Eye Contact and the Teenaged Child

Abby’s 14. She told me today to quit doing that thing with your eyes, Mom. I might’ve been lecturing her a teeny, tiny bit at the time, but I think “gently sharing information” is probably more accurate than “lecturing,” Abby.

What thing with my eyes? I asked because I know there was no “thing” and she was just being dramatic.

You know, she said, that THING where you open your eyes WAY too wide and your eyebrows go up too high? It’s irritating, Mom.

I have no idea what she’s talking about. Teenagers can be so fussy, you guys.

It reminded me of that time when I was 14 and my dad told me to quit doing that thing with your eyes, Beth.

What thing with my eyes? I asked because I knew there was no “thing” and he was just being critical because he’s a father and fathers, like, don’t understand anything EVER, and GEEZ, DAD.

You know, he said, that THING where you close your eyes half way like Garfield? It’s irritating and disrespectful, Beth.

I still have no idea what he was talking about.

Sometimes I just feel so misunderstood, you know?

…..

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
32 comments
  1. I seriously thought the second pic was one of you at 14 and was like, “she even has the same shirt!” …and then I started reading the comments and figured it out…

  2. Oh gosh! I really thought that you had your daughter do imitation pics, but thats you! You go ahead and make any face you like, you look too good to be a mom of a teen!

  3. Too funny! I once caught sight of myself in a mirror with The Look on my face; I almost scared myself. I once managed to get my neighbor’s unruly son to mind me simply by using The Look. My neighbor had gone inside for a few minutes and had asked me to watch her son. I didn’t know if I was equal to the task, since I had observed that he rarely obeyed his own mother, but The Look got me through! You’re totally right–we mamas have got to use everything we can!

  4. I’m going to dissent here and say that the pics would be better if you had taken them in the bathroom. 😉

    1. Ha! I thought you were going to say if I’d taken them in a parking garage! 😀

  5. You totally look fourteen yourself! Sickening! 🙂

  6. LOL! Oh the eyes! This has been an issue for us but in a totally different way. We have tried very hard over the years to teach my AS son to look at us while we’re talking to him. Well he does it now (if you remind him) but his expression can be a bit unnerving at times. Much like your first picture. Ha! bless him he tries so hard.

    ps – you still look gorgeous no matter what the expression 😉

    1. Good for your son! We’ll take victories however we find them or however they look, right? Right! Woohoo!

  7. That is you?! I could only assume you had your teenaged child posting for the pictures. I was amazed how she got the mom eyes so good on that first picture. But now I am bemused how you could be a mother of a 14 year old and look like you’re a teen yourself.

    1. You’re invited to live in my bathroom mirror and talk to me every time I’m naked. We’re newish friends, Robin… this isn’t too much too soon, right?

  8. I don’t have an adolescent in the home to hone my look upon, but I have nineteen years of teaching middle school, during which time I have perfected my look on several thousand adolescents. I’ve caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror giving a student this glare, and it is my mother’s glare. She and all her siblings have that same glare.

    As one of my students once said, “You look you’re going to eat someone…!”

    Does this mean I’ll be good and ready by the time my 3-year-old hits adolescence? I hope so, because from what I see the only reliable weapons a parent of a teenager has are “The Look” and the perpetual threat of humiliating one’s child in public by one’s mere existence.

    1. Yes! You’re totally ready, Webb. And you’re right – the parents’ arsenal is pathetically lacking. We must use the few tools we have.

  9. We actually did have scabies once and OMG! We never did figure out where they came from but even my dermatologist was looking down his nose at us! ha

    1. Hahaha! All of my WebMD research kept saying “scabies happens to people of all socio-economic levels” and “patients should be told not to feel embarrassed.” Honestly, it hadn’t occurred to me to feel embarrassed until I read that I shouldn’t! I think my embarrassed-o-meter is broken. (Also, send your dermatologist over… I’ll give him a talking-to.)

  10. Justice arrives in the form of a grandchild. I stand vindicated.

  11. Haha, my 6 year old tells me not to do “that thing with my eyes” too! I asked what, and his response was “that thing when you open your eyes so BIG and they look like bug eyes.” I said I would try hard not to do it as long as he tried hard to listen. Haha Can’t wait until he’s a teenager!

    1. Ha! My 6yo usually takes issue with my tone of voice. He’s not paying enough attention to notice my eyes yet. Your kid is advanced! 🙂

  12. Just LOL, Beth!!! Thanks for making my coworkers think I am crazy, sitting here giggling in my cube. And wow, you have made great strides. You may be misunderstood by yoir kid (what else is new?) but your dad should be proud. You WERE listening!

    1. THANK YOU. I blog because you guys totally get me. 🙂

  13. The visual aides are inspired! I like the transition from the “Garfield” eyes to the popped open eyes. You obviously have grown and evolved : ) Although, I’m sure you didn’t/don’t actually do either of those things with your eyes.

    1. Right, Laura? Isn’t it interesting that I got NO CREDIT AT ALL for correcting the half-mast eyes? I HAVE grown and evolved. I’m totally telling my family you said so.

  14. It is seriously not okay to be the mother of five children and still look that adorable. NOT! OKAY!

    1. Oh, no worries, Alisa. I don’t look that adorable. I photoshopped the hell out of those pix so you can’t see the scabies I don’t have. Long story. Involves a bumpy rash. Suffice it to say, even the prospect of adorable thrills me. Thank you.

    2. Seriously, how is she even groomed? No clutter in the background? A picture like this could never happen for me, haha. 😉
      Love the post Beth!
      <3

      1. You’re the best for handing me brushing-my-hair kudos. Not even kidding. It’s like you KNOW how hard that is most days. These pix are taken on my front porch. There’s not much clutter there right now, for which I’m grateful. There is, however, 3-month-old poop underneath it. Let’s ignore that part, yes? Yes. And THIS is why I consider you friends. Thanks, Carlie.

        1. I KNOW how hard it is! I have only 2 kiddos, but I’m pregnant so I feel like I have 17 of them. And they are all age 2 and 3. I don’t do much grooming or finding areas uncluttered, haha.

          Today was my husband’s birthday, and I even remembered to take a picture of him and his cake that my mom bought at the store for me, haha, but I stopped to say, “Wait, honey, move to this side of the table. Less clutter behind you.” LOL. Thankful there was a corner without clutter to use, which is probably another thing I should give credit to my mother for, lol.

    3. I am with you Alisa, I was looking at Beth’s hair part and couldn’t see ANY gray… It is not right to look that good. I make weird faces AND am frantically dyeing my hair every six weeks.

      1. I buy my hair dye at Grocery Outlet. Isn’t that where everyone gets their hair dye? Walgreens is too expensive. Grocery Outlet has Clairol Natural Instincts for $3.99/box. When they have a color I like (currently hearting Cinnamon Stick and pretending it’s exactly like my real, non-gray hair color — you’re welcome to agree or remain silent), I buy them all and assume they have enough chemicals to never expire. One of these days, that’ll backfire on me and I’ll have no hair left. It’ll still be worth it. 😀

  15. Those pictures are fantastic. hahaha

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