I don’t think we’ve done anything majorly new or interesting this month. Just the same old stuff. So this month I’ll focus a bit more on life’s basic parts – the kinds of things that I haven’t written much about for a while, and won’t be able to remember when I look back at this time 5 years from now.

Slouching in front of Teletubbies

Eating. Ingrid eats surprisingly well and with surprising skill. I’m pleased to say that she eats almost all kinds of food: starchy stuff, dairy and eggs, pulses and vegetables, and since I’ve heard no comments from nursery, probably meat too. She is fond of sweet stuff of course: she picks the raisins out of her buns, loves to drink juice with her breakfast, and wants a lot of jam on her pancakes. She licks the butter of the bread, and eats sour cream with a spoon.

Food tastes especially good when we’re preparing it. She’d much rather eat the ingredients while I’m cooking than the finished meal. Canned beans in particular – often she eats so much from the jar that she’s full by the time I’m done cooking.

I think she’s also started to pay attention to the shape of food. She sees shapes in her half-eaten pieces of bread, likes to eat “butterfly pasta” (farfalle), and prefers heart-shaped gingerbread cookies to round ones. Just a matter of time until she starts building porridge mountains and milk lakes.

The amount she eats varies a lot. Sometimes I wonder how she can possibly subsist on the tiny amounts she eats. But just now she’s come out of a major eating phase when she ate twice her normal portions, with no more than 3 hours between meals. Nevertheless she is much slimmer now than ever before (except as newborn). Not a skinny girl by any means, but not the little sumo wrestler she used to be.

Sleeping. Back in June it looked like she might be giving up naps but that reversed and she now naps every day again. Sometimes she objects, but when I go to the bedroom she’d rather join me than play on her own. Once we’re there she’s happy to lie down with me, and soon after that she falls asleep. The evening bedtime routine takes longer. I tell her a story and then give her a cuddle, and then wait about 15 minutes for her to actually fall asleep. Not too bad, all things considered: it takes a while but there’s no struggle.

Once she’s gone to sleep she sleeps well and soundly. Occasionally she kicks off her covers and I need to pull them over her again. Around 5:30 or 6:00 she shifts into lighter sleep, and any movement in the room will wake her. She sort of goes back to sleep when I lay a hand on her, but neither of us gets much proper sleep after that. I imagine she would sleep longer in the morning if she slept in a room of her own, but there’s no such room to be had right now.

Potty. Ingrid’s nappy-free most of her awake time now, but still wears a nappy for naps, and when we’re out on town and cannot always get to a potty fast (e.g. on the train). Sometimes she tells me she needs to go potty, and sometimes I ask her and she says yes. The occasional accidents happen when I suspect she needs to go, but she says no for some reason – probably because she has more interesting stuff to do. And she almost always ends up pooping in her panties. I know she knows when it’s about to happen, but for some reason she doesn’t want to do it on the potty.

Helping me pin a curtain hem

Skills. She picks her own clothes every morning and generally puts them on herself. She now likes dresses and skirts – but unfortunately only has one of each. She used to have no interest in clothes and would wear whatever I dressed her in, and I haven’t quite caught up with this new interest in clothes. (I tried to find more skirts but couldn’t find anything in the shops that looked good and seemed comfortable.)

She knows how the microwave oven works and how we cook food. She hands me stuff while I’m cooking, measures and pours water for me (with quite a lot of guidance from me). Her favourite task, apart from eating the ingredients, is to put veggies in the saucepan for cooking. She knows that the stove and the saucepan are hot, and that the water must be boiling (must have “big bubbles”) before we put the food in. And then we wait until the knob on the timer reaches the little O and makes “rrring”, and then the food is done.

Language. Swedish is definitely gaining the upper hand. Whenever Ingrid talks to herself, it’s almost always in Swedish. I still always speak Estonian to her, and she mostly responds in Estonian, too, although Swedish words sneak in quite often. A losing battle.

She can mostly keep apart the words, but grammar is harder. She often mixes the two: “en hobune” – one (Swedish) horse (Estonian), and “juurde emme saapad” – next to mummy’s boots, Estonian words but Swedish word order, and even “på laua peal” – on (Swedish) table on (Estonian).

I think she’s close to figuring out pronouns now. She talks of herself in 2nd person (du springer – you are running, sa tahad juua – you want to drink) because that’s what she hears from the adults around her. Sometimes even in 3rd person – I guess she hears how the nursery teachers talk about other children. But I get the feeling that she knows it’s not quite right, and I’ve started to say things like “Ingrid says ’I am hungry’” rather than saying “you are hungry” to make the distinction clear.

She understands simple questions (what, who, where) but she doesn’t ask any herself. She can ask “Kus on Ingrid?” (where is Ingrid?) when she wants me to play hide and seek with her, but she’s repeating a phrase she’s heard me use, rather than asking the question herself. Likewise she can say “Mis see on?” when she wants me to guess what sort of shape she sees in her biscuit, but when she really wants to know the name of some thing, she says “Den!” (“that!”) in a demanding voice instead.

Recently I’ve started asking her what she did at nursery and sometimes I actually got coherent answers from her. She’s told me that they’ve sung Happy Birthday for Elin, another girl at nursery, and that they’ve played, and that she didn’t like Ahmed because he hurt her. Quite often the most important thing for her is to tell me who was there and who wasn’t.

We still read and sing quite a lot, even though an hour of each evening is consumed by Teletubbies. We go to an Estonian playgroup every other week, and spend about 40 minutes singing, and they spend some time singing every morning at nursery too. She may sit and stare mutely while she’s there, but she often sings the songs later at home. Now her singing clearly has a melody, and she can sing several simpler songs from beginning to end. Some that she hasn’t heard for a while get abbreviated to the most important parts: “Lilla bocken Bruse… Alla bockar Bruse… i skogen!”

Last month I mentioned puzzles, and Triin told me that her son, who’s a few months older than Ingrid, can manage a real jigsaw puzzle with help. Eric got a 16-piece wooden jigsaw (with farm animals) for Ingrid, and we both guessed that it would probably be suitable in a few months time. It turns out that we severely underestimated both her interest and ability. She’s played with it every single day I think, often putting it together several times in a row. Initially she needed a lot of guidance but now she can do it all on her own. It’s got a frame to guide her, which helps a lot, but mostly she does it by memory. “Horse piece… here. Sheep. Cow piece… here.”

Following the leader

She’s actually played with both the jigsaw and her Duplo set all on her own a few times, but generally she still spends very little time on her own. She remembers and likes to re-play the same games with me. When we build with Duplo, we don’t just build: we build a “snake” or a “wall” or a “house for Bu and Bä” (two of her soft toys). And whenever we build a house for Bu and Bä, it’s always for those two toys and no others.

We’ve played hide-and-seek, which means that she crawls in under the table and tells me “Where is Ingrid?” and I’m then supposed to go looking for her while loudly commenting – “Is Ingrid in the oven? No! Is Ingrid on the step stool? No!”. Sometimes we play follow-the-leader where we both lie on the floor and kick, or stretch one leg towards the ceiling, or “cycle” with our legs, etc. She also likes running, jumping up and down, twirling until she’s so dizzy she cannot stand straight, and tumbling around on the floor with me. She’s not a climber though: I never find her climbing on the sofa or even the low table.