Back in the Cretaceous period, when I was a child, my mother took me to the grocery store. It was a long and tedious errand, and mom wasn’t letting me do anything fun. I couldn’t eat the grapes (that was stealing), I couldn’t sit in the baby seat of the shopping cart (“you’re too big”), and she didn’t let me pick my favorite cereal (“we have oatmeal at home!”). At the checkout, she said something to me, and, trying to be funny, I stuck my tongue out at her. She turned and gave me………. The Look. It was at this point I knew I’d screwed up.
Every human on earth is familiar with The Look. It’s that silent, threatening glare that means we’re teetering on the edge of serious trouble. “I was just trying to be funny!” I told my mom, as she scolded me in the car. The fear of that look stuck with me, and I dreaded its return (which was often since I was an annoying child). All it takes is one Look, and kids fall into line faster than a greased monkey sliding downhill.
My offspring, seven-year-old Molly, and four-year-old Andy, know the consequences of The Look. It means a reprimand is coming, a loss of privilege, and/or a timeout. It means mommy has reached the very end of her tether, and they’re bungee jumping on her last nerve. I think I use my power sparingly, but it’s probably more than I like to admit. I caught myself in the mirror one day, and I was terrified! Brows furrowed, lips pursed, eyes flinting angrily – darned if it didn’t send chills down my spine. No wonder my kids straighten themselves up so quickly!
If my children only listened to me the FIRST time, the Look wouldn’t be necessary. If they didn’t make such illogical choices, I wouldn’t have to warn them. My forehead is wrinkling faster than a raisin; the furrowed brow of The Look is aging me fast. Basically, if my kids acted like full grown, sensible adults, my stress level would be lower, and they’d make better decisions! Alas, that’ll never be the case. It’s my job to teach them, and that includes them learning about The Look. Hey, take it from me: you never forget what it means. One Look from my mother and I’m back to being a six-year-old kid again, hoping to stay out of trouble!