The Side-Eye, Part 1

Jacqueline Giving The Side-Eye


The Side-Eye. It’s the look you give someone when they do or say something that is just not quite…right. Just imagine for a minute that you are engaging in a quite pleasant conversation with someone. Everything is going well and it seems like they are playing with a full deck. And then, out of nowhere, BAM…they say something crazy and you are left wondering if you have lost your ability to properly judge character. That’s when you give them THE LOOK. Now be sure you don’t stare directly at the person committing the infraction lest you give away your inner fear that they should consider obtaining a mental evaluation. Instead, you give them the side-eye. Just keep your head straight and roll your eyes to the left or right, depending on where the subject of your scrutiny is standing. Most of the time the side-eye recipient is blissfully unaware that you have just given them a sly double look and have filed this incident away in your mental “This Is Why I Think You’re Crazy” file. However, sometimes you will be caught giving the side-eye and the realization that a mental self-check is needed can not be ignored. Now, as a parent, I have had many proud moments. I have watched my children excel at activities, sing their songs in the school musicals, bring home good grades and  do several other things that make me proud. But I would be lying if I didn’t admit that there are times I’ve had to treat one of my children to the side-eye. I mean, really…children are experts at taking a situation to the far left and mine are no exception.


1. JONACYE’S INABILITY TO WALK MORE THAN 3 STEPS WITHOUT FALLING. My stepdaughter is a beautiful, smart, and talented child who has racked up an insane number of moments in which she has fallen flat on her back, face forward, or on her side. She’s jumped out of the car in the rain and BAM! She’s tried to hold her siblings hands in the snow and BOOM, down she goes! She is running up the stairs to her and room and…well…you get the picture. She has racked up more “BOOM”, “BANG”, “POWs” than  the old Bat Man and Robin TV shows. But she is good-natured, and usually just picks herself up and laughs. Which is good since she doesn’t notice the side-eye glance that I’m giving her as she proceeds to her destination.

2. JACE’S AVERSION TO HAVING A DIRTY FINGER. Oh yes, my wonderful little 2-year-old is definitely in need of a side stare for his over reaction to having anything dirty on his finger. This is the child who has no problem dumping an entire bowl of food on his head but will dissolve into a fit over having a tiny speck of dirt on his finger. So every time he flings himself on the ground, kicking and screaming, and holding out one of his fingers for me to clean despite having an entire body full of dirt, grass, food, juice or whatever else he has managed to roll around in, he will get the side-eye.

3. ISAIAH’S AIR SPELLING. OK, I know that kindergarten is a year of rapid learning and growing and the excitement of being able to read and write is palpable. However, Isaiah has been known to air spell answers to questions when he has not a clue as to how to spell what he is trying to say. I mean, really, I am trying to get information from this child and he is wiggling his hand around in the air, absolutely silent, like some type of freak-show mime movie. Does he really think I am supposed to understand what he is trying to spell? Ugh! That one annoys me to no end! Side-eye, buddy! Side-eye!

4. AJ TURNING HIS HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENTS INTO REASONS WHY HIS TEACHERS MAY BE RE-THINKING THEIR CAREER CHOICE. I was none too pleased to find out that my oldest son decided that it was appropriate to use “Yo Momma” jokes for his class assignment on hyperboles. His excuse was that a hyperbole is an exaggeration used for humor so what better way to express that than with a whole page of jokes such as “Yo momma is so fat she eats Wheat Thicks”. Not funny. I didn’t even bother to contact the teacher back about that one. I didn’t want to endure the much deserved side-eye from her. Then there was the simple assignment of picking a topic and doing a Power Point presentation on it. AJ picked “Plagues and Diseases” for his topic. He then proceeded to find the most vile, disgusting pictures of flesh-eating bacteria victims, disease ridden limbs, body mutilations and other gross medical phenomena, to turn in for his assignment. I only made it to the third slide before I wanted to vomit.

5. JACQUELINE’S HOLY ROLLING. Please believe me when I say that I am proud of my daughter’s dedication to studying her Bible and trying to put God’s word into practice.  But starting with the week her class studied The Ten Commandments, there was Jacqueline, shouting commandments at her wayward brothers like a southern Baptist preacher. I didn’t know whether to scold her or to give her my tithes and offering. I did, however, have no problem giving her the side-eye as I watched her chase her siblings around the house waving the Old Testament around like a sword.

6. AJ’S IMPENDING MANHOOD. I’m sure many parents cannot quite pin point the moment where their son transitioned from young boy to adolescent but I was pretty sure AJ had his epiphany when I heard “Eye of the Tiger” blaring from the bathroom every morning while he got dressed. My son played that song while he showered, while he brushed his teeth and even while doing push-ups in his room. It was like his theme song. I wouldn’t be surprised if the medley alone caused hairs to sprout from his chest. I just let him do his thing but he got the side-eye for sure while he was doing it.

7. ISAIAH’S FUTURE CAREER DECLARATION. I remember showing up at Isaiah’s preschool Christmas concert all excited to see him sing his songs with the rest of his class. Right before the performance, the parent’s got the chance to check out their child’s artwork hanging from the walls. One wall in particular was dedicated to showcasing the bright little stars’ future career choices and their upcoming contribution to society. What made it even better was the huge photo of each child that was displayed right above their career choice statement. So there I was, looking at all the future doctors, lawyers and teachers searching for my son’s face. When I saw my son’s photo I almost jumped with excitement. And right below his smiling face were the words “When I Grow Up I Want To Be A … Pizza Man!” I was mortified. I’m still kind of angry that his teachers didn’t redirect him. You know…”Isaiah, being a pizza man is great but…have you thought about some other great things you could do…like maybe the inventor of the world’s funniest yo momma joke? That way your brother can get an A+ on his next homework assignment.” Side-eye.

8. JACE’S VIOLENCE. I admit, my 2-year-old has a bit of a violent streak. He is a sweet child but he has a tendency to fly off the handle and go straight for his victims’ face. It’s bad enough that he hits, scratches and punches but he went through a phase where he liked to head-butt whoever was holding him. It’s like having a mini-me professional wrestler in the house. I think my sister saw stars once when she picked Jace up against his will. She said he was trying to get down and the next thing she knew everything went black. And when I received his first write-up from his daycare when he was just one year old, oh he got the side-eye for sure! His teacher also earned one for asking me to be sure to talk to him about what he did. I tried, but the blank stare he gave me during the discussion was enough to let me know we’d have the conversation again. And we did.

9. AJ’S DADDY CONFUSION.  In the beginning of our marriage, my husband earned a living as an over-the-road truck driver. He was gone for weeks at a time and it was hard for both me and the children whenever he was away. Despite my understanding of them missing their father, I was horrified at AJ’s tendency to call every other Black man he saw “daddy”. I remember sitting in church with him one Sunday while he wiggled around in the pew. A Black guy walked past us on the way to his seat and AJ let out a blood curdling “DADDY!!!!!!!! DAAAAAA-DDYYYYYY!!!!!” while practically tumbling out of my arms and onto the floor . That poor man practically took off running like he’d just been cleared by Maury of being the father. And I was left holding a devastated 3-year-old, trying to pretend that I wasn’t being labeled as a wayward sinner by every one in the church. In the meantime, AJ got the side-eye and a quick trip to the altar for prayer.

10. ISAIAH AND JACE’S CHICKA CHICKA BOOM-BOOM CRAZE. There is a cute little song called Chica Chica Boom Boom that teaches young children the alphabet. I had never heard of it until Isaiah went through his phase where he did not want to hear any other song but that one. When his baby brother Jace came along, it was more of the same, only worse. Jace is obsessed with Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. Once he hears the tune, it must be played over and over again until, well until I absolutely REFUSE to play that song even one more time. It is then that he throws himself into a Tasmanian fit and everyone within a 50 mile radius must suffer the consequences. But if you think he is off his rocker when Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is turned off, check out how he acts when the song comes on. All I can do is laugh and give him the side-eye.

Jace Reacts To Chicka-Chicka Boom Boom

Have you ever had to give your child the side-eye? Leave a comment and tell us all about it.

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