I took a little step back in time today and turned into my mum. I recreated something that she used to use on me when I was a child.
Today I did ‘The Look’.
You know the look I mean. It stems from the maternal knowledge of your child’s ways. You know exactly when they are about to do something they shouldn’t, LONG before they even know they are about to do it themselves. You spot the gleam in their eyes as they go to touch something hot/sticky/made of glass or in my case today – the bottom can of a pyramid stack in the supermarket. The glee in his eyes as he glanced over at me, making sure I was watching and all the while hoping he could get away with it. Well, not on my watch. Step away from the cans young man. The look was given and all is well.
The look comprises of three main parts: one raised eyebrow, lips pressed tightly together and eyes that say ‘go on then. I dare you’. A shiver inducing silent warning that every mum in the world should possess. It renders even the most naughtiest of children speechless and immobile.
When I was testing the boundaries as a child there were many things I was told by mum that made me stop and think about what I was doing. There was never any intention to scare me, the look was there to let me know when I had taken it just a little too far. I just knew that I was crossing the line, I was at a crossroads and it was up to me how the rest of my day went. Would I be sent to my room with no tea and given the jaggy jersey?
For all those unaware of its power, the jaggy jersey is a fictional item of clothing created in my mum’s mind. My siblings and I never, ever wanted to wear it. We had no idea it didn’t exist, the mere mention of it was enough to have us quaking in our boots. I always had visions of it being a really scratchy, smelly jumper that went down to my knees and up to my chin and it was most likely to be dark brown in colour.
But then I was only two or three years old, what did I know.
I knew ‘the look’ and that was enough. Now forty years on, I’m using it on my own children and it’s working so far…watch this space.