On this day...
5 years ago: Paved
10 years ago: Pregnancy update

Adrian has recently gained surprising amounts of independence and confidence. Earlier this summer he went to the supermarket with Ingrid for the first time; this month he actually went to the supermarket on his own. And not only that – when he got there and couldn’t reach the cereal he wanted to buy, he wasn’t afraid to ask a shop assistant for help. I am surprised and proud.

He’s also walked to the house of a family friend (a few houses away from ours) to pick up their mail while they were away, and stopped for a long chat with another neighbour on the way back. And this is the kid who just a year ago had to be in the same room with one of us, and followed us like a puppy when we went to another room.

He is learning from Ingrid and is starting to enjoy the same things. He’s picked up Minecraft and built some houses already; we’re reading Harry Potter at bedtime just like for Ingrid.

School starts tomorrow and he is quite looking forward to it. Several kids from his preschool will be in his class and of course he is familiar with the schoolyard and buildings from all the times he’s been with me to pick up Ingrid, so it’s not a big step for him.

He’s in good shape for school. He’s known his letters and numbers for a long time already. He can read, as long as the words aren’t too long – give him a game card for example (“Move your game piece ahead of the player who is first on the board”) and he has no trouble reading it out loud.

He eats a lot, almost always more than Ingrid. We have been setting the table with smaller cutlery for the kids, but now Adrian wants adult-sized cutlery (and ours are even larger than average) so he can get even more food in his mouth.

He likes his scooter and likes cycling as well, but doesn’t feel comfortable with balancing when the ground feels far away. We bought a tow bike and he loves it.

Ingrid has had her first cavities. She said her teeth hurt. She’s very sensitive to pain and describes even the smallest thing as “hurts really bad” so it is always hard to judge any actual damage. But a dentist took a look and found two cavities – in permanent teeth unfortunately. The drilling and filling bothered her less than I had perhaps expected.

Today was the first day of school. Ingrid has been looking forward to it for a long time. Fourth grade is the first year of “the middle stage” of elementary school, so she gets a new teacher and a new classroom.

She also wanted a new backpack, and spent hours and hours looking for the right one. The old one was “not quite her style” anymore. It’s also a bit too small and not suited for carrying really heavy stuff, such as the loads of books from the school library that she sometimes brings home.

She’s signed up to Instagram. I don’t think she’s posted any photos yet but I’m sure they will come. She likes taking photos of her meals; I don’t know where she picked up that trend.

I’ve been cycling to the office this past week. Like my shorter days, it’s been a way of easing my way from vacation back to work.

It’s about 11 km each way, which takes me just over half an hour. I’m not a very fast cyclist, and my bike is not a very fast bike.

Most of the route is flat, easy cycling, except for this giant bridge and the motorway overpasses right to the east of it. The bridge looks so flat from a distance but it definitely does not feel flat when cycling over it – it’s a long slog of a climb. Especially when it’s windy.

Today I learned that cycling is calculated to be the most efficient self-powered means of transportation.

This is my first week back at work and I was really in no mood to start working again, so I’m only doing half days this week. This afternoon after work we all went to Moderna Museet to see an exhibition of Yayoi Kusama.

There was less of it than I had hoped, and frankly I found her early paintings rather boring. Perhaps they would have been of interest if I’d gone there as an art student or journalist, trying to understand how she ended up creating what she has been creating recently.

The later, more abstract paintings were more interesting. I especially liked the “infinity net” paintings (go google them). Seen up close, the picture disappeared and instead the act of painting became visible. At medium distance it was just randomness, and stepping back further suddenly there was an overall structure to it.

Her large-scale dotted installations were most fun, especially the infinity themed ones. “Infinity Mirrored Room: Hymn of Life” was my favourite. A dark room with mirrors in all directions, filled with large paper lamps with black dots. The lamps changed colour, which made this installation feel more alive than the others. Somehow the sizes and colours and placement of the balls were such that the whole room felt welcoming and comfortable, whereas some of the other dotted infinity installations were more weird and alien.

Yayoi Kusama, Infinity Mirrored Room – Hymn of Life.
Photo: Vegard Kleven/HOK. Licensed under CC BY 3.0

Adrian and I played Blitz. He’s nowhere near fast enough to play it “for real”, so we just take turns and neither of us wins.

It is more fun when played for real.

Adrian helped me cook dinner. We made pasta with a carrot and hazelnut sauce.

Eric is away with the kids for three days, visiting his father. I spent the first two days on my own just relaxing, reading and doing stuff around the house. Today I realized it was the last day of my vacation and on my own so it was an excellent opportunity to go out cycling.

Based on a suggestion in a book about cycle outings, I cycled along the northern edge of lake Mälaren, from Alvik to Kanaan. I am not sure if I would recommend it for other cyclists unless they are on mountain bikes. The route was picturesque, true. But many sections of the path were either too steep or too uneven (or both) for normal bikes so I had to get off and walk.

I had to go to town today for some shopping. After a long vacation that I have spent mostly outdoors, being surrounded by noise and crowds was a stressful experience. And it wasn’t even a particularly crowded place, really, only relative to what I’ve become used to. 15 minutes was enough to give me the beginnings of a headache and I hurried home again.

At home I treated myself to some macro therapy.

The gooseberries are almost ripe. Yum.

I love having berry bushes in the garden: gooseberries, strawberries, raspberries… They are perfect. While cherry-picking requires a ladder, with a berry bush even kids can just walk up to them and eat. They require little space and little care.

And the harvest is of manageable size, again unlike cherries and apples. I mean, apples are nice and cherries are delicious, but a whole tree’s worth of cherries is too much for just one household. This year we had an exceptionally large cherry harvest – buckets and buckets full – and despite eating our fill, making chutney, squash and cake, we just couldn’t use them all. Even now weeks after the harvest we are still picking masses of fallen, moldy, bird-pecked fruit every day.