After last month’s changes, this has been a stable month, almost eventless. Well, except for all the birthday celebrations of course. Ingrid has been thinking about them almost all the time, I think.

The best things with birthdays are presents and sweets: the more, the better. Those are the things she talks about most. She finally settled on waffles for her actual birthday, and for her party a Swiss roll – with ice cream or whipped cream, so the kids can put sprinkles on top.

As for gifts, she has been talking a lot about stuff that the other girls in her class have: My Little Pony, Littlest Pet Shop, Lego Friends. We got her some Lego Friends; she’s thinking of buying some My Little Pony toys for her pocket money.

Ingrid gets pocket money every week, and my expectation is that she should pay for her own toys. Otherwise she will be insatiable and never consider the cost. Now she is hyper-aware of the cost. When she realizes that buying this advent calendar would cost half her money, and that pony castle set would cost ALL her money, she really doesn’t want to part with her money. Not because she has her sights set on something else, but because she doesn’t like handing over the money.

On the other hand, not getting pocket money doesn’t bother her too much: she bought a Bamse subscription and paid for it in instalments, i.e. she did not get any pocket money until it was paid off. That was no big deal. The endowment effect in action…

Other kids’ opinions matter not only for toys. She is discovering self-consciousness and embarrassment. Not that she hasn’t felt these things in the past, but now she knows what she’s feeling and has the words for it.

She wanted to buy a onesie (the thing that looks like loose zip-up pyjamas). We found one that was in a pretty fabric, but tight rather than loose, more like a dance suit. Ingrid thought about it and then said she wouldn’t want to wear that to school, it would be too embarrassing. But a few other kids have loose onesies, so she felt more comfortable with that.

Otherwise her taste in clothing is refreshingly individualistic. No blue jeans for her, no frilly skirts and tights, no t-shirts with kittens or glittery hearts. No – Ingrid wears dresses and tunics, and tights or leggings. There was one week when she wore skirts for some reason, skirts that I’ve bought for her at some point and that normally lie unused in her dresser. That week in the afternoons I could hardly find her at school – I almost didn’t recognise her at a distance.

All her clothes should be soft and stretchy and preferably tight. Especially when it comes to trousers she really doesn’t want any loose jeansy ones, only leggings. And everything should be colourful and patterned, preferably in floral patterns. Molo’s crazy flowers-and-rabbits-and-clouds style patterns are her particular favourites. She happily combines different strongly patterned items that almost make my eyes water. But she also has definite colour preferences, so the end result may be eye-catching but usually isn’t totally uncoordinated.

She has asked me to braid her hair several times now. It’s shortish, especially at the front, so a plain braid would leave much of it still loose. Therefore I’ve tried my hand at French braids and Dutch braids, with the help of YouTube. (The trick is to moisten the hair first, with a spray bottle.) She’s been surprisingly patient, and liked the results – and also liked the wavy hair she gets when we unbraid the hair.

Ingrid has been interested in telling time again. She learned it this spring but then kind of forgot about it, and has now relearned it again. When we’re near a clock she often just tells me the time, because she can.

The quarter hours are particularly tricky because they work differently in Estonian and Swedish. In Swedish it’s the same as in English: quarter to, quarter past. In Estonian, as soon as you’re past the hour, you start thinking about the next one: a quarter past six becomes “quarter [of] seven” and then a quarter to seven is “three quarters [of] seven”.

(And while we’re at it, half-hours work the same in Swedish and Estonian: both are forward-looking, unlike English. So the English “half past six” becomes “half seven” in both Estonian and Swedish.)

Last week we were invited to the school for the parent-teacher meeting for the autumn term. The English name is misleading, really: it’s a “development discussion” in Swedish, and it’s definitely not just for the parents and the teacher: the student is present and an important part of the discussion. Also the meeting is both backward- and forward-looking, and results in a plan for the student’s learning for the rest of the term.

Ingrid is still well ahead of the school’s expectations in reading, writing, maths and English. Her learning plan included practising block letters (as opposed to the all-uppercase they all started out with), and beginning to read in English.

At home she mostly plays with Adrian, or plays on the iPad, or reads the usual stuff: Bamse, Kalle Anka, Daisy Meadows’ fairy books. She borrows new Daisy Meadows books at the school library every week, never anything else, and will probably keep this up until she’s read all they have.