Thwarted by the insistence of a self-directed child hellbent on home science experiments involving and affecting the dog, Mom, and her entire world, Mom often resorted to an admonition that on the face of it sounded relatively benign:
“Just you WAIT….”
But whether you end the sentence there or add an expanded explanation (“…until DAD comes home”, for a popular example), the very unspoken implication that “you’ll GET yours” often proved more dire than specifics – and totally not worth any effort to rein in my Good Ideas (i.e. ‘self-control’: something I apparently was supposed to develop, but never did….).
I can readily recall many instances of “Just you WAIT” being applied to my behaviors:
1. Diane’s Chocolate Experiment or “Can there be such a thing as TOO MUCH CHOCOLATE??”This was a Home Experiment conducted entirely with Materials At Hand. Was it MY fault that Mom liked to leave her chocolate boxes out, ready and accessible? Was it MY fault that that week’s teen babysitter didn’t happen to LIKE chocolate but loved TV, so there was an obvious unfilled vacuum between the TV set and the hutch where the chocolate box sat? Was it MY fault that Dad had bequeathed an entire 2-pounder to Mom just a week before and she mysteriously had not eaten a ONE yet – obviously signifying her dislike for the entire thing? (…the concept of ‘saving it for a special time’ just never occurred to me, but was thoroughly explained by Mom after my Experiment ended. I still didn’t get it. Chocolate was THERE to be consumed quickly: END of story…) Finally, the results of Diane’s Experiment: IF you feed your little sister ONE POUND of chocolate, THEN you can readily discern the different effects of said pound on a 4-year-old (i.e. Sis) versus the more mature stomach of a 5.5-year-old (moi). All I can say is: my experiment concluded abruptly with some nasty cries and vomiting noises in the bathroom, the unwelcome involvement of Teen Sitter, and a Spanking from Mom when she got home. Worth.Every.Moment.
2. Wabbits Uncaged. In his ongoing efforts to find an “appropriate pet” for the kids (before Muffin came to us), Dad scored and brought home Wabbits (and since neither my sister nor I could get our tongues around the ‘R’, the ‘W’ stood…). In a cage. Which evoked immediate pity on my part, and a determination to affect a jailbreak as soon as the Parental Units turned their backs. Oh, it was GLORIOUS! I wish we had had YouTube back then, to capture the image of Mom in her kitchen apron vigorously chasing 2 gregarious and ecstatically-freed bunnies around the back yard. A scenario then repeated when Dad got home and “Just you WAIT” had no time to be applied before he was halfway under the Giant Cactus under the back porch where Clever Bunnies decided to hole up, encouraged by cheers from a young Peanut Gallery (…THAT was my most successful coup to date…) Worth.Every.Moment.
3. The Santa Trap. Suspicious of how 2 years in a row Dad vanished to ‘go to work’ and Santa appeared 30 minutes later, I laid my trap. All I can say is… a bucket ‘o milk over the back door really DOES work. Xmas was a tad sparse that year … but worth every second. And Dad ‘had to work real late’ that night, only returning after the Little Devils were abed – which fairly well confirmed the suspicion, to my mind. Worth.Every.Moment.
4. Hide ‘n Seek With the Adults. Happily, my version could be played either WITH or (more commonly) WITHOUT the cooperation of said Adults. Either way, it was some fun. Just wait ‘till the Adult was preoccupied with something more mundane (cooking or cleaning were great choices), hide in a space impossibly small for a snail much less a child, then wait for a summons. The more agitated your name and the longer the Hide = the greater the victory. Calls into question the entire unfair accusation that “she can’t sit still for a MINUTE”; ‘cause I can readily recall a great ‘Hide’ that lasted for an HOUR. Particularly ‘great’ because it involved Under, so I could see Mom’s feet pace back and forth as she checked out all Previously Known Hiding Spots and finally made an emergency call to Dad at work to confess she had totally lost track (i.e. ‘control’) of HIS child, who likely was somewhere in the Forbidden Outside hitchhiking halfway to Georgia by now. I made absolutely sure that when my dramatic appearance was finally made (lured by the ever-loved Chocolate Box being shaken to accompany a loud proclamation that Hidden Children were to be given Chocolate if they emerged RIGHT NOW), that I never told Mom I was hiding right there in the hitherto-unused Lower Kitchen Cabinet that Dad Locked Years Ago against just such an event (note to Dad: “lock” and “Diane” are NOT synonyms!). Worth.Every.Moment.
Just a few highlights from my childhood.
Mom may have been left with many “Just you WAIT” moments to reflect upon over the decades; but for me ‘Childhood’ was one big blitzkrieg of surprises, exploration and pleasures: