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The phone rings as I'm preparing dinner, and within seconds after answering, pandemonium breaks loose in the family room. Cradling the phone between my ear and my shoulder, I round the corner to see Reese jumping from the back of the couch onto a pile of cushions. Brooke appears to be wrestling Kerrington to the ground. Each of them is screaming, or crying, or making other indistinguishable, unsettling loud utterances.
It already had been a long day. I motion for the girls to be quiet, unheeded, and finally tell my caller abruptly that I'd call her back once everything was under control.
"Girls," I spat as I hung up the receiver. "Do you realize that I was on the phone? You cannot yell and carry on when I'm in the middle of a phone conversation."
Like Jekyll and Hyde, the patient and fun mommy from the morning -- the one who took the girls to the library, who walked and explored a local arboretum with them, the one who prepared a nice, healthy lunch at home -- had vanished, and the highly irrational, irritated one had taken her place.
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