Our beautiful baby daughter Anabelle was born sleeping June 2010.
Blessed with the screaming arrivals of our gorgeous rainbow sons,
Alexander October 2011, Zachary November 2013 and Lucas July 2016.

After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows
Heartbreak. Joy. Death. Life. But most of all Love.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

#10: Smile

What made you smile today? 

Xander and Belle 

Today, while we were cuddled on the sofa, Xander looked up to where his sisters photographs are above the television, intently looking. I said are you looking at Belle? Shall we give her a wave? I said. So he did, waved in the general direction of his sister's photo.

So I took him closer. Stood up with him so he could look at her at eye level. I told him who she was, as I've done before. He waved again and we blew kisses and then I said can you say Belle? I repeated her name a few times, and he started trying to say her name too. 

"Buh" he tried and tried again. 

He didn't really know he was attempting his sisters name I guess, but it was a beautiful moment, him interacting with his sister in his way, in a way. I often wonder how he will know her at all, but there are little moments like this that are warming. He will know her. I'm going to start getting her photograph down from the mantelpiece more often now, let him hold it, explore it. 

He is getting really good at 'B' sounding words now.  He can say Boo and totally gets the game of Peekaboo while shrieking with laughter, he tries to say Bye, usually to his nursery keyworker on a Friday and has tried ball too. And now, he has tried Belle. Of course there isn't a huge amount of distinction between the words and their sounds presently, but boo and bye are attempted in context, and now ball and Belle are added to his copy and imitation list.  

I wonder if now we can really begin to teach him about his sister, now maybe he can learn 'her' and her name. I wonder if one day soon he'll be able to look at Belle's picture when we ask him where she is like he looks at us when we ask him where Mummy and Daddy are. Or is that confusing? I guess we'll have to try being specific about words, where is her photo instead of where is Belle. I suppose Belle can be in a photo, as well as in heaven, as well as in her garden can't she? Can we teach him she remains around us and in us?   How do you teach death to a child who's family is so profoundly affected by it on a daily basis? 'Messing' him up is one of my greatest worries. How do other angel families explain to siblings about their angel babies? Especially to those who came afterwards? 

Our approach so far has been to try and include her as organically as we can, including him in her, her in him when we can. We've allowed him to explore the flowers we take up to her, allowed him to play with one special flower and when he drops it on her garden its where it stays, as if he has given it to her. He had a go at putting a blue star on her Christmas tree from him, at least he copied me putting things on the tree by holding his arm out towards the tree while holding the star! We bought a Belle a bell for Christmas, and now he plays with that, a symbol I suppose of his sister. And now looking at photographs and learning to say her name, which he would've done if she was here. 

I guess 'natural' for our family will evolve as he grows and we grow, always carrying Belle there in the midst of us and somehow finding that balance. And I guess our 'natural' will be different from other peoples natural.  Natural in a very unnatural situation compared to most families. 

But for today, the little interaction between Xander and his big sister was beautiful and heartwarming and made me smile. Love my babies. Love my beautiful, gentle and genuinely loving little boy; a glimpse of his sister in him I bet! 


Michelle said...

I have an angel baby called Poppy but I don't have a rainbow yet. You can buy baby "photo albums" which are like clothe baby books. I want one of those to put Poppy's photo in for my future rainbow. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Galt-1003094-Soft-Photo-Album/dp/B0017IW2S2/ref=pd_sim_sbs_b_1

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After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows. I'm Caz, Mummy to beautiful angel Belle and my wonderful rainbow boys, Xander, Zachy and Luc. Wife to Jon. Twitter @cazem Instagram @cazzyem
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