Eight Years ago today….

“Beep.  Beep. Beep.”

I look up.  Rubbing my eyes. Trying to figure out what that sound was.

“Beep. Beep. Beep.”

Oh.  Evan’s feeding pump is alarming. He’s done.

Craig walks in the bedroom  and once I see him I close my eyes and try to get a few more minutes of sleep.

The sleep lasts about 10 minutes as I hear Craig rustling around our drawers to find socks for work.

I open my eyes, smile at him, and sleepily say, “I love you honey.  Have a great day.  Be safe.”

Something I’ve said every work day since we’ve been married.

He looks back at me.  Flashes me the same smile I fell in love with over 16 years ago and says back, “I love you, too.  Happy Anniversary.”

He pauses.  Smiles and lets out small laugh and says, “A little different than last year, huh?”

And he walks out the door to work.

I laughed at the thought.  Last year we were lounging on the sandy beaches of Mexico in our beach bungalow equipped with four poster bed, outdoor pool, outdoor bed (hey now…), outdoor shower (oh baby….) and a personal concierge.

I look over as the other man in my life suddenly lets out a sleepy yawn..then gags…getting ready to throw up.

I smile at the little butterball, comfy in his Mickey Mouse jammies.  Evan’s eyes open and his brow furrows…not quite sure if he’s ready to wake up.  He looks around and sees my face.

Then, he flashes his smiles I fell in love over 3 months ago – all gum, all cleft, too perfect.

I hear the bedroom door open.  There she is.  My sleepy girl.  In an outfit I’m pretty positive she picked out blindfolded – rock and roll jammies and a Dora shirt  – both too small – a bit too tight – when did she grow up?

She’s clutching her Daisy Duck – her best friend – her hair everywhere, her lips puffy from sleep, rubbing her sleepy eyes and says to me, “Momma  – I need to to tee tee.  And then I want a smoothen.”

I smile again as she climbs up the bed and greets her brother.  “Good morning, brudder.  Don’t throw up!”

What a difference year makes.

 

For better for worse.  For richer for poorer.  Through sickness and in health.

Vows Craig and I made to one another 8 years ago today.

Young.  Naive. Saying the vows because we loved each other.  And living on a prayer that our love would be enough.

Fast forward to today.

Our lives are so different than we would have ever imagined.

We knew we wanted a family.  We thought we’d have the 2.5 kids, white picket fence, dogs to match, living in an identikit house somewhere on in Texas – never leaving the greatest state in U. S. and A.

I think most people dream of those things if that’s what’s in their “life plan.”

We never in a million years would have thought that we’d be “those” people with a special needs child.

A child that suddenly changes everything.

A child that suddenly makes you live out your vows every.single.day as a married couple.

For better….or worse…

For richer….for poorer…(those dang medical bills…)

Through sickness…and in health…

I will never be able to erase the images from my memory of when we first found out about Evan’s diagnosis when I was 22 weeks pregnant, when we found out the severity of his heart defect, when I gave birth and him taken from me – as I watched Craig walk behind the medical transport team – crying, alone – without me by his side, when he finally held Evan for the first time in the Cardiac I. C. U. , when we found out Evan had to have surgery, when we thought the surgery failed, the walk from his ICU room to the cold, anesthetic hallways of the surgery floor…handing over our son to save his life.

I’ll never want to erase them.  As hard as our lives have been this year and I know without a shadow of a doubt will continue to be hard with Evan’s open heart surgery in the distant (still too near) future, I’ll never want to forget.

In those moments, the lowest of the low to this point, we’ve seen our marriage withstand it all.

We’ve still laughed together.

We still rejoice in the little things.

We pray together.

We hold onto – clinging desperately – to each other – to our vows – the choice we make every day to stand by each other. No matter what.

I can say without hesitation that I could not have made it through these last 4 months without Craig.  I often find myself dissolving into a puddle of tears over the fear and anxiety of Evan’s future.

I clearly remember my heart racing – hearing it pound and pulse in my ears – as the doctors said to us, “Evan is still very sick. The next day or so is very critical.”  And remember seeing the nurse escort the chaplain into our ICU room…someone you never want to see by your child’s bedside.

I don’t know what’s going to happen to Evan.  I wish I did.  I pray every day that God is going to give us a lifetime of memories – first words, first steps, first day of school – all those firsts you dream of for your child.

I pray those things everyday – knowing that God promised me that if I ask in faith with no doubting – He’ll give me the desires of my heart.  And there’s nothing more right now that I need to happen.  Memories with Evan…a lifetime of memories.

The one absolute in all those things I don’t know –  is Craig.  My marriage to him.  I know that he’ll be by my side – holding me up, lifting me up in prayer, dropping to our knees in prayer for our family, raising our hands up as we rejoice – these things – I do know.

Today, on our anniversary, our “family” birthday, I am humbled to be married to man I’ve loved over half my life, a man that found God, a man that leads our home, a man that has weekly ice cream dates with our best girl, a man that holds his sick son and prays over him.

A man that I still get nervous to walk out in front of when I’m all dolled up.  A man that when he smiles – I still get that delicious ache in my gut.  A man who’s kisses I still crave and need his arms to wrap around me.

A man that is the best Daddy to his little girl.  A man that is the best father to his best, boy. A man that is the husband I always prayed for but never thought God could bless me so great.

What a difference a year makes.  What a difference EIGHT years makes!

Happy Anniversary, Craig.

I love you.  Always.

 

Happy Mother’s Day!

I’m sitting in my kitchen this morning surrounded by dirty dishes, two dogs that are begging to go outside, Evan happily swinging in his swing while he gets fed by his feeding pump.

There is a mound of laundry waiting to be washed, folded, put up – a mixture of Craig’s work shirts, maternity pants (yes….I still happily wear them almost 4 months post baby), Dora and Princess panties, and onesies adorned with dinosaurs, robots, and baseballs.

I’ll walk into my bathroom and probably trip over a toy as I try to get into my shower.  There is a dolphin waiting to be bathed, a duck waiting to go swimming, and an oversupply of the best smelling baby bath wash – while I pound my own shampoo and conditioner bottles to get a drop for my hair that hasn’t been washed in a few days – since I’ve failed yet again to buy more.

There’s a very good chance I’ll find a Goldfish or a fruit snack tucked away in the couch.  There’s a 100% chance I’ll find a tiny morsel in my car on the floor boards…where they tend to gather and multiply like magic.

I remember my beautiful house that I decorated meticulously when we first moved in over 3 years ago – pre-babies – with leather couches, paintings, mocha colored furniture and all sorts of shades of neutral – to give my house the calm, put together look out of a page of a home magazine.

Now….my house is a now a home…the neutrals are cut with bright, bold colors of masterpieces made with tiny, hands, the furniture is now lost in a sea of toys, and there is rarely a moment of calm anymore – with two kids – there’s always a tear to dry, a story to listen to, a song to sing, a bottom to wipe, a toy to find, a hungry mouth to feed, a face to be kissed, a hug to give.

This Mother’s Day is incredibly special to me.  I feel like it’s my first again.  The immense pride I felt when I celebrated the first one – knowing that I joined a special sisterhood of women – known as Mommy, Mama, Moms…

This year I get to celebrate this Mother’s Day as a mom to a healthy, beautiful, compassionate, independent, little girl – my Iz.

I also get to celebrate this Mother’s Day as a heart mom to my heart warrior Evan – a little boy who loves life, has a wide cleft-filled, contagious smile – my cuddle bug that has won over the hearts of so many with his brave, fight for his life.

It wasn’t that long ago when he was struggling during his recovery that I wondered if I would be at this Mother’s Day mourning Evan’s life instead of celebrating it.  But, God has given us the gift of many more sunrises and sweet lullaby nights.

Today, I don’t want to celebrate me…even though today is supposed to be about me.  I want to celebrate my two kids that have given me indescribable gifts – a heart that knows no limits to love, faith that is being tested and refined, and a purpose that was God given.

Today, I hope and pray that, as mother’s, we celebrate the imperfections of our life.  The messy house, the exhaustion, the busy schedules, the endless amount of chores….

I hope we celebrate the tantrums, the silliness, the laughter…

Because for me, I truly know how it feels to wonder about the mortality of my child.  Wonder if there will be a tomorrow..wonder if I’ll get to change another diaper, dry another tear, find another toy, do another load of laundry, kiss his sweet face, hold his tiny body.

I finally understand the incredible gift I’ve been given – this privilege to be a mother – a thankless, tireless, job – that brings out the worst in me and the best of me.

So on this Mother’s Day, I celebrate with thanksgiving that both of my children are here today.

I celebrate you, my fellow Mommy and Heart Mama, because today we get to raise our cups of coffee, spiked with Kahlua and say to each other, “Thank goodness for alcohol!”

Cheers!

I’m hungry just thinking about this….

Evan’s little body has endured so much already.

It makes me so thankful for all the things I took for granted.

A healthy heart, a healthy body…

And since his diagnosis, Craig and I made a promise to each other.

We would take care of our bodies because we are so thankful for the gift we’ve been given of a healthy heart and healthy body.

Of course, we indulge on the occasional sweet and occasional glass of wine (or margarita…or beer…or martini…) but overall we’d make sure to care for our bodies so that we could live a long life for our Isabelle, for Evan and for one another.

I mean..how crappy would it be for Evan to endure all of these heart surgeries and then Craig and I keel over.

Now, I know that we can’t prevent many things – but one thing we can do is to make sure we care for our bodies to the best of our abilities.

My sweet Evan forced me to put on 60 lbs during my pregnancy.  I mean…I would crave spoonfuls of Nutella over vanilla ice cream…and all those cravings were Evan telling me he NEEDED those things….

So, now…3 months post partum…I have about 18 lbs of weight to lose to get to my pre-pregnancy weight.

Now…why the obsession with losing weight.

First – vanity.  Let’s be real…I want to look good.  But for me to look good…I have to feel good on the inside.  And, seeing a fit body makes me feel good.

Second – health.  My blood pressure is a bit high.  Yes…I am under a teeny tiny bit of stress 😉  But, the added weight doesn’t help.  I know this for a fact because I was this EXACT weight when I was put on blood pressure medication 6 years ago.  Once I lost the 20 lbs…my blood pressure was normal…better than normal.  And with Evan already on 8 medications and open heart surgery scheduled….there really is no need for me to put myself in a situation where my heart is in danger.

Third – family.  I want to be here to see Isabelle walk down the aisle and discovers the cure for CHD.  I want to be here when Evan wins his first Pulitzer Prize and wins his first Master’s and gets his green jacket.  I want to hold Craig’s hand when we’re old and gray…

I want to be the person for my family that they deserve.  I want to be the person for me that I deserve.  I want to have a full life…feel at my best to be my best.

So, starting on Monday….I’ll be documenting my weight loss journey.  I’m not overweight like the Biggest Loser overweight.  I’m just a normal mom – who wants to lose the baby weight to be the best version of myself for my family and for me.  I have a normal life – with the added stress of a heart baby.  I have to clean a house, get dinner on the table…I won’t commit to a gym or some crazy weight loss program.  I’ll make adjustments in my diet and make time to work out – even if that work out is a 30 minute stroller walk with my best guy.  I wish I could spend 3 hours at the gym and have a personal chef…but let’s face it…so many of us don’t have that luxury.

Encouraging words and some heckling to motivate me will be appreciated.  Ok…just the encouraging comments.  The last thing I need is to get my feelings hurt because then I’ll turn to my therapist…Mr. Chips and Queso, M.D.

Here’s to a healthier me…

Tomorrow…pictures. EEK.

 

Beating the Odds

Marriage these days is just something you do.  Over 50% of them end in divorce.

Not something you cherish after saying your “I do’s.”

A Kardashian said forever…for about 20 days.

I see billboards all the time for “Quick and Easy Divorce in 30 minutes.”

Considering most brides take over 6 months to plan a wedding…it’s a sad, sad thing that you can end a marriage in less time than a “Jersey Shore” episode.

Marriage is taken too lightly.  It’s not treasured, taken care of, or loved enough.

People forget that marriage is a lot of work.  It’s not a fairy tale, not a romance novel, not a sitcom that ends happily everyday.

I love being married.  I really do.  I love knowing that Craig and I have committed our lives to each other.  It’s kind of amazing that he chose me over every other woman out there.

I also know that we are extremely blessed to have a marriage that has lasted over 7 years.  But it’s been a lot of work.  A lot of choosing to stay…always remembering that we both have a choice – every day – to stay put and build our life together.

So, when I think about how hard it’s been – and rewarding – being married for a little over 7 years has been – I am in awe that today we celebrating my parent’s 40 year wedding anniversary.

Today, in front of family and friends from all over the world, my parents will say their vows once again to one another.  They’ll vow to love, honor and cherish each other.  They’ll promise to keep each other close through sickness and in health. They’ll once again commit to making it work through richer or poorer.

Their marriage hasn’t been perfect.  As a family, we’ve seen so many hardships.  Immigrating to the United States, creating the American dream for my sisters and I.

They sacrificed so much for our family.  Gave so much of themselves to keep our home, give everything they could to my sisters and I…

And no one knows – but my Mom and Dad – how tough it must have really been all those years we struggled.  How the strain of finances, their rebellious children, the distance when they lived apart, the multiple jobs they each had to take to give their children all they could ever want or need…how all of it affected them as husband and wife.

So, today, when my family – Craig, Iz, Evan and I – walk down the aisle as a family – and watch my sisters and their families make that same march to the altar – I will be choked up and speechless.  Because today, I will get to see my parent’s renew their vows…reaffirm their commitment to each other…the vow that started their legacy in us and in their grandchildren.

Today…I get to watch them say their “I do’s” as I sit with my husband and my children and hold them close to my heart.  Today…I feel a gratitude unlike any other to them – for fighting for their marriage, fighting for each other, fighting for their family – beating all the odds.

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad.  We love you.

 

for Craig

I often forget that Craig is dealing with all of this, too.  He is so optimistic most days that when he has a bad day – I get frustrated – wanting him to be strong for me.  But, he can’t  some days – and it’s then I have to be the strong one for us.  With our family being apart, it’s taken a toll on everyone. So today, I ask that you not only pray for my Evan but pray for the other man in life…

I love you – Craig.  Forever.

 

He held her as she held their son,

He kissed her forehead – of the woman who was “the one.”

 

For better or worse, through sickness and in health,

They looked down at their child…wanting to give more of themselves.

 

A helpless feeling for the leader of their family.

He was supposed to fix it all – after all – he’s Daddy.

 

But, a heart that is broken, was out of his hands.

He just wanted to give more – give all that he can.

 

He is supposed to be brave, supposed to be strong.

But he soon realized his son was the one – who’s been brave all along.

 

He wipes the tears of his wife, holds the hands of child.

Being the brave one – holding his tears back all the while.

 

He makes promises of “it’ll be fine.

And prays so hard …that his promise is right.

 

He worries about his son – his health and surgeries.

Late at night – in his solitude – is when he sends pleas….

 

To his Father above – to heal his son’s heart.

He’s been praying for a miracle – right from the start.

 

He prays for baseball games and football season – all the fun things.

He prays for tickle fights and chasing – the joy that life brings.

 

He prays for his son’s future and just wants him to be ok.

All the while being strong for his family day to day.

 

He worries to provide as the bills pile high.

He worries about the rest of life as he lets his wife cry.

 

It breaks his heart as he asks his son to fight.

And wishes he could take his place – with all of his might.

 

But, he knows all he can do is stay strong in his faith.

And continue to pray for healing everyday.

 

He holds onto promise that the Word must be true.

And turns to his Father…since He’s a Daddy, too.

 

 

 

My kids rock

Evan smiled at me – a real smile that was meant for just me.

He was moved to the regular floor and out of ICU.  He is progressing in recovery as well as can be expected after having heart surgery almost 2 weeks ago.

I saw Iz today and got a kiss and hug from my best girl – we also ran from dragons, rapped (yes…rapped) “Apple Bottom Jeans”, giggled uncontrollably over absolutely nothing.

She can now visit me and brudder in the hospital and is coping well with all the changes of me being gone.

My son is teaching me to cherish life.

My daughter is teaching me how to live it.

 

 

Surgery day

5 A.M.

The alarm beeped.

Time to wake up.

“Please God.”

I opened my eyes, ready to head back to the hospital, and so not ready for what was ahead of us.

But, I couldn’t cry.

I didn’t cry.  He needed my strength – he needed everything I had.

I walked into his room in CICU and asked his nurse how Evan had done for the 5 hours I tried to sleep at the hotel down the road.

“Ok – a few moments of desaturations.  His oxygen dropped again.  But, we were able to bring it up.”

Confirmation – today was so important – so necessary.

I put my stuff down and decided to say good morning to my boy before I sat to pump.  Hoping I could make some breast milk for him…just trying to give him something when I knew I could do so little for him now.

“Hi Buddy.  You’re going to do great.  So many people are praying for you.”

And finally – the tears started to fall.  But, my heart felt hope and not helplessness.

I felt a sense of peace, a confidence in the day.

Craig walked in.  Silent.  Sat down in the chair.  Didn’t say a word to me or to Evan. Pain – it’s what I saw in his eyes.

I finished pumping.

7 AM – the team would be here soon to transport him for surgery.

I asked the nurse if I could peel off his warming blanket so I could see his beautiful, untouched chest for the last time.  Soon, it would be marred by the scalpel of the surgeon who would help give my boy a few more months before his open heart surgery.

I found his pudgy hand.  The hand I’ve held onto as I sang lullabies.  The hand I’ve kissed a million times. I put my finger next to it and his little fingers wrapped around mine.

Still inbuated and on a high dose of medicine to keep him calm and sedated, his hand still knew my touch.

I ached as I watched his face make the motions of a cry and the tears form but no sound.

The Silent Cry – when your child is intubated no sound escapes from their body – but you know the look of their cry and the tears as confirmation.

And all you wish for is to hear the sound of your child’s sob.

7:10 AM – soon…they’d be here soon.

“Evan – you’re going to do great.  I love you so much.  Daddy and Iz love you so much. You are loved.  I can’t wait to bring you home again.  I can’t wait for you to hear Iz sing songs to you.  Soon, we’ll be able to go outside and take walks.  It’s going to warm up soon.  The dogs will come with us.  We’ll snuggle in bed together and watch my shows like we did when we were home.  We’ll have so much fun.”

I needed to flood his mind with thoughts of the future and images of his past.  He needed to know what he was fighting for.

I needed him to know that he was loved – is loved.

7:35  AM – the team comes in.

Craig finally stands up.  Puts his hand on mine and we hold Evan’s hands between ours.  He kisses my head and I can hear him start to sob.

We step back and let the surgical team prep him for transport.  Craig and I held onto each other as we watched – helpless.

“Ok – we’re ready – want to give him a kiss?”

I lean over him.  Take a deep breath and drink in his scent.  My tears – yet again – anointing him – praying and pleading for God to protect him.

“We’re all praying.  God will be with you.  I love you.”

Craig gave his son a kiss – an image I’ll never be able to erase – the pain on his face as he kissed Evan.

We walked to the O.R..  A silent walk except for the beep of the machines and the quiet sobs that escaped mine and Craig’s bodies.

We finally arrived at the O.R. doors. The anesthesiologist turned to us and said, “Ok – this is it.”

We each gave another kiss to son.

I looked at the team of doctors and nurses and said, ‘Take care of my boy.”

They nodded and promised they would.

We stood silent as they wheeled him in.  The doors swung shut.

It was in their hands and His hands now.

8:10 AM – And all I could do was pray.

*******************************************************************************************************

Evan did great in surgery.  It took about 2 1/2 hours – faster than expected since he did not have to go on bypass.

The surgeon came in and said he did great but the next 24 hours is so critical for him.  He felt good about the surgery and said he hoped it would give us at least 6 months until his next surgery – Evan’s open heart surgery. Ugh…

We’ve been praising God for the surgery and praying to God for his recovery.

We rejoice in the victories of today but know that Evan’s fight is still not over.

Our gratitude for your prayers runs deep.  Thank you from the bottom of our *broken* heart.

 

 

Today it’s your birthday!

BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!

My eye’s popped open.  Panic.

I leaned over and put my hand on Evan’s chest.

It was moving up and down.  A little rapid – but moving.

He squirmed from the disturbance of his deep sleep.

I took a harder look – he looked ok – pink still. 

The oxygen monitor had given me the BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! warning that his oxygen levels were too low.

“Is he ok?” Craig asked me.  He walked in to the bedroom – sleepy. 

“He’s ok – I think.” I told him. 

We had just been on the phone with his cardiologist a couple hours earlier.  All day, Evan hadn’t been himself.  His oxygen was lower than normal for him.  It would dip to numbers that made our hearts sink. 

“Ok – just let me know if his levels stay low.”  And Craig walked out of the room.

I laid my head down.  Looked at Evan.  Looked at the door that just shut and whispered, “Happy birthday, honey.”

*********************************************************************************************************

It’s his birthday today.

The man of my life.  The man I ask to lead our family.  The man that wakes at 5am to make his commute to work so that he can get home before 5pm to spend time with his family.

The man that is the wiper of tears, the kisser of boo boos, the hero to our Isabelle.

He stops what he’s doing to the sound of, “Daddy – will you play with me?”  He puts aside his work – whatever he’s doing – to search for snakes, to dance in the living room, to read about princesses.

He makes the best peanut butter and honey sandwiches.  He can make a mean frozen pizza.

He takes over night feedings on the weekends to give this tired Mama a break.

He walks in the door from work, gives me a kiss, and picks up his sick son and holds him most of the night because – well – “he’ll just cry if I put him down.”

He’s the man that held my hand at the birth of our daughter.

He’s the man that reassured me at the birth of our son.

He was constant support, optimist, leader in faith as we watched our son struggle in the hospital.

He was Evan’s advocate in the first minutes of his life.

He is still Evan’s advocate and best buddy for the rest of life.

He’s the man I have loved for over half my life.

He’s the man I prayed for but never feel like I deserve.

He’s my best friend.

And today – despite our life – the situation we’re in – the two year old tantrums, the future we’re not sure of for our son, the marriage that is full of stress yet still full of love – I pray that his birthday is still a happy one.  Because today – is my favorite day of the year.

Happy birthday, Craig.

You’re everything, I never knew, I always wanted.

 

 

Happy 1 month!

Today I held you for as long as you let me – which was pretty much all day.

I let the dishes pile up.

I let the laundry wrinkle.

I let the beds stay unmade.

I realized when I woke up that you’ll be a month old tomorrow.

Where did time go?

The majority of your first month was spent in the hospital.  We watched you thrive, we watched you suffer, we watched you struggle, we watched you fight.

As a month in my life passes, no matter where we spent it, I’m incredibly blessed you have been in it.

Too many of your heart buddies have earned their wings recently.  Too many messages about babies meeting God far too soon.

Too many mamas hearts broken.  To many Daddies feeling helpless.

To talk about loss now, is not like it was when I was carrying you.

Now – I know you.

You’re my buddy.  You’re my Bird.  I know you’re cry.  I know how you feel in my arms.  I know every look.  I look into your eyes everyday.  I smooth back your hair while you sleep.

You’re Daddy’s boy.  You’re Isabelle’s brudder. You are the final puzzle piece to our family – you make us whole.

As a month passes, I count my blessings you’re here with us.

As a month passes, I know we are one step closer to your first surgery. A risky surgery that we have no choice but to have done on your little heart.  It may be one of many.  It’s also just one too many.

When Daddy and I made the decision to let you fight, I knew that everyday would be hard.

I didn’t realize it would be this hard.

I didn’t know I could love this deep.  I didn’t know fear this great.  I didn’t understand what really caring for a child meant.

So far – you’ve surpassed my every expectation of mine.  Sure – you feed from a tube.  Sure I have to take vitals every 4 hours.  Sure – I’m up every 2 hours with you.  But, you’re better than I could have ever imagined.

I love you, Bird.  I love you more and more everyday.  I love that you love being held.  I love that you love to eat. I love that you love when we sing songs.  I love that you love being rocked.

I love that you hate getting your diaper changed.  I love that hate bath time.  I love that you hate tummy time and mat time.

I love that your favorite place is in my arms.

Happy 1 Month, Evan.  Keep fighting son.

 

Bug and Bird

Ding! Ding! Ding!

In this corner…weighing 26 lbs, wearing Gymboree and big girl panties is Isabelle “Bug” Grace! Her partner…weight 8 lbs 5 oz, wearing Gerber footie pajamas, and size 1 diapers is Evan “Bird” Matthew!

Their opponent…weighing waytoomuchafterhavingababy, wearing maternity sweat pants, and hasn’t washed her hair in 3 days, is “The Mommy!”

Up for grabs – the mini weight title belt for “Baby Champion” – the one who is able to defeat Mommy and bring her down!  Unlike regular matches – these two will battle against each other – not at each other.  They will each take a blow at Mommy to see who is able to make her crumble!

Bug – the seasoned veteran – earning her name by first being called “Lady Bug” then “Bug” for short.  Her signature moves – tee teeing in her panties when she should go in the potty, throwing her toys, and yelling “No” for no apparent reason.

Bird – the rookie – earning his name for the baby sounds he makes when he sleeps – sounding very much like a baby “Bird.”  His signature moves – crying uncontrollably and making his face turn purple, pulling out his feeding tube, holding his breath!

Round 1:  Bug takes her stance.  Wait..what is she about to do?  Oh yes – the classic – take out all of her toys, put them on the floor, and not put them back.  Mommy fights back with her best rendition of – “Clean up, clean up, everybody do their part!”  Bug looks at her and ignores the Mommy.  Taking another strike – Bug pours out all of her blocks.  Mommy holds her ground, grabs a trash bag, and starts putting all the toys in the “garbage” and tells Bug that if the toys aren’t picked up, they’ll be thrown out.  Bug backs down.  Starts to put up the toys.

Round 1: MOMMY WIN!

Round 2:  Bird has on his game face.  Wait..it’s the poop face.  Hold on – his timing for this move is perfection – JUST as Mommy is changing his diaper and doesn’t have a wipey on a diaper to cover his – ahem – man parts.  Mommy recognizes the face – swiftly moves and grabs a wipe.  OH NO – the wipe is doing that awful accordion thing where you pull out one wipe but the rest of the 250 follow it!  Mommy hurries up to pull off just one…BUT…Bird unleashes fury from down south and Mommy is too late.  The mess is everywhere…and it’s 2am.

Round 2:  Bird WIN

Round 3:  Bug makes a move.  Oh no – she’s pulling out the big guns!  It’s the battle of the bedtime routine.  Bug decides that 8pm is not when she wants to sleep. She performs her best moves – asking for water, wanting another story, saying she doesn’t feel good, and the one to really bring down The Mommy – “I just want you to lay down with me and sing me a song because I love you” move.  The Mommy – guilt ridden from all the lack of attention she’s given the Bug – moves in and is about to give into the Bug.  Then…she sees the look of victory and the evil giggle escape The Bug.  Mommy draws back…The Bug sees the Mommy make this move…and then says the unspeakable, “Mommy – PLEASE lay down with me and pray.”  Ah yes…the prayer card.  And even though prayers had been said – twice – the Mommy can’t deny her Bug another prayer session.

Round 3:  Bug WINS!

Round 4:  Bird looks like he’s conceded.  After a round of angry crying during a diaper changing, Bird is exhausted.  Mommy considers this a “W” in the Mommy column.  Mommy turns for a second to throw out the diaper and returns to the Bird.  The Bird is smiling his wide, smile – no teeth, all gums, all cleft, so cute.  Mommy thinks this is a truce.  WAIT – what’s different.  OH NO!  Bird actually did it!  He made his move – he PULLED OUT HIS FEEDING TUBE…again.

Round 4:  Bird WINS!

After only 4 rounds, the Mommy decides to throw in the towel.  Then, after a long day, the Bug gives the Mommy a hug and says “I love you SO much!” and The Bird fusses and only wants to cuddle.  It’s only after these two simple acts of love that Mommy realizes…she’s the winner.

WHATEVER….the Bug and Bird are the real winners…BWAHAHA