my natural instincts as a mother and do what I think is best for baby Hank. There are so many differing philosophies out there on parenting, nutrition, bedtimes, you name it. It’s hard to know what to do and which is best for my son. So I try to stay true to my instincts and consider everything in moderation. I try to keep him healthy and use natural products, but when it comes to medicine, I use it as needed and directed. I’m not going to go all-natural with that. If he is sick I’m going to give him medicine to take away his pain. Any time I give him a shot I get so scared because of all of the horror stories out there that it causes autism. I did my research though and I think that all of the people out there saying “don’t do it” are actually doing more harm than good.

Jenny McCarthy is one of the foremost activists when it comes to fighting the practice of immunizations. I like Jenny a lot and I respect what she stands for. But my belief in her cause changed drastically after I had a child of my own.

I first met Jenny long before ever getting pregnant. I was living at the mansion at the time, and we were invited to one of her events (well, Hef was). It was a benefit for autism being held at Jim Carrey’s house. She showed us all the information she had and talked about autism and some of the causes of it. That night I realized how serious the issue was and I learned a lot about Jenny’s beliefs about the causes and the importance of awareness.

A little while later I got pregnant and the H1N1 virus was going around like wildfire. It was all over the news that pregnant women were at risk, so I went right out to get a regular flu shot. Unfortunately, I got
really
sick. I was sweating, had a high fever, and ultimately had to go to the hospital. It was obvious to me that this was a direct result of getting the flu shot, because it happened within hours of my vaccination. I was so scared I was going to lose the baby. I was shaking and having mini seizures. Then guilt set in. I thought back to that night at the autism benefit and remembered what Jenny McCarthy had warned us about vaccinations. I had filled my body with foreign substances, which my body was trying to reject, so I got angry at myself. I just kept asking myself, “What did I do?” I was petrified that I had put the baby at risk. I spent the rest of my pregnancy, four long months, with this worry in the back of my head.

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