There's always a moment (or ten) at any social gathering with parents and kids when at least one kid comes running into a room of adults crying.
The first order of business when this happens is to determine whether there's a significant volume of blood loss, a broken bone, or a trip to urgent care or the ER in the immediate future.
You can usually tell right away whether it's a serious or trivial situation based on the cry. Like penguins, parents can recognize the unique cries of their offspring and can readily distinguish between sibling fights, small scrapes, and toy-loss crying versus trip-to-the-ER crying.
This is known as phase one of triage.
Triage phase 2 is to figure out how, if at all, to assign fault and whether one's own child is to blame for making another kid cry and if so, what (if anything) to do about it.
This typical scenario unfolded yesterday at one of my Juneau sister wives' barbecues.
All eight kids present at this gathering were engaged in a veritable reenactment of Lord of the Flies outdoors. I was inside holding court before a group of moms, coloring in my adult coloring book and wondering aloud why people are into weird sexual fetishes like dressing up in a Dalmatian costume or dipping their balls in chocolate sprinkles.
At this very moment, a little boy wheeled into the room wailing. Initial good news: It wasn't my little boy, so next I had to determine whether one of my kids made this child cry. In which case, I might need to get off the couch and perform some sort of active parental intervention.
I say "might" because my usual response to verbal conflict is to ask what exactly the kids expect me to do about their problem, and direct them to figure out the solution their damn selves. If the conflict involves sword play, however, I might go outside and scream from a porch or something. (I guess you could say I'm more of a Model-T Ford mom than a helicopter mom).
As it happened, this particular fight was between this little boy and his older sister over who knows what. I didn't stop to find out, because at that point triage phase 3 kicks in, which is the "I don't care, please carry on" phase.
This is the phase when you can breathe a sigh of relief that no one is seriously injured and none of your offspring is responsible for anything bad happening. At that point, as far as you're concerned it's the other parent's problem and the kid can cry until he's 25 for all you care.
Carry on then!
Nothing left to do but keep drinking and hoping your kids don't climb on these commercial crab pots in your sister wife's husband's yard (Fig. 2).
Which then frees you up to amuse yourself watching your daughter play a decidedly Southeast Alaska game of "car on the ferry" (Fig. 1), in which these Playmobil people were too late making their ferry reservations for camping in Whitehorse, Yukon; so they had to send their car on the boat ahead of themselves, and meet up with it later.