Underwear vs. Inner-Ware


I couldn’t quite bring myself to use a photograph of underwear–might be a tad too obvious, so maybe a little baby-doll dress might work? This is a post about babies and babies plus just a few years, anyway. (Hang on, there’s a point in this post somewhere.)

dressWhen things go awry–even a little awry–something inside me rings out like a four-alarm fire-call. (Not the fire, just the call.) My awry-ness had to do with my laptop. A glitch. Not even much of a glitch! But there was still a four-alarm fire-call. Some people hardly notice a blip on their-inner screens when these things happen. My inner-ware? My inner-ware is hard-wired for high alert, but there is a degree of comfort from having learned that I am far from alone.

You can find all kinds of advice here on the web about anger-management, stress-management, behavior-management, and the whole package. There is not so much about prevention. There are a few brilliant parents out there who are masters of prevention. Their kiddos are l-u-c-k-y.

Some possible scenarios:   

1. Child #1 grabs the green-frosted cupcake before Child #2 can get to it.

  • Child #2 cries.
  • Adult notices. Picks up child #1 and puts her in time-out.
  • Child #1 now cries
  • Child is left in time-out until she stops crying.
  • Child learns “I can never have what I want. Nobody cares. Next time I will be sneakier.”

2. Child #1 grabs the green-frosted cupcake before Child #2 can get to it.

  • Adult notices. Adult has had a rough day and feels the same anger as child #2.
  • Adult shouts and shames Child #1, and puts her in time-out.
  • Child is left in time-out until she stops crying.
  • Child learns “I can never have what I want. I am bad. I should never have what I want. Next time I will disappear so I can’t see what I want.”

3. Child #1 sees the green-frosted cupcake and asks politely if she can have it.

  • Adult sees the child and almost trips over her.
  • Adult says loudly, “I almost tripped over you! Can’t you see I’m busy? Go play!”
  • Child learns “No one cares. I’m worthless and annoying. Next time I will try extra, extra, extra hard to be good and see if the adult will be nice to me.”

4. Child #1 sees the green-frosted cupcake and grabs it before Child #2.

  • Child #2 screams.
  • Adult notices. She smiles a little, seeing how distressed they both look.
  • Adult bends down and grabs both of them in a big hug. She holds them back a little so they can see her smile and hear her calm breathing. She just holds them. Gently.  They struggle. #2 is still yelling, but not quite as loudly.
  • Awww, says the adult. You both wanted that cupcake, didn’t you? (They nod.) You feel very disappointed…and probably hungry. Are you hungry? (They nod. Child #2 is still pouting.) It’s sad when you both want the cupcake and there is only one. I know it’s hard to share, especially when you’re hungry. Maybe I can help. Would that be okay? (They don’t answer-yet.) I still have some cheese and crackers in the pantry, and I would be happy to make two pieces out of this cupcake and put it on two little plates with your cheese and crackers. Do you want some juice, too?
  • Children learn “People care. I can trust them. I can ask and I can get what I need. I can have bad feelings, but they’re just feelings. What is real is that I can have bad feelings, they will pass, and I will get what I need, if I can be calm and wait a little.

When my laptop has a glitch, I’m sure I can find a solution. Breathe. I remember that nice adult. 🙂

Underwear can be nice. It can look good. It can seem good, but it’s the inner-ware that counts. Yes, it takes a little more time. Yes, it is absolutely totally worth it.



I am not a licensed therapist and will never claim to be such. I am just a new retiree from the world of education, with the benefit of a lifetime of experience and a spaghetti-brain full of interconnected information (and a laptop!). Most importantly, I care.





4 thoughts on “Underwear vs. Inner-Ware

  1. And you’re exceptionally wise! I loved this post, and you’re an excellent writer. This is a perfect reminder that little moments matter. “Inner-ware” is SO important. Thank you for this poignant example.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s