A month of growing up and maturing.

Ingrid has been more responsible, self-managing and independent than I’ve seen her before. In the mornings, she used to need prompting and reminding for every step, and otherwise just absentmindedly dawdled or, more likely, started to read something. Now she remembers what she’s supposed to do and actually remembers to do it as well. Get dressed, have breakfast, brush her hair, brush her teeth, pack her bag. Now she is more likely than me to remember her gym bag – I don’t even pay any attention except on the days when she is exceptionally tired in the morning.

She used to want me to brush her hair and teeth, but now does it herself. She can’t get all the tangles out, so I do her hair over again every few days.

She’s tried walking to school on her own, as well as coming home on her own in the afternoon. It worked out well but was frustrating for Ingrid. The big deal for her was to be in charge. But the teachers at school intruded and sent her home when they thought the time was appropriate, instead of letting her decide. Tomorrow, when Ingrid will walk home on her own again, she will have a letter from me where I make it as clear as possible to whoever needs to know that she can go when she wants.

But she does the same thing herself: she intrudes on discussions and decisions that are simply none of her business. When I ask Adrian something, she answers for him. She tries to decide for Adrian what book I should read for him, or what sweet he should choose after dinner.

Some days she’s helpful and co-operative, helps me prepare dinner, etc. Other days she’s touchy, grumpy, whiny. On those days, when I ask her to do something, she can flare up in tears or anger, måste du tjata på mig hela tiden, du bara skyller på mig hela tiden (although based on her intonation I suspect she means skäller and not skyller). She goes off into her room to sulk, or walks well behind me if we’re out.

When she’s upset, she doesn’t want others to get involved. If something happens when we’re about to go home to bring her to or near tears, often one of her friends will notice, stop by and ask why Ingrid is crying. She always refuses to talk to them and absolutely doesn’t want me to explain either, so I say something generic that satisfies the friend and yet doesn’t reveal anything.

She herself is still struggling a bit with the whole empathy thing. She notices when others are physically hurt, and if she accidentally hurts someone in the middle of playing, she always apologizes, and it comes from her heart. But that understanding doesn’t reach beyond the physical. She is often intentionally slightly cruel towards Adrian: taunts him, grabs the toy that she sees him reaching for.

She is restless and impatient. She is physically unable to sit still unless she has something to concentrate on, such as a movie or a book. After dinner when she’s waiting for us to finish (so we can all have dessert) she fidgets, climbs, see-saws on the chair, fiddles with her cutlery, makes noise with her plate… anything to not be still. In fact even while she’s reading, she’s constantly shifting around, moving her legs, poking at stuff with her feet.

Reading, with restless legs

Possibly related is her habit of speaking as soon as she has something to say. That thought just has to get out, right now! She interrupts in the middle of a word while Eric and I are talking, or while I’m reading for her, or singing for Adrian. She doesn’t even seem to notice it, even though it annoys the heck out of us and we always tell her so.

With only a week left until Christmas eve, her thoughts are full of Christmas. She isn’t as obsessed as she was with her birthday, but she talks about it almost every day. She and Adrian share the felt Advent calendar I made a few years ago. There’s also an advent calendar to follow on TV and another one on the radio, but those don’t seem to be very important to her – often she skips them and then catches up a few days later.

Ingrid has learned to play “Nu tändas tusen juleljus” on the piano. I took her through it a few times and that was all it took. After that she practiced on her own, and when she forgot some note, she figured it out by trial and error. She’s not the most musical of kids, and her whistling and singing are tuneless even to my tone-deaf ears. (My own is probably equally bad but I don’t hear it myself.) But she hears enough to notice when she hits a wrong note.

She has also learned both finger knitting and knitting. She was very enthusiastic about both at first but hasn’t done recently.

She got a mild concussion one day at school and stayed at home the day after. With iPad games and movies off-limits, she was quite bored, until she came up with the idea of making Christmas cards for her friends. Her favourite crafts projects are often of this kind: decorating rather than making from scratch, and usually paper-based. She also enjoys origami and scrapbooking.