On this day...
1 year ago: Sixty-four months
3 years ago: Forty months
5 years ago: Sixteen months
10 years ago: Lazy(p)ants

This month’s big news is that Adrian learned to read well enough to read books for fun, on his own. We borrowed books from the library and are queueing for some more. When I picked him up at school today, I found him in the quiet room, engrossed in a book.

His favourite book above all is Harry Potter. (Not for reading on his own, but listening to me or Eric read it for him.) I’d have thought him too young for it, but he loves it.

Aside from reading, he likes colouring. But only in school – he never does it at home. But every afternoon at school, I find him colouring. Mostly Pokemon pictures. That’s what all the kids at school colour and draw: Pokemons are all the rage right now.

At home he’s more likely to do some fiddly project. Beading (Pokemon figures), or Qixels for example. He bought a Qixels kit for his own pocket money. He also likes sewing; we just started sewing a Pikachu plushie together.

If he isn’t doing something Pokemon-related, he’s playing with Skylanders – both the video game and simply playing with the figures.

Mostly the Skylanders figures fight each other. So do Pokemons, and so do the Qixels figures, and his favourite books and movies are all full of fighting as well.

Legos appear to have lost at least some of their charm.

Ingrid has suddenly started reading more actual books, not just Kalle Anka pocket. We went to a bookstore and bought a bunch of books together during Christmas break, and now she’s reading them and almost every one is “best book ever!”. The books she chose were all fantasy and (mild) horror stories. Current favourites: Rum 213 by Ingelin Angerborn, Stj√§rnstenen by Jo Salmson.

Normally I read for her at bedtime. Today for the first time ever Ingrid got so deep into a book in the evening that we missed our story time. She just couldn’t put the book down.

Otherwise it’s the usual digital entertainments: games, YouTube, etc. Current favourite game: The Sims 4.

She worries. She is more and more aware that she is growing up, and isn’t quite happy about it. She tells me she’d rather stay a child and relive her childhood years. She worries about ageing and dying, and about having to decide on a career, and having to choose a university, and getting into university, and having to move away from home. She sees adulthood at the horizon and is anxious about her ability to manage it. I guess it all looks like a burden from where she’s standing.

She is really sensitive to negative events and others’ negative opinions. They drag her down, and she has a hard time getting past them. A disappointment in the morning can set the tone and ruin a whole day. Even when it’s Adrian saying something slightly negative, she’s hurt – and he’s just a six-year-old. When he hugs her good-bye, for example, he finishes by pushing her off and saying “go now!” – and she takes that as rejection.

I guess she is unsure of her place in the world, and of her value. She doesn’t show it much of the time but that low self-esteem seems to be there under the surface.

This is Adrian’s pile of library books.

When we were choosing books together, his said he wanted books “with fights… and maybe dinosaurs”. That turned out to be a rare combination. Even just finding easy reading books with fights in them was difficult. Not considered an appropriate subject for six-year-olds, perhaps?

Adrian has learned to read fluently. Today we went to the library to pick up some books. We have plenty of children’s books at home, but no “easy reading”.

Now he cannot put them down, and he’s already finished three of the five books. Which is why we don’t have such books at home: they’re good for one read, which takes about 15 minutes, and that’s it.

These are my Millennium tights. That’s what the design was called, because the millennium was the hot thing back when I got them, in 2000.

They were an eye-opener, my gateway into the world of fancy legwear. Up until I got these as a gift from Eric, I’d frugally been buying plain black or skin-coloured tights only.

They are among the oldest clothes that I own and still wear. Very occasionally, to be honest: they’re more air than yarn at the toes, and I mostly keep them out of nostalgia.

I got a colouring book for Christmas, and it has surprised me how much I like it. Colouring books for adults are everywhere these days – even in the magazine rack at the supermarket. I’ve never considered buying one for myself. I have no shortage of activities to fill my time. But now that I have a colouring book, I use it more than I had expected. It’s an excellent time-filler for those little gaps when I’m waiting for something (Ingrid to finish brushing her teeth, or potatoes to finish cooking) and the time is too short to pick up a book – or when it’s late at night and I’m too tired to do anything demanding, but not tired enough to go to bed. Previously I would have been tempted to just browse reddit or gotten stuck in some blog. Colouring is a better alternative.

Another reason why I haven’t thought of buying a colouring book is that I simply don’t think of myself as an artistic person. I have my elementary school teachers to thank for that – they taught me that I cannot sing or draw or paint. Drawing is the quintessential “art”, so at the back of my head I’ve always equated “creative and artistic” to “can draw”.

The years have taught me that none of that is true. Yes, my singing may sound awful to a trained ear, but that does not mean I cannot sing. Yes, drawing is an art, but drawing is not the only way to be creative. I write, I photograph, I sew and craft, I design our garden. Even programming is a creative endeavour!

I sharpen pencils the old school way, with a small knife. It’s an enjoyable task, as long as the knife is sharp and the pencil made of good wood.

The best thing Adrian got for Christmas was a Skylanders game. For “second Christmas”, when we celebrate with the extended family, about two weeks after actual Christmas, he got a bunch of extra figures. The figures quickly became his favourite toy. Almost all other toys lie neglected and forgotten – including Legos.

Adrian and I wrapped Christmas gifts for his cousins. Mostly I wrapped, while he taped and wrote labels. “Look, I made a lowercase R!”

Adrian getting a haircut.