The local shops have put up their Christmas-themed window decorations and trees in Spånga torg have acquired lights.

I have a Coop MedMera membership card, which I use to pay for all my daily shopping at Coop Konsum, one of our two local supermarkets. I use my Visa card for everything else, and only rarely use cash.

MedMera means roughly “and more”, so it can also be used at other shops in the Coop group, for example at the Akademibokhandeln chain of book shops. But I use almost exclusively at Coop.

So much so, in fact, that my brain has apparently decided that the MedMera card is for Coop only, and refuses to process it at other locations. It has happened me on two occasions already that I have tried to pay with it at Akademibokhandeln and been totally and completely unable to recall the PIN code, which I use daily at Coop without ever having to even think about it. The card terminal looks different and that is apparently enough to throw my brain off.

And what’s worse, not being able to remember the PIN at Akademibokhandeln also erased it from the memory slot that I use at Coop. So: I use the PIN daily for years at Coop, then tried and failed (just once!) to remember the pin at Akademibokhandeln, and the next day I could not recall it at Coop either!

(Luckily muscle memory kicked in again the day after, so I can now use the card again.)

Adrian loves bread. He especially loves the apricot and walnut bread that Eric made this weekend. (Adrian helped put the apricots and walnuts in the dough.)

When Adrian eats food that he really really enjoys, there is no doubt about it: he chews with his eyes closed, going nyom nyom nyom all the time, like in a cartoon.

Playing with kinetic sand. Adrian, Eric, and two of Adrian’s friends.

Lusen is a Swedish game, dating from the 1950s, where you roll a die to collect parts to build a weird-looking plastic insect. Adrian and I played Lusen today.

Horsehair dish brush.

Adrian is four… and yet he’s always “the little one”. At this age Ingrid felt so big, but now that I have an eight-year-old to compare to, Adrian feels young whatever he does.

He himself wants to be bigger. He says he wishes he was as big as Ingrid, or that “Ingrid came out of you after me” so he could be the older one.

It’s hard to notice Adrian growing because he’s my second child. His development is not news, I’ve seen most of it before, so I really have to pay attention. I get regular little surprises when I notice how much he’s grown.

Today for example his friend D came home with us after preschool. They played together for two hours, needing no help from me with conflict resolution, which really took me by surprise. There were occasional discussions and disagreements but those got resolved incredibly smoothly and peacefully.

On Friday he had his 4-year checkup. Mostly the things they check are incredibly basic, like walking along a line on the floor, threading large wooden beads on a shoestring, answering simple questions about pictures, etc. He was also asked to draw a man. On his own, he never draws anything but scribbles and tangles. But here to my surprise he drew a surprisingly advanced man: head, eyes and mouth, neck, body, legs (but no arms), and even food in his tummy. I had no idea he could do that. He is never interested in drawing at home.

He surprises me with interesting questions as well. How are fridges made? What is in glass? How did the Earth get made? What is inside the Earth? He’s especially interested in those last ones and has asked me to retell that story several times.

Some weeks ago he tried out an iPad game called Magic Garden. There’s a board with a set of tiles, and you have to rotate the tiles to make the pieces match up so water can flow through the pipe system. To my great surprise he got through like 20 or 30 levels, all on his own – and towards the end they were really complex.

Mostly, though, he chooses YouTube videos or simple games instead of thinking games – because he is tired. He is tired when he wakes in the morning, can’t calm down enough to sleep at preschool, refuses to go to bed early, and usually takes a long time to go to sleep at night.

He’s not really too grumpy, like he was earlier this autumn. But he complains about having to go to preschool, and in the afternoon he complains about having to go home. (It’s comforting to hear him say he doesn’t want to go home in the afternoon, because it means his complaining in the morning is about not wanting to go anywhere, rather than about preschool itself.)

At night the bedtime ritual revolves around singing. First we read a book. Then we sing the songs in his cardboard Ellen och Olle song books. I had given them away to his baby cousin, thinking that surely he had outgrown them. But he really missed them and kept asking for them, so I asked them back, and now we use them every night.

Often he joins me. Sometimes he sings the actual song for real. They’re practising Christmas songs at preschool, so he joins me for Räven raskar över isen for example. More often he sings some nonsense sound instead, but with the same melody as the song I’m singing: “pata pata paa-ta patapatta patta paa-ta” for “har du sett min apa, min söta fina lilla apa” for example. Sometimes he varies the rhythm as well, putting in two quick ones where the real lyrics have one long sound, etc. Which makes it a bit challenging for me to keep singing the real thing, but it’s fun as well.

Then we put the books away and turn off the light, and I keep singing. “First Trollmor, and not too last Kalle Theodor” he reminds me. “Not too last” means it can come later, but not so late that he will have fallen asleep before I get to it.

Favourite clothes: fleece one-piece pyjamas. Oh how happy he would be if we could buy more of those, but I can’t find any. Also, his snowsuit. I brought it up from the basement one cold day, and he kept using it even when the weather turned warmer again. I guess it’s more comfortable than jacket and trousers.

Not favourite clothes: socks. He doesn’t mind them at home but whenever I pick him up at preschool, he’s always taken off his socks.

Favourite food: porridge, but not as intensely as before. Soy “yoghurt” – Carlshamn’s blueberry Soygurt and Alpro’s berry-flavoured yoghurts. “Apple boats” – apples, cored and cut into chunky segments.

Adrian and his friend, in accidentally almost-matching striped outfits, sharing an iPad, surrounded by the leftovers of previous activities: a sofa fort, boxes with Lego and train tracks holding up that fort, and two pirate swords.

Every other Tuesday we get a box of organic vegetables from Ekolådan, “the organic box”. These are the contents of today’s box.

Mostly I welcome the challenge of cooking based on what I get. But sometimes it’s really hard.

Onions, tomatoes – no problem. Aubergine, courgette, beetroot, Jerusalem artichokes, pumpkin: the adults love them, the kids not so much, and I have no trouble coming up with meal ideas to use them up.

Cabbage is harder, because they are always huge. One pumpkin is one dinner. Two aubergines is also roughly one dinner. But one large head of cabbage is at least two dinners if I let the cabbage totally dominate the meal, or four if I don’t, and coming up with creative ways to serve cabbage twice a week is challenging. I currently have one ordinary cabbage, one savoy cabbage and one and a half Chinese cabbage, all waiting to be eaten.

Lettuce I’ve totally given up with. There’s almost always a head of lettuce in the box, and nobody in our home is fond of lettuce. Eric eats some when served, and Ingrid and I might eat a leaf or two if it’s in a hamburger or sandwich. Adrian of course will not even try it. So there is no way we will eat a head of lettuce every two weeks. So I found a neighbour who is fond of lettuce, and most Tuesdays they get ours.

No idea what to do with the chillies, either. We don’t really do spicy food at all normally, and that’s a lot of chillies…