It’s been passed from generation to generation. My grandmother used it on my mother. I used it on my son. And Mom effectively used it on me and my brother Tracy. Oddly, I believe this skill was first developed by mothers in ancient times, then past along the maternal black market for centuries. Many mothers use a version of it today. It is universally recognized throughout the world. I’m sure you’ve seen it before. The face like stone coupled with a blink-less glare. Others may call it by another name, but to my family it is the ‘Don’t You Move-Lock and Stare’.
Would you like to get truth out of a five year old?
Try the ‘Don’t You Move-Lock and Stare’.
Ever tried getting control of a child sitting two pews behind you in church?
Employ the ‘Don’t You Move-Lock and Stare’.
Occasionally, it is coupled with another old, but equally effective ‘Let’s-Go-To-The-Car’ maneuver, but the later is becoming sorely outdated.
The power of the ‘Don’t You Move-Lock and Stare’ boggles the mind and surpasses understanding. Yet throughout the centuries, it continues to be a successful child rearing and safety technique.
My first encounter with the ‘Don’t You Move-Lock and Stare’ was one beautiful spring morning in 1971. Tracy, age four, and I, age five, just finished breakfast. Mom ushered us outside to play, as she did most mornings. Searching for amusement, we ran to the side of the house and noticed the water hose stretched to length. The head of the hose had a sprayer on it and I picked it up and pointed it at my brother. He peered into the tiny hole at the end as if to see the water inside.
Grinning fiendishly, I pulled the trigger.
“Yaaaahhh!” He yelped and sprang to air in surprise. His hands flailed like he could take flight.
As the water sailed on, over and past him, some drops made their way to the open fuse box attached to the side of the house.
zzzzZZZZTt!! The water made connection with electrical current.
Flecks of electricity arched and light caught them in the spray of water. Each spark caught sun ray creating miniature rainbows in the spray. Our delight was uncontainable.
“Wow! You made rainbows!” Tracy exclaimed with surprise.
I was proud to be the source of his happiness, so I sprayed again into the fuse box.
zzzzZZZZTt!! The electrical current, again, reacted to the water and a plethora of tiny little rainbows shot across the yard and over our heads.
Tracy squealed with delight and we both giggled as I drenched the fuse box. Together, we marveled at the sight of a thousand tiny rainbows!
“Look Tracy! Look at those!” I pointed them out, as I sprayed. A chorus of chirps and squeals, we excitedly enjoyed the magic I made. Prisms of color shot all around us; we were showered in every child’s favorite color. Pleased with our discovery, my brother and I jumped and danced in our home-made rainbows.
“WHAT are you guys DOING?!” Mom’s voice cut my giggles immediately.
Innocently, Tracy answered while spinning euphorically in the midst of water spray and light. “Mommy…” He called in amazement, “We can make rainbows!”
I continued spraying hoping to perpetuate his joy, but as I glanced at Mom’s face, I noticed something foreign about her reaction. She was not partaking in the beauty and joy.
Terror and panic gave Mom’s face the timeless marker we now coin the ‘Don’t You Move-Lock and Stare’. I’d never seen her look like that before, but something about that stone face made me drop the hose. My reaction gave Tracy no choice but to pay attention.
Suddenly, we were banished to the house for the rest of the day. It took years to realize what our infraction might have been. But we never forgot encountering the ‘Don’t You Move-Lock and Stare’.
From that day, the well-known facial expression marked years of mishaps and tragedies. Through teenage car accidents and curse words slipping across our lips. Bad grades and a million sibling fights. The ‘Don’t You Move-Lock and Stare’ was perfected to an art.
Mom is getting older, but gracefully holds her place as matriarch. Lovingly guiding grandchildren and great grandchildren, she still employs use of her secret weapon. Even now, as adults, Tracy and I still tremble at the ‘Don’t You Move-Lock and Stare’. Many times over, it has saved us from doom!
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