Our beautiful baby daughter Anabelle was born sleeping June 2010.
Blessed with the screaming arrivals of our gorgeous rainbow sons,
Alexander October 2011 and Zachary November 2013.

Diary of an Angel Mother, Rainbow Mother.
Heartbreak. Joy. Death. Life. But most of all Love.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Zachary @ 12 Months

Or well actually 13 months. 

Life since Zac's birthday has been crazy, we moved into our new house, had no internet for me to post with, and then it was Christmas - so opportunity to write his birthday blog has been slim. I've been slacking! 

He has changed so much since I last managed to write. He all of a sudden seems to understand so much of what we're saying to him. Of course the word 'no' gets met with him laughing at us, he's a cheeky little thing, but he knows. He 'gets' how to join in the game or the song now and will start rocking back and forth if you sing "Row your boat" with him, or tries to cover his face already to play Peekaboo.  His play his changing and he's becoming a proper little grown up boy now. His favourite Christmas presents have been his Egg box, his new toot toot toys and his ELC toybox bus filled with little characters. He is just loving putting the little eggs in and out of the box, the characters in and out of the bus and his little cars at the top of the ramps and pushing them down. 

It is funny. When Xander was this age he felt like such a big boy, the baby rapidly disappearing before my eyes, but with Zac, even though he can do much more physically than Xander could do he still feels like my tiny little Baby Small. I don't know whether it is because I have such a big boy Xander right next to him, or because he is quite a bit smaller than Xander was at the same age but he really is still my baby. 

My lovely Zachary, on your birthday you were still only 20lb 14oz.  I can't believe you are ONE! Your first year past us by so very quickly and here we are and we've already had your second Christmas. Although it really felt like your first considering you didn't open your eyes until 9.00pm on your first Christmas! 

Your birthday was really special. You had your special Dedication service at Church a few days before you turned one and your birthday party after that. You were the star of the show my boy, so happy and going wild with those instruments in your Happy Hands music party. You were beautiful. 

You just love music at the moment Zac. It is so cute, whenever one of your songs start singing you start dancing along with it rocking in time to the music. You adore music class on a Tuesday morning and are so good at playing along on the instruments, banging a drum with a maraca or shaking some bells along. 

You know who everyone is now Zac. If we ask you where somebody is you turn straight away and look towards them. I just love that you know I am Mummy,  Daddy is Daddy and Xander is Xander.  You've become so affectionate too, head rubbing into Daddy's beard and nuzzling, you are still such a cuddly boy and I love holding you in my arms.  I know all too well this time that before I know it cuddles will be more fleeting as you become a busier and busier, dare i say it, toddler! You're starting to give your own version of kisses when asked for a kiss too. "Have you got kisses for Mummy?" is met with you leaning opened mouthed towards me giving me wet slobbery but just gorgeous kisses complete with you saying Awww.  Daddy and Xander get kisses too! Just adorable :) 

You are starting to make a few noises that are sounding like recognisable words.  You've said hiya, and boo and something that sounds like Xander a few times and you are most definitely calling me Mama. Oh it makes me heart melt to hear you call me by name already and before you've said Dada too! 

You are so very clever at balancing and climbing now little Mr. You've already discovered this art of getting to 'high' places and the other week Daddy discovered you up on top of the coffee table at Nana and Bampi's house.  If there is something to step up onto you are straight on it - I'm so not ready for this, your brother was much older before he discovered he could climb! But you're so clever and it is so exciting to watch you at the moment.  Just before your birthday you started to briefly let go and stand by yourself for a few seconds, but just yesterday at 13 months and a day old you completely mastered standing up by yourself - you seem so small and dinky but you're so proud of yourself - you think it is such a great game and you even tried a few times to take a step forward yesterday too - those first steps they're not going to be too far away we imagine. 

You still have only the two teeth, but boy are you suffering again at the moment. Between you obviously teething with four teeth in your top gum bulging (cut already, they've been visible for weeks!) and suffering the ongoing side effects of your MMR jab this month has felt like one thing after another for illness and unsettled baby you.  I don't think ongoing  separation anxiety is helping the matter at all either, so needless to say, you're still not sleeping well but at least now we're in our new house we have a king bed to share when the night gets tough instead of just a double! 

For now following on from the pattern I set with your brother I'll leave you grow for a while now you've had your birthday and write about everything you can do when you reach your next half birthday. 

We love you so so much Baby Small. 

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Zachary @ 11 Months

In just under three weeks this wonderful little boy will be one! One!  This year has sped by at an astonishing rate; pretty unfathomable really that this time last year I was enormously pregnant and counting down the days anxiously to Zachary's birth day. 

So Zac is 11 months old. 

Last month I said I thought we would have a fire-cracker on our hands before long and I was definitely right! Zac has become really quite feisty and absolutely determined these last few weeks! He shouts when he wants to get up now, he shouts when he wants to get down, shouts when you are not getting his food quick enough, shouts when you are trying to dress him, shouts about going in the buggy or carseat and shouts at Xander when he won't let him play with the toy he wants!  More than ever before he has discovered his will and his voice. 

Zac is such an adventurous little thing now and the definition of 'into everything' - leave a door or gate open and he spots it within seconds and is off exploring, leave anything on the side within his reach and he'll have nabbed it before you know it. 

Mostly I think he just wants to be like his big brother. Whatever Xander is doing Zac wants to be doing, he won't leave Xander alone at the moment and although Xander is amazing at playing with his baby brother, sometimes, understandably he wants to play with his big boy toys without his pesky baby knocking everything over! 

I'll tell you this; a newborn and just turned two year old is MUCH easier than an almost one year old and just turned three year old. Chaos reigns! 

Darling Zachary, at 11 months old you weigh 20lb 13oz. You've had me worried my boy with your weight gain slowing down so much but the health visitor says you are just fine. You're definitely getting a bit more demanding of food now, wanting the second boob at milk time as well as up to 7oz of milk with Daddy when he gives you a bottle so with an ever increasing appetite I'm sure you'll be having a great big growth spurt and chunky weight gain before long. 

This month you have been getting more and more social. You are so funny and cheeky now little Mr. You are babbling more and more; constantly cooing to yourself, blowing bubbles and chatting away in your own little way.  You have learnt to 'High 5' too which is super cute. 

You are adventurous and into everything now. If we don't want you to have it you are all the more determined to get it - this month especially the TV remote or our mobile phones!  You are on the go all the time crawling from one place to the next and pulling yourself to standing whenever you can. I'm really impressed with your balance and control; you can sit yourself down from standing up now with quite a finesse instead of just landing on your bottom! 

Bathtime is a bit traumatic at the moment. You are an absolute nightmare my boy! You insist on standing up, and then slip and slide around. Mummy and Daddy are quite nervous you're going to crack your head open before long. You are utterly unimpressed being plonked back down on your bottom every two seconds which makes you very shouty and cross at us! Goodness, you love the water but it is just easier at the moment to give you a quick shower in with me than muster the energy to wrestle with you for bathtime. 

You love to play now Zac. You watch your brother all day long and are so desperate to do whatever he can do! Even though he isn't very impressed that you keep bulldozing all of his toys, you and Xander do play so beautifully together too now. You've learnt to be part of a game - one of your favourite things is to follow Xander around the room -  you've been playing chase around armchairs, through the play tunnel, under the dining room table, even around the big loop of the house. You both think it is hysterical; you because you can follow your big brother and Xander because you are following him!  It is gorgeous to watch and really makes Mummy smile. 

This month your favourite toys have been the bead frame and a green stem from a 'flower construction' toy - you keep picking it up and taking it everywhere with you! You've also discovered books this month and love turning the pages and listening to stories at bedtime like Xander. 

On the day you turned 11 months old you learnt to clap and wave! All in one dinner time you started to wave back at everyone and then a few minutes later started clapping your hands too. How clever are you?! 

I thought this month would be the month I was going to be able to say that finally sleep had improved. There was a two week stint of an amazing only waking up once in the night, and dare I say it four nights of sleeping through (!) in a row (!). But it wasn't to last, a horrible tummy bug hit you and your brother and sleep has become an unpredictable affair again since. Oh well. At least you've shown me you can do it and while I wait for you to sleep a bit better again I'll enjoy those snuggly sleepy cuddles, complete with you insisting on tucking your hand into my top now to go to sleep too. 

You are busy busy busy and absolutely delightful my lovely baby small. I can't believe your next update will be your birthday! 

Thursday, 23 October 2014

And Then He Was Three

 Can you believe my rainbow baby is three?! 

The last few weeks I've been doing a lot of reflecting; Anabelle's 3rd birthday was such a traumatic time maybe that is why the run up to Alexander's 3rd birthday found me in quite emotional deep thought at times too. I've been thinking about how differently her birthday and Alexander's birthdays make me feel, I've been remembering how frightened, how desperate we were just before his birth three years ago; how we had spent the last four weeks not just fearful, but absolutely beside ourselves scared we would lose him too. Three years ago we were experiencing the most extreme range of emotions; fear to floods of tears relief when he screamed his first breath. We kept him, we bought him home, our beautiful boy. 

And now he is three. Three joyful years with our wonderful boy. 

Something about his third birthday feels big, unnerving almost. This is a year of (more) big changes for Xander, and for me. This year I'll have to loosen those apron strings a bit, as he starts his own little adventure into the big wide world more independently of me. This year he will start half day's nursery class at school. Come January there is every chance he'll be given his nursery place and in all honesty I'm not sure I feel ready for this to happen. He seems so grown up now yet still so small, still my baby. I'm nervous about handing him over for half a day every day. I'm having real issues accepting I have to trust new people in a new place to keep him safe for me. 

You see for me it is less about him being 'looked after' day to day and so much more about him being kept safe, kept alive and back home with me again. 

I know, I know I sound like one of those Mum's.  

But this big growing up, nearly starting nursery boy is three. 

Another six months on from my last update and another explosion of development. This has been a six months of parenting extremes; delighting and exasperating in equal measure at times. Toddler's have some pretty terrific mood swings don't they?! There is no denying parenting a toddler is hard work, full of tears and tantrums but also full of such unconditional love and adventure. 

I think the biggest developmental leap has to be Alexander's speech. At two and a half he was using mostly three word sentences... now? There is no stopping him! He can totally hold his own in a conversation now, with his own input, ideas, questions, answers. He can remember and tell you all about his days now and beginning to understand and remember what is coming in the future. Some days I'm totally blown away with how busy his little mind must be! I love how Xander is constantly exclaiming what he can see, noticing the little details in the world that I have long taken for granted, blurred into my world background; but not Xander. Car journey's are never dull now with my backseat observational commentary from him! 

His vocabulary is ever expanding too, but I'll be honest, I'm being slow to correct some of his cute 'baby' language, although I've noticed recently he's starting to self-correct some of this himself as the weeks go by. I will miss 'RaaRaa' for lion and 'Baabaa' for sheet,'Dunt' for Elephant and 'My' when he should be saying 'I'. He has the cutest saying's; "Xander it is time for bed" is nearly always met with "No, my not go bed, my waking up." along with "my do it" whenever he wants to be independent and you dare help him! 

We're still learning to be independent going to the toilet. It has been a tricky business, just as I had a feeling it might be. I can safely say I've found the whole toilet training experience the most stressful parenting experience so far! After an initially fantastic beginning in May (aged 2.7m), including 8 weeks being more or less completely dry, it all went completely downhill over the summer and we even ended up back in nappies full time for three weeks. In hindsight we shouldn't have attempted toilet training in the middle of chaotic living circumstances... but we're on the up again now! 

After three weeks in nappies Xander decided he wanted big boy pants again and for the last four weeks I've been trying incredibly hard to take a more relaxed approach and it seems to be working; will I ever learn? This boy has always shown me he can lead the way to growing up success yet still I get twitchy. A year ago it was twitchy about the dummy and bottle, now it is toilet training. For now he wears big boy pants at home and nursery and pull ups for busy out and about days and with the pressure off we've only had a handful of accidents these last few weeks. Go Xander! Now the next hurdle is getting him to take himself to the toilet instead of it being adult initiated visits. 

Alexander is such an empathetic affectionate little boy.  He understands what it means to feel happy and sad now and his concern for people if they're upset is just lovely. I'm sure he could teach some grown-ups a thing of two about sensitivity! He gives the best 'make you feel better' cuddles and hearing him say 'I love you, Mummy' is the best feeling. 

Alexander continues to amaze me every single day. He is funny, amusing, inquisitive, determined, a real sense of self now and beautifully loving and sensitive . We're so incredibly proud of our boy. 

My darling boy. Where do I even begin?! You've had such a busy six months, you've had some (more) pretty enormous changes thrown at you and even as I write this we're in the middle of continuing upheaval. 

We moved house, or at least we're trying too! On your third birthday we were 'in between' houses, we have been for four months now. In the middle of June we moved out of the house we bought you home to and for now we're living with Nana and Bampi, just while our new house is fixed. You know you have a new house, you keep telling us that it is very messy and that Daddy is fixing it. Even so, I'm sure you must be wondering if this elusive new house is ever going to really happen. (Mummy is, that is for sure!) 

Although outwardly you coped brilliantly with moving into Nana and Bampi's you certainly showed some signs of feeling somewhat insecure for a while; disrupted bedtimes, difficult nursery drop offs, outbursts of anger/frustration, a massive regression in toilet training. Because you visited Nana and Bampi's house three or four times a week your whole life I think Mummy underestimated how much moving in here would affect you. And you know what fixed it? Simply beginning to call here 'home' instead of 'Bampi's house'. You simply needed to know that you were home. 

You have a really discovered who you are this year. You know you are Xander Morgan now and will tell us who you are when we ask you what your big name is. You find X for Xander everywhere! I love you pointing it out to me, it makes Mummy smile. You have your own ideas now, your own very favourite things, your own voice, your own opinions and you make sure your verbalise it too! 

You know all your numbers to ten now, you love counting. Sometimes, if there is two of something you know there are two without counting. You are bright and clever. You are learning all of the time. This last six months you have learnt how to pedal a trike, how to climb in the playground; getting braver and more coordinated and balanced all of the time. You are beginning to learn how to play catch now too. 

Your favourite thing at the moment is definitely Peppa Pig. You were late to the party on that one my boy, whilst your peers have been all about Peppa the Pig for a while we had avoided it until we moved in with Nana and Bampi. But then you discovered NickJr, and of course with it discovered Peppa. At the moment you cannot get enough of Peppa Pig; everytime a new episode begins you exclaim excitedly 'Its on again Mummy!' I think you'll be pleased with our Christmas trip this year; hint hint! 

You still love your dinosaurs, and diggers. You have discovered many a feature length film since Frozen and we've enjoyed introducing you to the world of Disney! You've even had your first trip to the cinema with Daddy! 

But what makes me proudest of all is the sweet, sensitive, loving little boy you are. You are still such a fabulous big brother to Zac. He utterly adores you and squeals in delight whenever he sees you. My favourite time of the day is first thing in the morning, when you realise you haven't seen eachother all night. Zac is the person you want to say hello to as soon as he has woken up, you ask to hold him every morning and love being given the job of looking after him. I hope you will always be the best of friends. 

My favourite bit about your birthday was you understanding it was your birthday; it made it all the more special and exciting. A week before your party I asked you if you knew what was happening next Saturday, and to my absolute surprise you answered that it was your birthday. You have been completely excited about being a big boy and being three, you have been excited about your party, and most of all excited about your birthday cake! Hearing you burst into spontaneous 'Happy birthday' song to yourself has been adorable too. 

Mostly you are just such a happy child and that is what matters most of all, that you are happy. I hope you look back on your childhood and know how completely adored you were, how precious you were and always will be. You've given us three years of complete joy and we cannot wait to share your journey to four with you little man. 

Keep being completely you. We love you. 

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Zachary @ 10 Months

The baby small boy is 10 months old. Ten. Months.  How did he get to double figures already? 

Zachary has had an absolutely amazing month. He has had an incredible burst of physical development and he has changed so much. At my last update he had just started to commando crawl just a few days before; a fortnight later he started to crawl properly, the day after that he pulled himself to standing for the first time, and the day after that he started to cruise up and down the sofa! What a week that was; talk about a leap and a half hey?! 

Now a few weeks later again he is a speedy little thing and quite the escape artist. Zac certainly notices an open door or gate now and makes a bee-line for it for freedom! 

This month I've really started to notice him trying to exert his opinion on a situation; particularly not wanting to go into his carseat or buggy! I don't remember the arch of the back and shouting at me starting this quite so early on with Alexander! I think we're going to have a fire-cracker on our hands before long! 

My lovely wonderful boy, at 10 months old you weigh 20lb 8oz and have really discovered the joy of movement. You are such a clever boy! In just a space of three days you learnt to crawl on your hands and knees, stand up against the sofa and start cruising along it. You are so proud of yourself little one, and so excited to be able to stand up tall now. Already you are experimenting with your balance, letting one hand go of the sofa and turning yourself to the side. You are so desperate to be wherever Xander is, this month you've been crawling after him all the time so I think he will be in for a shock when you can properly chase him on those feet!

You love taking steps now holding our hands; you can walk across a room with us standing above you now, and will take a few steps towards us if we're holding your hands outstretched. I'm so impressed with your balance, you keep letting go of one of my hands wanting to do some of this standing business by yourself. I don't think it will be long before you're trying to let go of the other one too! 

This month you have started nursery on a Wednesday, and Mummy went back to work. Mummy has found it so hard leaving you and Xander again and the best part of my work days is getting home to my boys. But we have settled into a new weekly routine and you have settled so well at nursery, no tears at all. I'm so surprised because you are such a Mummy's boy and cry even if I leave the room at home, but you've been so good at nursery drop off; happily going to the ladies for a cuddle. You give such gorgeous cuddles ZacZac. You snuggle right in and rest your head on my shoulder or chest, you do love a cuddle, and so does Mummy. 

Finally your appetite seems to be picking up properly and your exploring so much more food. Every meal time we give you some finger food to feed yourself as well and you are doing fabulously well. Meal times have definitely become three courses rather than just the one! It must be all that moving you're doing now constantly burning all your calories off!  I've also decided you are right handed, as nearly all the time you'll reach for your food with your right hand (unlike your brother who mostly indicates he is left handed.) You're starting to eat 'family' foods roughly mashed up now rather than me puréeing, and lots of the time you're eating what we eat rather than me making you up a special baby meal. 

This month you have perfected a new little screech. It is totally adorable and you save it for when you are at your most excited. You are becoming more and more vocal, constantly babbling away to yourself - it will be so excited when those little babbles take on meaning and you find your first word. 

This month your favourite toys have been noisy rattles, toot toot cars, and the Noah animals. The Noah animals are the perfect size for grasping in your hands and at the moment you really enjoy the smaller toys that you can pick up and study for a bit longer - then chew! 

You make us happy every day baby small. We love you, always and always. 

Saturday, 4 October 2014

My World Got Bigger

"Because she died, my world got bigger..." Holby City 

Almost two weeks ago, it was my blog's birthday. I've been using this space as my organising chaotic thoughts screaming board, my journey and family diary for four years now.  I look back at my first post and although we're clearly in a very different place to where we were then the truth of it is so much of it still rings so very true.

'Me and myself  - we're different now.' I can't remember who I was, or what our lives were really like before Anabelle anymore. It takes so much energy to build a happy life around grief that my former self seems to be a distant memory. I continuously feel old before my time. Next year I will be 30, but in many ways it feels like the care-free youth of my twenties was stolen from me long ago. My twenties feel defined by Belle, because certainly her death, her birth has been the turning point for who I was, and who I am. 30 feels older than maybe it really is. 

Four years ago I could barely keep my head above water. There have been many times over these last four years, as the huge waves of grief roll in that I've had to fight drowning once more. I look back and I still cannot comprehend how we survived it, how we survive it. Human resilience is a wonderful thing.  

Four years ago we were so profoundly broken I couldn't imagine a life where we would ever be happy again. I couldn't believe we would have our very own personal rainbows. But we have our rainbows, and those rainbows saved me. 

Four years ago I couldn't imagine where our lives would be. Recently when watching Holby City a line caught my attention - 'Because she died my world got bigger' - it spoke to me. We've lost friends, but we've gained far more. We're part of a group of people that no-one wants to be part of but what a wonderful group of people they are. Even though we're not in those early days anymore, I'm increasingly thankful for my involvement in my local Sands. Four years ago I couldn't face 'real-life' support and increasingly lived in a virtual world, I frequented the Sands forum daily. Today I have a different virtual world and my local Sands is my branch of support. 

Rainbow Babies group in particular has been a wonderfully beneficial, because only those people know the mixed feelings, joy and pain of parenting earthlings while desperately desperately missing their sibling. Next week we're going out for a meal with other local bereaved parents for a Sands evening. Four years ago I didn't realise that I would consider a charity my friend. 

Because she died I've had opportunities that would never have happened if she'd lived. Namely my visit to Downing Street just before Zachary was born. Of course, I'd have Belle here over Downing Street any day, but I hope you see the point in the way it was intended. I was able to represent my daughter at one of the most iconic building in this country - and that is huge, one of my proudest moments for Anabelle, even in her absence. 

I read Still Standing online magazine regularly. Often I read about people describing their journey after loss as healing. Four years ago I couldn't comprehend 'healing', whatever that was.  Whatever it is. I'm still not sure. Four years ago I didn't even want to heal. To heal then felt to move away from Belle. Today I'm not sure what the concept feels like. I certainly don't feel 'healed', but I do feel in a different place to that of four years ago. Anabelle continues to be at the centre of our family, our little world has been built around our grief for her, we're leaning to live alongside it. We're learning to enjoy being an earthling family of four, when really we should be a family of five. We're learning to accept that we're allowed a happy extraordinary life as well as intensely hurt for the life we had taken away. 

This blog has evolved. It continues to evolve. I blog far less frequently than I used to because my life has become bigger, bigger and more than just my grief. I still grieve, of course I do. This month saw that milestone where Belle should have started school, it has pained me, this month I have felt more teary than I have in a while. I still frequently pen a blog in my head, when a new slither of hurt comes my way I think it out 'up there' as if I was penning it down here. But rarely do I find time to get it to page. My time is blessed and filled by rainbows and there is little of time left for me and organising those thoughts like I used to anymore. 

Is that the definition of healing? 

So today, if we're making my blog's fourth birthday, and where my journey is now; my life is filled with rainbows and you've no idea how overwhelmingly appreciative I am of that. Those boys, my boys. 

Life, Death, Joy, Heartbreak. But most of all love. 
Thursday, 4 September 2014

Zachary @ 9 Months

Well what a month! Of course it has flown by again, but Zachary really did have a busy little month growing up to be 9 months old. The end of July and beginning of August was a week of holidaying day trips from home, so he has been here there and everywhere this month. He has suffered terribly with teething; and just this week, just after turning 9 months old he has started commando crawling! 

The little man has been getting increasingly strong and adventurous. He reliably sits up upright and balanced now and securely lies himself down without us having to be close by in case he wobbles over and bumps. He has discovered the joy of standing up and has started to attempt to pull himself to standing. Mummy and everyone else make the best climbing frames but he is being brave and trying to use the sofa too, and the bath! It won't be long... 

Sleep? Well its probably best to not go there! There has been no improvement whatsoever! Clearly he is going to be one of those children who don't sleep through until they're 5 or something! Haha! Most days I've absolutely no idea how I'm functioning. It is surprising how you somehow adapt to broken sleep! 

My beautiful boy, you are now nine months old and weigh 20lb 1oz. You've lost a tiny bit of weight this month but I bet that is because you are a very active little baby now!  We've started phasing in your 9-12 month wardrobe,  mainly so you get some wear out of the summer clothes before the autumn arrives. They're huge on you at the moment, very long; it is such a jump in size this time, but hopefully that means they'll last you all the longer too! But you're still wearing lots of your 6-9 month clothes too.

Your first year is zooming by. It is unbelievable that another twelve weeks from now you will be having your happy birthday. We have booked your Dedication and birthday celebrations this month, so it will be a really special time, two celebrations at once. I really do wish time would slow down a little bit, so I could savour these baby days all the more. 

You are gorgeous, yes I'm biased, I am your Mummy, but you really are gorgeous. You have a cheeky little personality and take such delight in the world. You are so interactive now, and vocal. You laugh all of the time, you are so happy. Just today when Mummy and Daddy picked you up from your last settling in session at Nursery all the ladies looking after you were exclaiming how adorable and what a happy baby you are! 

Well, last month you were manoeuvring. This month you are REALLY manoeuvring! In the last few days, just around turning nine months old you have started to CRAWL! We're so proud of you baby small, and you are pleased as punch with yourself. Even in the three days you've been commando crawling you have improved loads and today I thought you were rather speedy! I don't think it will be long at all until you are crawling on your knees and then we'll all have to watch out!    

You really are into everything at the moment. Why is it, that with all of your toys around you that you seem to migrate to the nearest object you shouldn't be playing with? Xander's puzzles pieces, crayons and shoes seem to be your favourite items to try and play with at the moment!  

This month we have discovered just how ticklish you are, especially under your arms. Your favourite games have been singing 'Round and round the garden' and 'This little piggy' - as well banging the table/any surface with your hands or toys, banging your light up drum, and shaking your bell maraca rattle. Watching the change in your play is fascinating. You've definitely got the concept of cause and effect now and everything about your play has become so much more purposeful. 

Darling boy you've suffered long and hard with your teeth this last month. The little happy baby I just described disappeared for a week when it was at its worst. It has caused you no end of pain, unsettled and moaning during the day, screaming in the night, even more wakeful in the night and unsettled to go to bed. You HATED calpol (which surprised me when your brother thinks it is some sort of sweet treat!), so much so that forcing you to have some calpol would make you cry more for twenty minutes before it helped you. We've tried teething gels, and the much raved about teething powders, but for you Zac it has been ramping the pain relief up to teething Anbesol liquid that has finally helped you the most!  This is all new to Mummy, your brother breezed through teething with just the occasional smear of teething gel. 

But finally, finally, a week before you turned 9 months old your first little tooth popped through, and the second little tooth the next day! So two teeth at the same time, no wonder it has been so traumatic for you! 

This next month, growing up to be 10 months old is going to see changes again baby boy. Mummy is going back to work. I'm feeling very sad about it, I wish I could stay at home for as long as you so completely need me. I've loved being home with you and your big brother. You are completely Mummy's boy and I think this is going to be a month of separation anxiety for all of us, because Xander is going to feel it too! 

We're so blessed to have you baby small. 
Monday, 25 August 2014

Being A Duck

Do you ever feel like a duck? You know, floating serenely along on the surface whilst kicking furiously underneath. That's me. At least it feels like me a lot. 

I know, that for the most part I have this wonderful life with so much to be thankful for. The sort of life some people in this world would kill for, sell their right arm for, sell anything for; you get the picture. I know there are many people in this world who have it much harder than I do. 

I'm a duck floating around on top. I have a loving family, I have a wonderful loving husband, I have two precious incredible boys with me on earth, I have my home, (well soon, but in the meantime I still have a roof over my head,) my home is filled with love, joy and laughter. I have my job, with enough income to feel comfortable month to month. Materialistically, I don't want for much. 

But then there is this huge gulf, where I'm the duck kicking furiously underneath, where emotionally I want for a lot, maybe when I should be learning to handle it all differently. This one tiny person left such a void in her wake that is can't be filled and can't seem to be calmed. Anabelle's absense is so apparent in my everyday life, even when it isn't so apparent to everyone else. My heart continues to stab every day that she is not here with her brothers. 

Then I read this blog the other day. Living An Extraordinary Life After Loss. Inspiring. I wanted to relate to so much of it. I wanted to say I could get there too. 

But there is still so much I need to make peace with, but so much I'm not ready to make peace with either. So much I'm still not willing to accept. So much I still cannot let go of. So much I'm still not ready to explore, here on these pages. Sometimes I wonder if I've sentenced myself to feeling this hurt because part of me is stuck with her, in grief, in 2010. 

There seems to be two of myself. The myself that has such a happy life with what I have here, and the myself that hurts beyond hurt. Some days I feel guilty for hurting when I have so much joy. Some days I feel that I must be so ungrateful for not accepting what we have. Some days I feel guilty for all the joy despite all the hurt - how ridiculous does that sound on paper? And I do enjoy life, I enjoy every single thing I do with my boys, but sometimes I feel guilty for being happy 'without her'. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I don't have to feel grief all of the time that it is OK not to feel grief all of the time.  "I can still live an amazing life and love and miss him (her) at the same time." Thank you for affirming that Still Standing. 

This life after loss is exhausting. The waves keeps on crashing, the milestones keep on coming and I'm still learning to navigate. 

Next week Anabelle should have started school. That is a biggy. Starting school. 

This week I should be organising uniforms, buying last minute school shoes, socks and tights, matching bobbles and clips for her hair. I should be practising plaits and pigtails. We should be choosing new school bags and lunch boxes and fretting and being excited about my baby starting Reception. Instead I'm dreading a week of "My first day at school" photos on Facebook. Not because I begrudge anyone showing off their babies starting school, honestly, you all know me, and know I'll be right there with you on the photo front when the boys get there.  But because this time, this week my heart is heavy that my first-born isn't joining her should be friends at school, and I can't share her cute 'going to school in my new pinafore dress' photo too. 

There is still so much still to make peace with but I will have an extraordinary life.
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I'm Caz, Mummy to beautiful angel Belle and my wonderful rainbow boys, Xander and Zac. Wife to Jon. Twitter @cazem @tonofunstweets
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