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.

Saturday, 23 June 2018

When Anabelle Was Eight

I can hardly fathom that Anabelle turned eight this week. 

That eight years have passed by. Right back then I didn't know how I was going to survive eight seconds, eight minutes, eight hours, eight days, eight weeks, eight months.... when I was shattered into a million pieces and the pain was indescribable..... let alone eight years. 

Eight years. 

June is always hard and I'm never exactly quite sure how the milestones and the throw back to 2010 will affect me.  Each year the symptoms are ever present but slightly different. This year it has been restlessness, frequent nausea for no apparent reason and an overwhelming and irrational feeling of panic.  This year, after my reports had been finished, I seemed to lose the ability to think, make decisions or feel present. Maybe not quite aware of myself in space. 

It is remarkable that her birthday passed with such relative calm when at the beginning of this week especially, I didn't feel like I had myself very together at all. Monday and Tuesday I didn't want Jon to go to work and clock watched all of the day until he was home again. Panicky and unsettled. Work Wednesday was a good distraction and then her birthday arrived and for the most part I felt calmer.  

I can't even begin to imagine how grown up she would feel now. How big and tall she would be. Taller than I could know. Not so little at all anymore and maturing rapidly before our eyes. I'm sure this would've been a year of big changes with the transition from infants to juniors under our belts; already on the cusp of finishing Year 3 to begin Year 4. Junior school already whizzing by with high school in our sights before we would know it.  

Our baby girl. On Thursday it was your birthday. You were eight. 

Once again the weather didn't let us down and it was a beautiful sunny day.  Always sunny on your birthday baby girl, I just can't imagine it ever raining. The longest and most beautiful day of the year for you. 

We always try so hard to mark your birthday perfectly. This year we gave your day a unicorn theme. I have no idea if you would even still like unicorns at the age of eight but they are very popular at the moment with lots of little girls. We bought a beautiful pink unicorn for the front garden to sit by your wishing well, bought you a unicorn balloon, a unicorn letter B which Mummy decorated, a unicorn birthday cake, unicorn sparkle glitter, a unicorn craft box and some unicorn party favours for your little brothers to play with on your birthday. 

After dropping your little brothers to school, Daddy and I went out with your baby brother for a birthday breakfast, we collected your huge number 8 balloon and your flowers, and then after morning school for Zachy we made unicorn biscuits ready for your unicorn themed birthday picnic after school. Xander came home from school and we went to your garden to decorate. Your brothers opened your presents for you and played with your flying unicorns (or Alicorns to be specific as Zachy told us!) This year we didn't send balloons after becoming more environmentally conscious about it, but instead released thousands of bubbles; I think this was Luc's favourite bit! We sang happy birthday to you and threw unicorn glitter into the air to make your garden sparkle that little bit more!  

We decided this year to go to Keepers Pond for a picnic and to fly kites for your birthday. Keepers Pond is where I wrote your eulogy for your funeral and where I wrote lots of my letter to you that is safely tucked away with you. We feel a special connection there and have been there for some of your birthdays before. This year it was the perfect place to go and fly your unicorn kite and let your brothers fly their kites.  We ate all our unicorn treats, hid some rocks with your name written on and even came across a group of people having a festival for the summer solstice, which was quite strange but they were all very friendly.  They even let your little brothers have a go at drumming for a few minutes! 

And then we finished your day by driving home and allowing Luc, who was the only one still awake, to blow out all of your candles on your unicorn birthday cake. It was good practice for him ready for his birthday next month!  And then he waved night night to your photo. Another brother who will become more aware of your existence in this family. 

It was a good birthday Belle. There were moments, and we ache tremendously every year that you are not here for your birthday. I just wish it was different. But it was lovely day, being able to make it all about you. 

Even your brothers enjoy making it all about you on your birthday. Zachy went into school telling his teaching assistant that it was your birthday and she wanted him to tell her all about our birthday plans for you. Zachy is so open about his sister, you are his Belle 'but she died' in his innocent understanding. I think he imagines you would be just like Princess Belle from the films. He came home from school on your birthday with a picture he had drawn of you, with a yellow dress just like Princess Belle and a heart and a number 8 because he knew you were eight that day. I often wonder what you would make of your brothers. I imagine you mothering your baby Lucas and being protective of Zachy, but I also imagine you and Xander would be at the bickering stage of being so close in age, with him desperate to be as big as you are.   In your absence he is insistent that he is the biggest because you are really still a baby and zero, not eight.   

And he is right of course. I struggle to imagine you anything other than my tiny baby girl so it must be impossible for your six year old brother when all he sees is your baby pictures and understands that when someone has died that they cannot grow anymore. 

I try to imagine how you, as an eight year old girl, would've been like. What would you like now? Would you have been all over The Greatest Showman craze and most popular film of the year no doubt.  Would you have wanted to sing one of the songs in, your would have been school,  recent talent show? Would you have liked all the Mummy and Me clothes that have become ever popular and mainstream or would you have been reaching the age where you started to think it was a bit embarrassing? 

Maybe this is the birthday I would've let you have your nails painted at the salon as a super big girl birthday treat just like Mummy. Would you have wanted a party for your birthday this year or would you be feeling so grown up now and wanting to do something slightly more grown up like the cinema and a meal with your closest friends for your birthday? I have clear memories of my own eighth birthday; I'm pretty sure we went out for a family meal with my Grandma and Grandad too and ended up back at their house where I was given the tiniest amount of wine in proper glass and felt tremendously grown up about it. Would this have been one of the birthday you would have really remembered too? 

Our beautiful girl. I wish we all got to know what you would've been like when you were eight and didn't have to only wonder and imagine.  

Eight.  Happy birthday our baby girl.  

Mummy and Daddy, Xander and Zachy and Luc all love you endlessly. 

"You are my angel, my darling, my star, 
and my love will find you, wherever you are." 

Friday, 15 June 2018

Zachy Is Four Point Five

It seemed only fair, that before June got deeper, or July arrived and Lucas's birthday with it, that Zachary had his four and a half update!  

It was only four posts ago that I updated all about him being four! 2018 has not been a frequent blogging year, that is for sure.  

My wonderful and complex little boy. 

All of my previous update for his birthday still rings true. He still defines himself as the 'middle' sized but big boy, still undoubtedly cheeky and funny and highly entertaining, still an absolutely rascal, still Jekyll and Hyde, still stubborn, still my sensitive one, still my worry.

I worry constantly about his self-confidence along with his apparent anxiety and how it presents itself in some certain situations (such as Sport's Day yesterday which he did not cope well with at all), his poor and what feels fairly limited in comparison to Xander or Luc's diet, (for context Luc is more or less the same weight as Zachary now, if not over-taking him!) and worrying if his lack of food quantity and variety is the reason for his small stature and frame,  among other worries of sensory sensitivities and noise sensitivity and what it all really means for Zachary or the long term.  It has broken my heart when he has got upset thinking someone doesn't like him, because he is so sensitive to the nuances of relationships and he is still figuring it all out.  Worrying that his uncooperative behaviour is his way of masking or communicating he is anxious and knowing I don't always handle that as I should and worrying endlessly that I've contributed to his poor self-confidence and anxiety. And just generally sometimes feeling a bit rubbish Mummy about it all. 

Particularly worrying at the moment of course about the transition to Reception that will be upon us in no time. My wonderfully bright boy who is astounding me all the time with his knowledge and I think will academically go far in Reception and beyond, but I'm not at all convinced he is emotionally ready and what the longer term impact that will have on him.

But then again, there is still almost three months to go and maybe my Small boy will surprise us. 

So little has changed, yet so much has happened all at the same time!

So Zachy! You are four and a half now. This has indeed been a very important milestone and in fact it is has been so important that you are insisting that I am specific with your age. If you hear me tell anyone that you are four now I am instantly being corrected that you are NOT four, you are FOUR AND A HALF. 

The half is very significant. 

You had the "best half birthday ever".  Your words! We went to cBeebies Land and you had a blast! You loved exploring Mr Tumble's sensory garden, Mr Blooms garden shed, the Tree Tops ride, playing in Tree Fu Tom's adventure playground, the Octonauts ride, Postman Pats ride, Iggle Piggle's boat ride. You were particularly beautiful thanking me and Daddy for taking your to cBeebies Land. Still my little boy who is so beaming of gratitude for the special things you have and do. 

At four and a half you are 99cm tall and 32lbs. Still my Small, but it feels like you have had a teeny tiny growth spurt at least, because your wardrobe is now a mix of 2-3 and 3-4 clothes; although all of the 3-4 bottoms need Nana adjusting or a good tie up waist! 

You have been much more settled in school on the whole, albeit apart from the odd blip. It has definitely helped that your teachers seem to know what makes you tick now and you absolutely adore your new classroom in the brand new foundation building. I love hearing about all the things you are learning and it is really clear you are excited by all the things you are learning too. You are always telling me you are learning letters and numbers.  Your writing is just beautiful, and your drawings, and how you write your numbers. Your letter formation is wonderfully clear and you love copying something that a grown up has written.  Just last week too you told me you were learning about shapes and that a diamond on its side is called a rhombus! Which I thought was a very grown up thing to know when you are only four and half. 

One of my proudest days of you since your birthday was the day you rode your scooter. The day you finally cracked it, and persevered and got speedier and speedier over the next two weeks. Oh my boy, it took you a year to transition from scooting on your little seat to scooting stood up and I literally could've burst with pride and couldn't have been more chuffed!  You are equally speedy on your PJ Masks bike too; what a little superstar. You have really cracked pedaling and scooting in the last six months! 

Yesterday was one of those blippy days though, where it has highlighted to me how painful large crowds of people watching something are for you. Sports Day. All week you have been so excited for Sports Day, coming home and tell me all the sports you had been practicing and playing in school and that Daddy was going to watch. But then when you saw all of the other parents there too it was all too much for you and cried because you didn't like all the grown ups or all of the noise there. You told me when I came home from work that it was too scary for you.  And you know what, that is absolutely ok. 

Mummy and your teacher will make sure we have a plan in place ready to help you for the next event when there will be lots of Mummies and Daddies watching and lots of ideas in place ready to help you move to Reception and big school in September.  

I am so aware you find some thing tricky Zachy. It isn't even that you are shy, because that isn't the case; you will talk to literally anyone in all manner of places. But at the moment it seems performance situations are overwhelming, change of routine and new things are sometimes overwhelming. Whether this is going to be something you grow out of with time, confidence building and maturity or whether things like this will always be a challenge for you I just don't know.  But I so desperately want you to find everything about life easier than you sometimes do right now. Regardless I promise I will always be your voice and champion when you need me to be. 

At four and a half you are very particular. You are four and a half, not four, you are quick to correct people when they get your grandparent names mixed up, or say the wrong thing. And most particular of all because you have been four you have needed four or everything. For example, biscuits. Haha. Now you are four and half apparently you need five. I'm not sure where that logic comes from.... but it does make me giggle. 

You are particular about your clothes and have very firm ideas about what you would like to wear! You do NOT like having your vest tucked into your pants or your tshirt tucked in to your trousers. All winter while we have had all this snowy weather (yes finally, your first proper proper experience of snow, snow up as far as your bottom in places!) and I've been trying to keep you warm you have been quite insistent that you do not want to be tucked in. We have had to strike deals that you will keep you vest tucked in while we're outside but you can pull it out as soon as we're inside. It is much easier now it is summer and vests are a thing of the past for the time being! The other cute thing that I must note down is that you call your t-shirt your dress; this must stem from us instructing you to get dressed! 

You are also a bit of a joker and quite often have alarmed me with the insistence that you have wobbly teeth. Talk about freaking me out because why would they be wobbly so young?! I think you can't wait to be as big as Xander! 

At four and a half your favourite colour is red. It was green for a while, and blue. But at the moment it is very firmly red. Your favourite clothes are your star trousers or your star shorts. You love your red summer star shoes. You still love PJ Masks and Owlette, you love Dragons, especially Stormfly and Astrid (from How to Train Your Dragon) and you love Lego Mini Figures. Your favourite mini figures are the ones you have named 'Rosie' and your brand new Super Girl mini-fig.  Some aspects of your interests right now are so clearly being led by your big brother but you're also finding your own favourites within those shared interests; different favourite dragons, different favourite mini-figs to Xander. 

And now the months are going to whiz by to you being five. I can't believe it is almost time for you to be in big school all day, just like Xander! 

Have a great time being four and a half my Small one, we love you completely beautiful middle boy. 

Mummy and Daddy xXx 

Tuesday, 5 June 2018


It sounds absurd, I know. Because this time of year isn't a surprise. Hardly, I long know it is coming. But somehow the effect it has still seems to take me by surprise year after year. 

When I'm left wondering why I feel so restless, so unsettled. Why I feel like I'm not breathing quite properly or why I feel like I'm running on a nervous anxious energy. 

Then it finally dawns on me. 

I feel like I do 'simply' because it is June. 

Feeling restless and not really knowing what to do with myself. Today finding myself cleaning kitchen sinks and clearing out kitchen sink cupboards because I needed to find something to do this morning.  Currently looking at the living room and knowing before the day is out I'll have attacked that too. While also feeling unnecessarily anxious about the garden and knowing I won't settle about it until I've dug and weeded and painted and whatever else that I know is of no consequence really whether it happens or not. But it is in my head that it needs to be done. Some sort of grief and anxiety triggered bizzare nesting episode. 

Because chaos in my house this time of year just makes me, makes it, worse. 

It is June and all those dates are coming. When all the "if only's" and "what if's" feel more heightened that ever. When I'm left wondering if the outcome would have been different if the dice had rolled the other way on any of those days. 

If instead of stopping a threatened premature labour in its tracks on the 6th she had been born prematurely anyway and maybe survived it.

If instead of going to bed falsely reassured by a stupid heart monitor. I had gone to the hospital on the night of the 15th. Maybe they could've saved her before she died sometime in those early hours of the 16th. 


But there was no instead.

So here we are. Another June. Eight years on. Re-living it all again. 

Waiting for the all important day of the year I can make it all about her, the 21st.  

Last night I ordered the rest of the unicorn bits for her planned unicorn themed 8th birthday. Today I've been to the florist and ordered her pink and purple floral arrangement. Soon I will start preparing unicorn B's and pebbles and sort out all the other pre-birthday to do bits. For my oldest child that isn't even here.  While at the same time buying the presents and early preparations for my youngest child for next months birthday who is. 

Sometimes it seems like an absolute circus. 

And I know it will pass, I know relief will sweep over me as soon as July arrives. 

But we're still here. The never-ending June 2010. 
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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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