Monday, July 6, 2009

Underwear Trauma

The packing list for camp says that we should send 10 pairs of underwear, but I know my boy. In 24 days of camp he will change his underwear once. Still, I'll be optimistic and send 8 pairs, one for every three days. Bar Mitzvahzilla was specific on one thing, though. I needed to buy him real boxers, not boxer/briefs and not, for goodness sakes, briefs. Boys are apparently standing by, ready to sound the alert if he's wearing the wrong underwear.

My daughter, on the other hand, was planning to go to camp wearing her size 4 Toddler underwear from 5 years ago which still fits because she is a Skinny Stick. Everyone tells me she gets this from my husband's side of the family since I'm obviously some kind of hippopotamus who could never have provided genes to such a skinny child. All of her good genes are assumed to have come from Who Knows Where? But not from me. So Daughter was oblivious, planning to pack these Dora The Explorer, Strawberry Shortcake, even Monsters, Inc., underwear and go off to camp with kids who, yes, would be watching her underwear too.

Underwear is a topic I understand because I have traumatic underwear memories. I may have grown up in Skokie with Jewish parents, which should mean that I was coddled somewhat, but my parents were Holocaust Survivors. Holocaust Survivors don't coddle their children. They know children are resilient - mine both lived through the war as children - so they coddle other things, like briskets and the living room couch, which they carefully cover in plastic. In our household, money was spent on food. If there was anything left over, it was spent on decorating. Not underwear.

Because of this, I'm a little underwear-sensitive.

In 6th grade we had to change for gym class every day in the locker rooms in my junior high in Evanston. Little did I know it, but my underwear were being monitored very closely by some of my classmates. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday - yes - each day of the week, the same pair of underwear, until they hooted and hollered about it. Luckily, someone even poorer than me came to my defense. She said, "Linda probably just has a bunch of underwear that all looks the same." I looked over to see if they believed her because, of course, it was a lie, and they did. But I knew that it was the only free pass I was ever going to get.

I can't have my daughter live through any underwear trauma, and also, at the rate she gains weight, she could just possibly go off to college still wearing her Care Bears. I have to put a stop to it. So I take her to Gap and show her what real 9-year-olds wear for underwear (well, she actually wears the size for 6-7 year-olds). Then I show her the underwear with the days of the week on them. Her mouth hangs open. We buy a lot of underwear. When we get home, she empties all the Toddler ones out of her drawer.

Now that I've got the underwear issue handled, I can move onto the next item on the list. Socks. Certainly socks can't cause me as much trouble as underwear. Can they?


  1. You must put 911 on speed dial!! Too funny!

  2. you are so funny! I remember the underwear trauma too - Mother actually didn't buy us underwear....urg. I guess why would she, she didn't buy us clothes either.