The 2nd Birthday

Its the Angel Princess’s second birthday today. Its been a good day, as good as days like this can be. I have amazing friends, who make days like today easier and truly warm my heart. I went out this morning and when I got home there was a card with purple ribbon tied to it on the doorstep from a friend from my teenage years, who I adore. When we went to visit the cemetery, another friend had been already and left purple balloons on her grave. That friend is the nicest person in the world, she really is one of the most selfless, giving people I have ever met. Later in the day The Husband needed to go out, and when we came home my Best Friend had left a huge bunch of purple flowers, a balloon and a beautiful gift bag with a purple candle and a beautiful book. A few other friends posted pictures to my Facebook account of their beautiful kids wearing purple.

Today I was flooded by purple and I loved it. She was here today. She was remembered and loved and I was humbled. My friends know that she is a part of me and acknowledge her presence in my world. Her absent presence. The baby who is so real, but not here. So known, but never met. The baby who I have such an intimate and complicated relationship with, because the only way I get to be her mum is by standing tall and owning my role as Babyloss Mother. Which feels like the hardest kind of mother to be. This year I set up a fundraiser for her, which is why today was all about purple. I’ve found that helping charities that have helped me has been one of the best forms of that longed for Healing. It feels good to be proactive. To help her leave a mark. To hear people say her name. To make her mean something. To make her a part of this world, one she will never walk in.

I’m still trying to gather my thoughts about where I am at, 2 years in, but I wanted to share my fundraiser, and ask that if anyone can, please donate. It’s such a worthy cause, in honour of such a precious baby. If you haven’t read my post about The Angel Princess’s Name, read it first, the fundraiser is named after her.


Her name is….

I like the anonymity that using aliases for my daughters gives me. I like that their blog nicknames reflect their personalities and role in my life. But I want to share something that I am doing for The Angel Princess’s second birthday, and when I do that, you will learn her name. So I want to share the story behind it, and why her name is so very special.

I’ll start with her middle name. It’s simple, boring and quite honestly, a name I don’t really like. It’s also my middle name. And my mother’s. I like tradition, and I like girls to have a meaningful middle name, so that when/if they get married and change their surname, they still have a connection to the family in their name. It was never really a question of if I would give the same middle name to my daughter, just a when. And because we didn’t give it to The Sunshine Princess (I didn’t like how it sounded with her name), we always knew that our second daughter, should we have one, would need a name that worked with my middle name. Sometimes I’m sad that the daughter that shares my middle name is not alive to carry on the tradition, and I will be honoured if instead one of my living daughters chooses to use it for their own daughter, should ever they have one, but sometimes I’m also glad that I share something so special with my passed daughter, who isn’t alive for me to share anything else with. It’s like it’s a little extra connection between us, something I don’t have with the other girls, who I can parent physically, every day. I like that when I write down her full name, I see a bit of me and my mother. She took it with her, but it lives with us, and it’s another way I can carry her.

Her middle name is Jane.

Her first name was picked before I was even pregnant with her. It came from a variation on names that I liked that The Husband didn’t, it was the compromise name. Our girls all have slightly unusual names, names that are never in the top 100 (that’s actually a prerequisite) but are not outrageously strange. Our names are also top secret until our babies are born, so it was strange announcing her name before she arrived, as we did when we told family her death was imminent.

Before I was pregnant with The Angel Princess, I actually wasn’t convinced that her name was the name we would definitely use, and I had told it to a few friends, to seek their opinions. When I found out I was pregnant, I was immediately convinced I was having a girl, and when we were on holidays when I was just 5 weeks pregnant, and we randomly drove down a street bearing her name, I text one of my friends about it. “It’s a sign!” I said. “It’s going to be a girl and that will be her name!”

It was strange I knew so early on, because at that point, I was still writing lists of baby names. With The Sunshine and The Rainbow, the instant I came up with their names (yes, The Husband still holds it against me that I have picked all the girls names) I fell completely in love with them, and couldn’t even consider any other names. With The Angel Princess, it wasn’t the same. I liked her name, but I was still not completely sold. Something about it didn’t sit properly. I even remember saying to a friend it would be her name, “only if we don’t think of anything better”. We officially named her as soon as we find out she would die, there was no more time to be thinking about choosing names, and it became the most tragically perfect name.

The Angel Princess’s name is also the name of a particular patten, commonly a fabric pattern, but also seen in a lot of print. This was something I didn’t realise when we first chose it. I certainly didn’t make the connection between her name, the design of the pattern, and the meaning of her name. 2 days before she was born, I decided to look up her name, to find out the meaning. I was completely dumbfounded when I discovered that her name meaning had one simple word: teardrop. That was the moment I fell in love with her name. My tiny teardrop. The baby I would shed a million tears for had the perfect name before she was even conceived. Her name matched her fate, long before we could have even imagined the path she would take us on. How could we have chosen so perfectly, without ever knowing. It actually hurt, just how coincidental it was. What if we had picked a name that meant great health? Or did I really, somehow, know her all along?

Since her passing, her name has brought me great comfort. I don’t much believe in signs, or spirits, but, this, it’s how I find her. The pattern she is named for is everywhere. She is everywhere. Half the clothes in my wardrobe are her pattern. My wallet, phone case, nappy bag, the pram blanket, are all her patten. The Sunshine and The Rainbow wear her patten. We put a present for each of us with her name on it each year under the Christmas tree, clothes in her patten. We do the same for our birthdays. I am rarely without something that bears her symbol. We used it on her memorial cards. My friends notice it, and wear it, and buy it for me. They send me photos of it on different things. When I need to see her, she is on the skirt of the person next to me at the shops. On a bad morning she appears on my chiropractor’s shirt. If I compliment you on the same mug every time I’m at your house, chances are it’s her patten on it. If a compliment your clothing and you think it’s a little strange, look closely at what you’re wearing. It’s probably hers. I notice her everywhere. Every day.

She has a symbol. She is represented in the strangest, most bizarre, most comforting way. All because of a name we picked without knowing how ever present it would be. A name with a meaning that might have been strange if she lived. Of all my daughters’ names, hers is my favourite. It has so much meaning, and it is has helped me find beauty on the darkest of days in grief. It is more beautiful, and more perfect then I could have hoped.

Her name is Paisley.

Paisley Jane.

My Tiny Teardrop.

The back of her memorial card.


11 Months

Well my sweet little Rainbow Princess, your very first year is drawing to an end. This was the month your babyhood ended, and your toddlerhood began. Seemingly over night, my quiet, placid baby has been replaced by an exploring, adventurous, walking, talking, noisy toddler. But you are still every bit as wonderful and I love watching you as the person you are going to be emerges.

It didn’t take long after you first steps at the very end of your 9th month for you to be well and truly off and toddling. By 10.5 months you could move from sitting or crawling to standing up by yourself without needing to use a toy or furniture to pull yourself up on, and you could not just walk across the room, but from one end of the house to the other. It’s strange, and unbelievably cute that someone as small as you is walking, and I’ve been fielding compliments from strangers all month, at the park, the play centre, the shopping centre, so many that I feel I should hang a little sign on you shirt that says,
“Yes I am cute, yes I am tiny, and yes I walked at only 10.5 months”.

Part of me is super proud of you, I didn’t expect you to become a toddler so soon, when you have taken longer to master most things than your biggest sister, who walked at 12.5 months, but part of me is sad to see your babyhood over so early , and the kindergym teacher in me is wishing you crawled longer, it has so many amazing benefits for your coordination skills. So instead we have been playing crawling games with you, you like to crawl behind the curtains, you love to chase The Sunshine Princess if she crawls with you, and I think I might get you a tunnel to crawl through too.

I had you pegged as my late bloomer, which I was quite content with, but this month you’ve not just come out of your shell, you’ve smashed out. I am amazed by how much you have learnt and changed this month and how differently you interact with me, your sister and others, and how you manage and play with your toys. This month you’ve realised that you are completely separate to me and you have absolute autonomy over the control of your body (which is why you hate having your nappy changed and getting dressed so much). But you also know that I am the same as you, you use your hairbrush to brush my hair, like I do to yours, and put your food in my mouth. You pick up my socks and try to put them on your feet, and touch your shoes to my feet (if only I could wear shoes so ridiculously cute). You’re still obsessed with in and out, putting toys in and out of boxes, pulling things out of the draw and putting them back in, and you’re understanding how to make the toys work. You hit your xylophone with the stick now, instead of just bashing it with your hand. You pick up toys and use them as phones, babbling away as you hold them to your ear. You copy the “twinkle twinkle” part of the song when I sing to you, waving your hands above your head. You can now turn the pages of a book individually, with purpose, rather than just several at a time with an arbitrary grab.

You’re choosing favourite songs now, lighting up and dancing when your song of choice is played. At the moment you are enjoying the Frozen soundtrack, although that could just be self preservation, as you hear it at least several hundred times a week, The Sunshine Princess knows how to play them on my phone. Yes, the joys of having a four year old big sister.

You are a fabulous eater, a little pro at feeding yourself because you’ve always done it, and when I try to think of a food you don’t like I come up blank. Favourites include muesli based cereal, and raisin toast with cinnamon. Something you do have in common with your biggest sister is the ability to eat ungodly amounts of food, and remain tiny.

Your babbling has gained momentum this month too, suddenly you are talking non stop, your favourite words are mum, dad, yeh and bum. That’s right. Bum. Another advantage of having a big sister who has just hit the potty humour phase. Oh my darling children, you make me so proud.

This month has had some really hard moments, for a little while your sleep was hugely disrupted as your little brain adjusted to your new walking skills. My normal affirmations of “this too shall pass” and “she’s just a baby” didn’t help much this month as I sat with you, awake for hours in the middle of the night, relentlessly, for nights on end. What did help was the support of my amazing mothers group, a group of very kind and understanding ladies, who are quick to offer help and empathy without judgement. Your sleep has never been much of a problem for me, I’ve been content waiting for you to grow into longer stretches of sleep, and learning to settle without assistance, but it was definitely hard this month, with you resisting my efforts to help you settle, but screaming if left alone. As the month went on, things calmed down, and now, have improved so much that I can look back on this month and find it validating, for my attempts to parent you gently. “Don’t babywear so much” they said, “she’ll never walk!” As I watch you toddle across the play centre, I’m so glad I didn’t listen. “Don’t rock her to sleep, she’ll never fall asleep alone” they said, but this month you learnt to do just that. At times it wasn’t easy, and this month has been emotionally hard for me to let go, as you rebuked my efforts to be comforted to sleep, but now, at 11 months old you are falling asleep on your own at bedtime, and most nights waking just twice, once for a cuddle and once for a breast feed. Such a big step in such a short amount of time, you’ve been cuddled, rocked, bounced or fed to sleep your whole life, and you’ve adjusted well and quickly to falling asleep in your cot, at first with me beside you, and now on your own. I wasn’t expecting you to be ready for that so soon, and it’s a little bit sad in some ways. Some nights you need me to help you, and I enjoy the extra cuddles.

At the end of this month was another huge milestone, mummy left you with a friend for the very first time. I’ve spent time apart from you before, when your daddy is home he often watches you and your sister while I sleep, but this was the first time I actually left the building, that you were far enough away from me that I couldn’t immediately comfort you if you got distressed. Mummy needed to go to the dentist, and one of the beautiful mothers in our mothers group, who you adore, offered to watch you. You waved goodbye to me as I left and happily played for the 1.5 hours I was gone without crying once. I’m so proud of you baby girl, you are growing up way too fast.

Next month will be your first birthday, and we are celebrating with a party, rainbow themed of course. I love you so much my Rainbow Princess, here’s to a wonderful toddlerhood- it’s unbelievable to me how quickly you are growing up.