On this day...
3 years ago: Photos of gloves
10 years ago: Hello world

We bought a new rug. The kids knew exactly what to use it for.

On Tuesdays, the kids have their Estonian lesson in the afternoon, so they finish school at the same time. I’ve been picking them up afterwards until now, but this morning I asked if they could come home on their own. They had no problem with that.

Adrian has settled in excellently well at school and now it’s as if he has never done anything else. I don’t know what they do all day. When I ask, he usually says he doesn’t remember.

They have gym class once a week, which is great, and more than Ingrid got in grade 0. They talk about “stuff”. They sometimes do crafts. They probably do something with letters and maths.

He has pretty much learned to read now. When he asks me what this-or-that sign or heading or instruction says, I ask him to read it, and generally he can do it. Compound words are still hard because he doesn’t see where one part ends and the next one starts. But even those he usually manages.

We bought a Ninjago comic magazine and he actually read at least half of it, with just a bit of help from me with the longest and weirdest words. (It was obviously translated on the cheap with no thought given to the kids’ reading ability or vocabulary.)

He learns things at school that aren’t really part of school, as well. From other kids he has picked up the fact that the middle finger is special, and that it’s funny to show it to people.

When I pick him up after school, he’s almost always building something. Sometimes with plain old wooden blocks, sometimes with some kind of construction toys. His favourite one is Plus-plus, and he never seems to tire of them. He builds castles, aircraft, cars, space ships, vehicles that morph into other vehicles.

He usually wants a snack as soon as we get home. Apples, or flatbread roll-ups with butter and cucumber.

At home in the afternoon/evening there’s an hour of iPad time – with Pokemon TV and Skylanders games. The rest of his time he often fills with Legos.

He’s not as tired in the evenings as he used to be, and often doesn’t want to go to bed. He’s been staying up late and then having a hard time getting up in the morning. So we’ve reintroduced the concept of a fixed bedtime. This hadn’t been necessary for months because he’s felt tired and been aware when he needs to go to sleep, but now that simply does not work any more. When we’re done reading and turn off the light, and he actually lets go, he often falls asleep in minutes.

It’s already dark by the time we cycle home from swim school, or from Ingrid’s dance class.

Ingrid is now 10 years. Double digits!

She is 135 cm tall – the shortest in her class. Shorter than many kids in the years below her, even. I’m glad her school focuses so much on the kids being nice and polite towards each other – there has no teasing at all. Still, she seems to think about this a lot. I don’t think it bothers her, quite, but few days go by without it coming up in conversation in some context.

The tallest girls in the class are approaching 160 cm. And growing breasts and having their first periods. At ten!

Ingrid has probably inherited my genes for late physical development. I was the next shortest girl in my class all the way up until my mid-teens, even though both my parents are average length or above. Then I caught up, and now I’m about average. And everybody had boobs and wore a bra while my chest was still completely flat. I remember being very self-conscious about it.

I am pleased that she can be so matter-of-fact about it. And I’m pleased that she feels she can talk about it with me. I don’t think I ever had such discussions with my parents.

She appears to be doing pretty well at balancing conformity against going her own way. She wants to wear bra tops because the other girls do. But she isn’t ashamed to tell her friends that she still gets a bedtime story almost every night, even though none of her friends do. I wonder what will happen to that confidence as puberty approaches.

Teenage fashion is creeping into her wardrobe. Tight jeans are gradually taking over, even some with worn patches and almost-rips. Tops with cute animals and black long cardigans.

Teenage habits are creeping into her daily life. Mornings sometimes start with chatting with her friends in some app or other, before she’s even come down for breakfast or gotten out of pyjamas and into clothes. After some pressure from parents, her class is not allowed to use their phones during breaks in the school day, but I suspect that they sit and twiddle with their phones much of the time at “the club”.

Youtube is a strong influence. Words like “frickin'” are turning up in her vocabulary.

She likes music, dancing, theatre and film. When the kids got to choose elective courses for this year, Ingrid chose drama. The best part of her social sciences class was making a movie about the Vikings. She’s often listening to music and singing along, and likes learning song lyrics by heart. In her dance club she’s in both a disco class (advanced beginner) and a beginners’ hip hop class this term. The disco moves and the whole disco style of moving her body definitely comes more easily and naturally to her than hip hop.

Celebrating Ingrid’s birthday with family lunch at a conveyor belt sushi place.

Adrian is a slow and distractible eater. Ingrid used to be the same, but is the opposite nowadays. I think she’s been forced to learn to eat fast at school. I remember in grade 0 she used to get stomach aches because they had so little time to eat lunch. She’d start out slow and then finish at a frantic pace. Now it’s a more even, consistently fast pace.

I believe in family meals taken together, so I encourage her to stay at the table until everyone has finished. She gets rather bored while waiting.