Ruffled Feathers and Spilled Milk

Farming with ducks and dairy goats, chickens and children.


Posted on | October 28, 2015 | 3 Comments

Have you heard about this?  Trigger warnings are all the rage.  Or not. Apparently, trigger etiquette is up for grabs.  I used to find the whole concept very confusing.  After all, my life might be interesting enough for an occasional blog post, but not interesting enough to result in trauma.  Or at least not the kind of trauma that can’t be fixed by meeting a friend for a hike.  Or a chocolate bar library.

Which isn’t to say I don’t have any experience with triggering events.  To me, a trigger represents the event that clearly sets another event in motion.  Sometimes, like Newton said, it is an equal and opposite reaction.  Sometimes it’s more like Karma.  Which is this:

Image result for karma

Either way, it leaves you looking back and thinking, “Uh-oh.”

For example, the kids all had well visits with their pediatrician this past summer.  I made the appointments because I am a concerned and caring parent that stays on top of her kids’ medical health.  Also, because I signed up for accident and critical illness insurance at work.  Which is usually a waste of insurance premiums.  Except, in this case, the accident and critical illness insurance provider pays out $50 for an annual well visit for each covered member.  For my family of 6 that translates into a $300 payout.  Since the accident and critical illness insurance only costs a $294.17 a year, our coverage turns to be free.  As long as we get our well visits.  Which are covered for free under our regular health insurance.  That proves there is an advantage to having 4 kids.  I’ll try not to spend my $5.83 all in one place.

Of course, I recognize that sitting in the doctors office with a healthy child can be a challenge.  You can’t sit down, touch the reading materials, or even look at the water fountain.  I’m pretty sure just looking at the water fountain can give you hand foot and mouth disease.  (Why the heck is there a water fountain in that germ joint anyway?????)  But my real mistake was lecturing the kids ahead of time about talking to their doctor.  At their ages I expect them to handle most of a well visit by themselves and after going over the general information with the pediatrician, I left the room.  That way they could discuss any health questions with the doctor in privacy.  I sat in the waiting room, pondering the fact that my biggest concern at the pediatrician’s office was if my kids remembered to add “sir” or “ma’am” at the end of their sentences when talking to the doctor, nurses, or office staff.  In a world of children dealing with chronic disease, debilitating injuries, and death, all I had to worry about was manners.  The unwarranted blessing of that was stunning.  Practically embarrassing.  And although we left with a clean bill of health and up-to-date immunizations, taking the kids to a successful well visit triggered exactly what it does every time.  A freak series of illness:

–ear infections and swimmers itch for Middle and Little subsequent to swimming in a relative’s pond

–bad case of poison ivy on the face for Pretty subsequent to lying prone in a field during a dove hunt

–chiggers for Little subsequent to a weekend hike

— a head cold for Big

and, as an extra bonus, a painful eye infection for me.  The co-pays and trips to the pharmacy for all that ate up my $5.83.  Plus some more.  But that’s the way triggers work.  Sitting too long thinking about your healthy family is like taking a nice, long drink from that nasty water fountain.  It’s just begging for hand foot and mouth.  We probably got off easy.

Then there’s my trigger at work.  A few months ago I showed up for work right on time.  Which is more alarming then it sounds.  I always show up 20-30 minutes early for my shift.  Because I am anal retentive responsible.  But on that particular morning, I had forgotten to pack my lunch the night before, I couldn’t find any black socks without holes in the heel, and the dogs wouldn’t come back in after going outside to the bathroom.  So I was hitting the road to work with just enough time to spare.  At 5:50 am my work partner called to see if I was OK.  Because everyone was wondering why I wasn’t already at the station.  I didn’t answer because I was driving down a dark, curvy, country road at an almost-late-to-work speed and it didn’t seem prudent to dig in my pocket for my cell phone.  At 5:55 am my partner and the outgoing crew started talking about which way I drove to work and if someone should get in their car and drive my 3 mile commute to see if I was OK.  Because I am so anal retentive responsible that if I’m not early, it’s completely reasonable that I am lying in ditch, trapped in my mangled car, too injured to call for help.  At 5:58 am I pulled into the station and everyone breathed a sigh of relief.  Because I was OK.  And also because now they could go home after their shift.  Mainly because I was OK….Probably.  Maybe.  Eh.

Too bad that when a anal retentive responsible person like me is right on time for work, instead of 20-30 minutes early, it’s a powerful trigger.  Before I could unload my car, we were dispatched to our first call.  When we cleared that call, we were immediately sent to another.  My partner started looking at me, suspiciously.  On our next call we were given one address over the radio but a completely different one over our computer. Which was confusing.  Then we went to a structure fire, which was our second fire call of the day.  As we watched flames soaring over the roof of the home (no one was hurt) and handed out water bottles to firefighters, 2 more structure fire calls went out over the radio in different parts of the county.  My partner looked at me, seriously.

“You did this.  Make it stop.”

“You’re right,”  I agreed.  I closed my eyes and tried to picture my usual work routine—-pulling my prepacked lunch out of the fridge and putting it in my lunch box, getting dressed in my uniform that was laid out neatly ahead of time with hole-free socks, the dogs trotting obediently back inside after their morning routine for their breakfast biscuit.  As the images unrolled in my head I thought to myself, “reset, reset, reset, reset….”  But my thoughts were interrupted by the emergency tones.  They needed us at a car wreck only a few miles away.  When we got there, we found more patients than we could transport (everyone lived) and had to call an ambulance from another county for assistance.  Because resetting a trigger is lot harder than setting one off.  Triggers are like that.  It’s true what they say:  Keep your finger off the trigger unless you’re ready to shoot.  Also, pack your lunch and lay out your clothes the night before work.

Regardless, these types of triggers aren’t the same as the triggers in the news.  The triggers that deserve warnings tend to be events or experiences that invoke memories of other traumatic events or experiences.  Those kind of triggers were unknown to me.  Until I went into the kidding barn yesterday.  I fed Allie and watched as her kids gathered round the feed trough.  The kids have started nibbling grain alongside their mom.  The farmer in me approved of this behavior as kids that start eating solids early are healthy, vigorous, and easier to wean.

But as I watched as the doeling shoved her head right next to Allie’s face in the trough, I felt a little queasy.  Allie, being  a nursing mother, was starving.  Why did the kid have to push her out of the way? And  I remembered all those years of being starving, watching my family sit down to eat, but always having to nurse the baby before I could join them.

Then the other kid joined in and also crammed next to Allie, trying to get at the exact bits of grain that she was eating.  Knocking into the trough and spilling food everywhere.  I took a horrible picture.  Because I was feeling faint.  And my hands were shaking.  And I remembered all the years of balancing an infant on my lap as the infant grabbed my fork halfway to my mouth, spilled my drink, yanked the plate onto our laps, spilling food all over us.

Finally, the grain was gone and Allie headed over to her hay rack for some roughage.  The doeling followed and started nibbling on hay, too.  The exact piece of hay that was dangling out of Allie’s mouth.  And my heart started pounding.  I could barely breathe.  Because I remembered trying to eat while a toddler whined about wanting what I was eating.  Which was the exact same thing as what was on the toddler’s plate. Except mine was better, obviously.  He needed my food.  Now.  Mommy.  I want it!  Mommy!  Now!

And I lost it.


Huh.  That sh*t is for real, people.

To think I’ve been posting pictures of baby goats on this blog for years.  Without any warnings.  As if they weren’t frightening, grain-gobbling, food hogs capable of sending any mother into cold sweats.

I’m sorry.

Caution:  Baby Goats Are Not As Innocent and Harmless As They Appear.  View At Your Own Risk.


Nailed it.

Because politically correct is what I do, people.   It’s what I do.


3 Responses to “Triggered.”

  1. Jill
    October 29th, 2015 @ 6:45 am

    Those 5 fire call days are a trip. Pack your lunch or call me. 🙂 I viewed the baby goats at my own peril, but I’ve had enough triggers to last me a lifetime already this week.

    Very cute entry and too true!

  2. Lisa D
    November 6th, 2015 @ 1:24 pm

    Wow. Never realized what a selfish mom I have been…..

    Loved this post — read it at my own risk 🙂

  3. Becca
    November 26th, 2015 @ 6:12 pm

    I’ve been reading your entries for long time and as a goat owner and mom of six I love them to death. You have a great talent . Will say I’m a little dissapointed on this last one. One of my teens is a rape survivor and if you’ve spent hours holding hands and helping someone to breathe through debilitating panic attacks you get a little cranky when people get flippant about triggers. Sure a little common sense goes a long way in avoiding pitfalls, but a little empathy doesn’t hurt. That said? Evil baby goats are a cure for many many evils. #therapygoats.

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