I went through the barn routine for a couple of days after, but the process was getting me down. Because I was afraid. Which made me jumpy. Which is like a neon sign to cows: I am quivering mouse/You are big strong cow! I thought about it a lot. I discussed my fear with the kids. Helmets were mentioned. Tying the calf in the milking parlor was mentioned. I recalled everything I'd ever heard about cows. Hobbles? The belly rope trick?
I decided, mostly, I just needed to get my head together - was the kick actually pyschic? I decided to project calm assertiveness. I worked hard to remember "the slow way is the fast way", and I decided to try working from the point of view of the cow. Der, what took me so long?
What ever worked, the change is very happy. Baby gets tied in the milking parlor next to Little Red's head; she is less likely to kick wildly around her baby. I try to move with the casual authority of a Monk, chanting to myself "experts never hurry". I am lavish with praise. Also, humming bravely seems to help.
The cows are calmer. The Baby is delighted to play outside all day. I'm getting a 1/2 gallon of milk a day. And Little Red is keeping her feet on the down low. Oh yeah, I do love cows. Furthermore, I will win. Quitting is not an option. I've quit plenty in my life. Not this time. The stakes are high for me, the food I want to feed my children, the farm and their investment in a gorgeous new dairy parlor, and for the cows. Dairy cows can live up to 18 productive happy years. They have to be well and happy to last that long. Beef cows? They die young. Yeah, this is a coopertive venture; if I win we all win.