My kids' personalities really shine when I watch them deal with tragedy.
First of all, all three of them, even Ben, were angels in the ER. When the nurses switched shifts, the ones who didn't see us come in had no idea we had three bored, antsy kids in the room with us. They were THAT good even though the whole visit took 3 hours, and they were missing the matinee of Bolt because our baby was dead. I have no idea why I've been blessed with such amazing kids.
Now it's really interesting to see how they deal with death and how they deal with grieving parents.
Anne, my almost-5-year-old, didn't want to see Paul when we retrieved his body. I told her that he looked just like one of those plastic pro-life babies you get at the fair. (He did, just a tad smaller....) So she keeps picking one of those up, calling it Paul, and rocking it. When I'm upset, she sits next to me and we work on a jigsaw puzzle together.
Cecilia, who is three, wanted to see the body. She looked, and said "He's really dead. And he's dirty. he needs a bath." (We didn't risk washing him... I want to keep his body whole until the burial) When she sees me cry, she tells me her tummy hurts and the only way to make it better is to color with her. Then she proceeds to tell me EXACTLY which crayon I must use for each piece of the picture. And yes, she's always this hard-headed and bossy.
Ben's too young to understand, but he's really clingy. And when I cry? He puts a duck on my head and gives me a toothy, maniacal laugh until I have to smile at him. Because clowning toddlers are beautiful.