It is heart-warming to see and hear Ingrid and Adrian together. They play so nicely with each other, and Ingrid takes such good care of Adrian, that I’m almost afraid to believe it will last – even though it’s been this way since Adrian was born.

When he was a tiny baby Ingrid didn’t quite know what to do with him. But as soon as he could at least sit up and respond clearly to the world outside, she was there, waving toys in front of him and making silly faces at him.

Now their interactions are very different but apparently still pleasing to both. I say “apparently” because they’ve now progressed to a level that I as an adult cannot grasp. Their play is physical, and seems to involve lots of noise, squealing and shouting, and imitating each other. Adrian’s part is entirely non-verbal and much of the time so is Ingrid’s. When she speaks to him, it’s baby talk.

When we are out walking he prefers holding Ingrid’s hand rather than mine.

I wonder how he will react after summer when she goes to school and won’t be at nursery with him any more.

Spring was cold this year. Six weeks ago we had snow (really we did, and I have pictures to prove it!) But now it is suddenly summer. I still haven’t quite caught up with this shift: Ingrid’s winter boots are still in the hall and I haven’t had time to pack away our winter coats.

One of the nice things that comes with summer is the outdoor vegetable market here in Spånga. Well, it’s really more of an outdoor produce shop rather than a real market, because it’s all a single firm. But it’s outdoors (which is nice) and their range is very wide (which is even better). They opened for this season about a week ago. They have so much nice stuff that I can’t get in the supermarkets in Spånga, that I have a hard time making up my mind about what to buy. Broad beans and green beans, scallions, apricots, three kinds of melon, mangoes…

You’re “supposed” to do your shopping weekly and not buy a little every day. I’ve never managed to make it work for me, just like I find the idea of weekly meal plans very unappealing. How can I decide today what I will want to eat 5 days from now, and what I will want to cook 5 days from now? Maybe Ingrid will be away at a friend’s and Eric will be working late. Maybe we’ll be busy in the garden and I’ll want to spend a minimum of time on dinner. Maybe I’ll suddenly feel like having soup.

So I stop by the supermarket almost every day on my way home, to buy dinner materials. But I normally have enough vegetables in the fridge to put together some sort of dinner even if I have to skip the shopping for some reason, and also to adjust my dinner plan if circumstances change.

In addition to dinner, I top up the must-have stuff. Here’s my shortlist that I always go through mentally in the supermarket:

  • Bread.
  • (Soft) flatbread. This is both kids’ go-to food for afternoon snacks, and my standard breakfast.
  • Liver pâté. Ingrid’s favourite sandwich material, and the packages are small so I’m often buying more.
  • Milk. Now that I don’t drink milk with my meals, Ingrid doesn’t, either. But Eric takes milk in his coffee, and both sometimes need it with their cereal for breakfast.
  • Apple juice. Diluted apple juice is now our everyday meal-time drink.
  • Eggs. For baking and for breakfast.
  • Bananas. Adrian’s favourite breakfast and snack food.
  • Fruit.

For some while now, since the remodelling, we’ve been talking about replacing our fridge with a larger one so we can at least stock up for an entire week on such basics as milk and eggs and apple juice. (Right now there isn’t space for more than 2 litres of milk, and about 15 eggs, if everything else is to fit in there as well.) But somehow other important purchases keep coming up, and the fridge never gets to the head of the queue.

Adrian is continuing as he was last month, focusing on language development. He now does two-word sentences pretty regularly: “Ingrid shirt” (meaning “Ingrid’s shirt”), “Adrian chair” (meaning “Adrian wants to be on that chair”), “mummy shoes” (meaning “help me put on my shoes”).

“Mamma” does not necessarily mean “mummy”: he also uses it when he’s with Eric, and it seems to mean something like “big adult help me” – both broader and more specific than “mummy”.

When he needs help, he asks for it. He is confident in his ability to communicate and expects us to understand him.

In fact he now speaks clearly enough that others outside the family can understand much of what he says, after a very little bit of practice.

We spent much of this weekend with the extended Bergheden family, and Adrian (as well as Ingrid) was perfectly happy to be with them rather than hanging on our trouser legs at all times. This is something I haven’t seen at home because here Eric and I are available at all times. The nursery staff have told us that he is happy with other people, but that’s been hearsay, really. Now I’ve seen it with my own eyes. He’s not a little baby any more, totally dependent on me and Eric. He let others help him with food and drink, with his shoes and clothes, and also just enjoyed their company around the house and the yard.

The first signs of bilingualism are appearing. He knows that shoes are called both “kingad” and “skorna”, and a nose is both “nina” and “näsa”, and several other words as well.

Adrian is proactive. When he can manage something on his own, he does it: he goes gets a fork from the drawer when he wants one, and brings out his fleece when we’re getting ready to go out. He also understands sequences of actions. In the morning he can go to the bathroom, point at the toothbrush and say “teeth” – because he knows that tooth-brushing is a necessary step before we can do anything more exciting (such as going out).

On the other hand he has not yet learned that it is a good idea to get undressed before taking a bath or playing with water: he regularly gets his sleeves wet in the kitchen (and then complains about it: he does not like being wet) and often starts climbing into the bath tub with all his clothes on.

He has learned to manage stairs in both directions. Not entirely reliably yet, but he can do it. He can come down both standing up, if he has something to hold on to, or feet first on all fours.

One day when he was drawing scrawls on a sheet of paper, I drew an apple for him. He was astounded. “Äpple! Äpple!” Then some time later I drew something else (I can’t remember what – maybe a shoe, maybe a car, or something like that) and showed it to him. And he goes “Äpple! Äpple!” again – drawing an apple was such magic that he couldn’t even imagine that I could possibly draw other things as well.

Favourite song: “Tuleb, tuleb kitseke” (a song from the Estonian playgroup). Adrian likes singing as much as ever. Often he has definite opinions about what song he wants to hear, or what he doesn’t want to hear. Sometimes he starts singing the song he wants; sometimes he says “inte” to a song I begin, and I try another one and then another, until I hit one that works. He listens especially carefully when the song is a new one, except sometimes when he wants and old favourite and is not at all in the mood for anything new.

Favourite thing: his stripy jersey hat. I think it’s becoming sort of a comfort blanket for him. He also likes wearing mittens and shoes when going out. He does not like to go outside with his bare feet, and I think the mitten thing is the same: his soft little hands and feet are uncomfortable with meeting the outside world. He’s been wearing socks since he first started walking, after all, because the floors here have been cold.

It feels like a step change has taken place. Ingrid has matured, and realized that being nice to people has advantages, that “thank you” and “please” work. Previously she’d first order us around and, when we pushed back, swung to the opposite extreme and asked us with a honeyed voice and overdone politeness. “Please dear mummy could you be so kind as to help me.” Now she just asks nicely straight away.

Likewise she sometimes remembers to thank me when I do something for her, or buy clothes for her, etc. Occasionally she even remembers to compliment us on the food. Mostly it’s something like “I liked the pasta. The sauce wasn’t so good but the pasta was good” but still, that’s something.

For some reason she’s become picky with food. She used to eat pretty much everything we served, except for a few things that I knew she didn’t like. (Squishy things like courgettes and aubergines, and leaves, which covered everything from spinach to lettuce to chopped parsley.) Now she is almost as bad as Adrian and eats starches (pasta, rice, bread, potato), meatballs, and possibly one or two vegetables (bell peppers, peas, sweetcorn). And fruit, luckily.

I think this may tie in with her general tendency right now to want everything to be just so. If her new toothbrush isn’t perfect, just the way she imagined it, it’s no good. If I serve a favourite dish of hers but it comes out not exactly like last time, it’s no good. Etc.

She is distracted and there seems to be a lot going on in her head. Meals take forever, because she forgets to eat. She starts talking about something (to us, or just to herself), climbs down from the chair because some rope needs to be straightened out just so because her doll needs it as a lifeline, or she is too busy trying to balance a strand of spaghetti just so on her fork. At night when going to bed, the soft toys in her bed have to be lined up and organized just so, and a running commentary is going on throughout.

Interestingly she has no trouble coming up with things to do when she already has something to do (such as eating, or getting dressed). It’s when she is not busy that she has trouble entertaining herself. But she’s become better at that, too. She doesn’t start talking about watching TV as soon as she’s done eating breakfast, and has actually managed some days completely without TV.

Ingrid’s quite preoccupied with bodily hurts. At the end of each day at preschool the first thing she will tell me is which parts of her body she hurt and how many times. When she summarizes her Sunday morning judo session it’s all about counting bruises and falls, rather than remembering what was fun.

She has been more interested than usual in buying things and in the concept of money. She’s had an allowance (10kr every Saturday) since her 5th birthday. Sometimes she’s been more interested and sometimes less. Now she’s used up all her money and actually bought one thing on credit. (A pony ride when we went to the circus: 30kr, a waste for 2 minutes’ ride in my opinion, but not in hers. Since it was a unique opportunity I let her borrow 30kr from me.) She has started talking about saving up some money to buy something bigger (such as one of those large shiny helium-filled balloons) but fiscal discipline is not coming easily to her.

A friend of hers had a miniature backyard sale of old toys. Ingrid wanted to do the same with her old toys and clothes but I vetoed the idea because I want to keep most of them for Adrian. But I suggested that she could earn some extra money by doing chores. Specifically I’d pay her 1kr for setting the table, and 1kr for clearing it after a meal. She earned 5kr in total but now her interest has waned.

She likes to talk funny (imitating some dialect or accent that I can’t place right now) and walk funny (knock-kneed, toes turned in).

She likes tattoos, both the kinds you transfer with water and home-made ones (with face paint), and almost always has one on her arm or hand. Every time she gets one, she wants me to take a photo of it – she is not happy about the impermanence of these things.

She’s started describing herself as “not so good at” all sorts of things – things she can do reasonably well (cutting her food), things she hasn’t practised much (speaking English), and things she’s never tried (karate). This must be something she picked up from preschool. I didn’t say anything initially but now I object and explain what “not so good at” means and what the difference is between not having tried, not having practised much yet, and actually not being good at something.


Yesterday I exterminated cherry seedlings. 616 before lunch and 134 after, for a total of 750. It’s a most fertile cherry tree we have.

Here’s a photo of last year’s pickings.

One morning, earlier this week, a lady approached me as I was unlocking my bike at Karlberg train station in the morning. She asked if I could fill in a questionnaire about the bike parking situation there. And the situation has been bugging me so badly for so long that I was not only willing to do so, but really happy that someone was actually interested in improving the parking there.

There were questions about the state of the parking (= ranging from poor to atrocious, with the ground littered with rotting newspapers and a significant number of the slots occupied by abandoned broken bikes), how easy it is to find a space there (= I am lucky to be working part time and leaving work early, before the afternoon rush hour), where I’m going and how often I use this bike parking, etc etc. And finally a question about whether I’d be willing to pay a monthly fee for parking my bike.

I totally would. I would do it if the only thing I got for my money was a guaranteed place, because when I have 3–5 minutes to park my bike and get to the platform, I do not want to have to wander around looking for a place and shifting other bikes around to squeeze mine in. What luxury it would be to also have the place cleaned regularly, and maybe even a roof!

Now let’s hope something concrete comes out of this, and within the near future rather than in 5 years’ time.

This weekend we bought some dahlias, which I repotted and put out on the deck yesterday evening. But I forgot to check the weather report and therefore they were damaged by the night frost – just hours after I put them out. Now I feel like a fool, and sad to see for the beautiful flowers that hang brown and shrivelled. I hope they recover, otherwise I will have to start over.

And the cold I’ve had for a week got worse during the weekend, and today I realized it’s now turned into sinusitis – fever, half my head aches, and my teeth as well.

And Adrian’s reaction to seeing me trying to rest on the sofa is to get all worried and clingy, and want to nurse every 5 minutes, so really there wasn’t any resting for me until he went to bed.

Now I’m in a grumpy mood, feeling sorry for myself and the flowers. I’m treating myself with chocolate – after about 60kr worth of nice pralines from Chokladfabriken I am feeling distinctly better.