* The much-awaited, much-dreaded (for me!) day came for Bella to start Kindergarten. She did so with much excitement! Her outfits have been laid out carefully each night with exactness and she has been quite anxious about being on time to school. The first morning, she gave me and Brad lots of hugs, even RG too. They actually cradled each others' faces while hugging too, and I totally didn't expect that! She had a huge smile on her face and didn't fret at our departure. I think her Finding Dory backpack helped her with the transition the most--she LOVES it.
* I know my girl though, and I can pick up on her nerves. During the short "Kindergarten preview day," I watched her look at the kids around her with wide eyes, but turn to her coloring instead of interacting. She refused to leave her work for circle time and was very panicked about not being finished. I'm wondering how the teacher is handling Bella's fixture on routines and her attempts to be in constant control of her surroundings.
*According to her, Bella hasn't made any friends yet--but she doesn't seem to be concerned about it at all. She loves to play on her own, so I know she's OK for the time being. However, we've practiced how to introduce yourself to others, ask their names, and see if they'd like to play. She hasn't tried it out on anyone yet ("Mama! It will take a long time to make friends!!!"), but we'll see how her third day goes today!
* I love this picture of RG, even if it's not the best quality. It's him laughing, laughing, laughing at Bean eating his cake on his first birthday. It totally captures one-half of his personality: totally fun-loving (and obsessed with his brother).
* The other half of his personality is DETERMINED. The latest issue is him talking back. I feel like I have to look at myself though, because his tone of voice is very reflective of how he is often spoken to: sternly. For a while, that was the only way he would listen (while Bella was more about the positive behavior management). So Mama is working hard on switching her voice--to say the same thing, but say it in a softer way, and deliver the same consequences. I see him fighting hard at times to also speak softly to his family, but most of the time, he's a little teenager. It's a bit frightening.
* Let's get back to the fun-loving side though, shall we? When Bella went to school, I was shocked at how sad RG was. He started acting like a little baby, using a baby voice and pointing to things, wanting to be cradled, doing lots of screeching instead of asking for things, etc. At one point, after I pled with him to please speak, he say, "Mama, I don't want Caca (how he pronounces his sisters name) to go to school." It about broke my heart. But honestly, it made me feel goooooood too. Because those two have struggled with each other mightily. The past month though, it has almost been a miraculous transformation of seeing them playing, playing, playing with much less fighting and much more laughing. Of course, that happens right before they won't see each other near as much. But still, it's a much needed win for the Packer household. And I have to credit RG for that one, because although he is strong-willed, he allows Bella to direct much of the play and he is SO GOOD about make-believe. He's genuinely fun for kids to be around.
* I'm going to be selfish in posting this picture. Because Bean is looking right at me in this shot, and shooting me some heart-beams. That kid really, really knows how to tug at my heart strings. He is becoming such a fun personality, and is a total flirt. He is a bit shy, but loves to smile--especially at the ladies. He is observant and still prefers to be attached to me at all times, but I also find him sneaking away to the kids' room when they're in the backyard and trying to color like he sees them do all day. It really is adorable, aside from the fact that he's also claiming on their little chairs and trying to sit like them, but that usually entails him falling off. He looks like I punched him on the cheek from one such fall!
* Bean isn't walking yet, but he is really close. He's a bit nervous to try, but there is a lot of independent standing, walking alongside things, and a few steps when he doesn't know he is stepping. His sleep remains on the low end (dropped to one nap at 9 months and wakes up before his siblings in the morning), but I think that's just his natural rhythm.
* He is getting good at pushing away things, people, and food that he doesn't want in his face. He drops all the food over the side of his high chair that he doesn't want, which is a bit annoying but I can forgive him for anything. He's even bit RG a few times when the kid wouldn't leave him alone, but I absolutely couldn't blame him for it. This is the period of time where my baby is half way around, but the other half is growing into an independent toddler with his very own personality. I'm anticipating some learning curves as each child is different, but I'm trying to also look forward to seeing who this little man in and what he has to say about life.