Who are you and what have you done with my sweet kid?

It erupts as a defiant, screeching noise, and then is followed by several behavior choices that result in a time out-no doubt directed at her younger sister. A four-year-old's world can be so easily disrupted and then just as quickly spiral down to depths no mother could fathom (or begin to control).
With all this screaming and hitting and anger, I didn't notice I had lost my daughter until it was too late. The sweet, pleasing, helpful child I knew so well had quickly fallen away, revealing only a shadow of her former self who's key purpose was to unnerve me.
I don't know how many times I muttered under my breath, "What is wrong with you today?" or "They are driving me crazy!" over the course of the last week.
Lying in bed last night after a particularly difficult bedtime routine, I skimmed through the past few challenging days. I realized it was Shelby who was the key instigator of all things frustrating, and the younger Ana who had mastered the Scream Reaction.
And then the psychologist in me came out. Why is she so short-tempered? What happened to her?
I mean, we spent the weekend at my parents house-who spoil her rotten! She got so much attention from them I didn't hardly lift a finger...I didn't have to give her any attention, I didn't think so anyway... I have been a bit busy with the mundane activities of everyday life lately...have I made actual eye contact with her? Have I hugged her lately just to hug her? Well...hmmm.
Alright, case in point: I have delivered a sub par parenting performance lately. How do I regain the happy boisterousness of my eldest daughter? How do I right the wrongs of my selfish week?
She could definitely benefit from some one-on-one time with Mom.
So I dragged myself out of bed this morning at 6:30 (UGH) and showered before I tip toed into the girls' room and invited Shelby on a Mommy Walk with just me. No baby sister to carry around, to steal the spotlight.
It was a beautiful morning and a beautiful moment together. We held hands, we chit chatted. We reconnected. I think I found my little girl.


The End of Veganism

"I'm on my way home, what's for dinner?" John sarcastically asked over the phone. It was the close of our fourth day as fat free vegans in a half hearted attempt to cleanse a few of the organs in our toxic bodies. And hear me now, fat free veganism is a lot easier to say than it is to practice. By this point, I had acclimated my system to intense water consumption and no longer craved a double bacon cheeseburger with a side of chocolate. I happily crunched carrots and trail mix through the day, and silently passed the venomous gas that had accumulated in my so-called less toxic body whenever necessary. Detoxified...my ass! John called back as he was coming into town, "Hey, I need a beer." The man had read my mind. So we celebrated our last fat-free-leafy-greens-and-a-side-of-beans-meal with an ice cold beer. And then we got up the next morning and successfully negated all detox with a pound of bacon and a cheese and sausage omellette. All hail the end of veganism!