Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Triage on Planet Baby (or are the pixies' cries reasonable?)

Well, my lovelies (all 171 of you), it seems you all enjoy a good party! The celebrations over, now I can turn to a more prosaic matter on Planet Baby. Are you familiar with the concept of 'triage'? Before Mr PB and I moved to this crazy planet, I had always associated 'triage' with doctors and nurses. My dictionary defines it as 'the process of sorting victims, as of a battle or disaster, to determine medical priority in order to increase the number of survivors, or the determination of priorities for action in an emergency'. Then recently the penny dropped. I do it every day. All day.

My box of tricks
Not quite in the medical sense, of course - I am a lawyer and not a doctor for very good reasons - but in many respects, that's my job. I am constantly assessing which of the three pixies is in need of the most acute attention.  Logic would dictate that the youngest would be in most need of attention, most of the time. But the pixies don't run on logic, more's the pity (it took the lawyer in me a long time to come to terms with that inconvenient fact). I can never assume Sam's needs are greater than Joshua's or India's.  It all depends on the circumstances.

Particularly when all three of them are crying at once. It happens most days. I am offering free tickets to anyone who would like to attend this symphony recital. Just let me know your addresses and I'll pop them in the post.

I do try. I do. It's really hard. Sometimes I get it right and sometimes I don't.  I try not to beat myself up if I stuff up but as long as there are no dire consequences involved pertaining to life or limb, then I just have to take a deep breath, mutter under my breath "Suck it up, Buttercup!" and reconsider my options.  The worst that can happen is that they all cry a little longer. I can now cope with that.  After five years of listening to crying every day, I am pretty much inured to it.  Not that I don't respond to it, I just know what to take seriously and what not to.  Most of the time.  

Watch out, danger's about!
There are exceptions, of course, like the day when the older pixies were calling out for my help and I was doing something really important like blogging (ahem). I called out the standard "Hold on, I'll be there in a sec" line and they accepted it. Foolishly, I thought that was acquiescence in the sense of "Sure. It's not important. We can wait". Some moments later when I walked slowly (bad Mummy) to the front door to see what all the kerfuffle was about, to my horror and eternal shame, my darling little Sam was lying on the ground, crying, having crawled out the open front door so 'helpfully' left ajar by his siblings and over the edge of the verandah. It was a drop of about 10 centimetres but enough to warrant his feeling a little sore and sorry for himself. Make that a lot. Gee, did I feel bad. Fortunately, a quick cuddle reassured him and (I fervently hope) he soon forgot about it.  Not one of my finer moments, to be sure.

In the main, however, most of the time I manage to strike the right balance.  Of course, Sam's physical needs are paramount, given he's not walking confidently yet. I have to be ready to pounce at a moment's notice to rescue him from peril. However, generally, he's manageable. When the older pixies are involved, it's often a lot more complex with the old "He did it first" and "No, she did it first" lines of argument often employed. Then I become a mediator of the first order (my lawerly negotiation skills get a good workout) and attempt to restore peace and sanity to PB. I also have to handle the very different personalities and ages involved in order to respond with an age-appropriate sanction, if required.

So, yes, it's a challenge but I'm learning on the job. I dip my lid to the kind souls who do real triage every day in hospitals around the country - you are an inspiration! So tell me I'm not alone here! How does triage operate in your family? Do share - we might be able to help each other!


  1. ah yes, sometimes I would rather negotiate with armed terrorists than my two... as for assessing whose needs are greater, I mostly go by instinct or actual bodily harm! I look forward to reading all the replies!!! x

  2. The negotiations continue
    into their older years
    and the "training" in
    triage that you are gaining
    now will be very helpful!
    When I had #1 my mom told
    me not to go by the books,
    but to listen to my instincts,
    and that was the best advice,
    ever!!! So, I will pass that
    sage wisdom on to you, dear
    Jane. You are a wonderful mom
    and it sounds like you do listen
    to that inner triage nurse or
    doctor! The best we can do is
    xx Suzanne

  3. Lol at last comment. I have been known to say in a supermarket, in the lolly aisle "I don't negotiate with terrorists". Good luck, Jane, whatever works at the time.

  4. Fortunately I haven't had to don the red cross at home too often lately.

    Cpt. V's children are into more interesting personal disasters ie; this afternoon the middle child is going to an ENT after confirming yesterday that yes, the sore nose cracked by an elbow in Saturday's basketball game is, in fact broken!

    I think I actually prefer your version of triage, cuddles and bandaids vs anaesthetic and ice!

    Felicity x

  5. Emma, you're such a hoot! I know what you mean, though...

    Loving the wisdom, Suzanne - it's a relief to know what we're doing now might come in handy later!

    Ah, Nessa, I'll keep that one up my sleeve...

    Oh, Felicity, that's terrible. Sending you healing vibes from Hobart. J x

  6. Jane, I think all the comments above say it all, perfectly. I am such a strong believer in 'whatever works for you' and I am able to NOT listen to other people's opinions on what I do...makes for a much happier me :) So I concur and emphasise what a wonderful mother you are lovely lady:) Huge hugs to you ~ Txx


Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, you gorgeous soul. You've just made my day! J x

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