Adrian rarely builds with the LEGOs he has, but the one thing he really wished for as a birthday present was a LEGO Chima set. The Chima series is my favourite as well. The zoomorphic shapes are interesting and intricately constructed. If they didn’t get all dusty, I’d be happy to have them as room decorations.

School has started and Adrian is in first grade. And seven years old. It strikes me how big he is, how much he’s grown, both physically and mentally.

He’s grown a lot over the summer and outgrown all his trousers. All the new ones we bought had to be soft and “not too tight, not too loose”. He agreed that it was good to have one pair of more durable trousers, for outdoors activities, but those had to have a soft jersey lining.

At school he is way ahead of the curriculum. At that personal development meeting, the questions the teacher asked to ascertain his maths skills were on the level of “how many fingers am I holding up” while he practices adding two-digit numbers in his head. The teacher asked if he could write his name, and at home he is reading chapter books.

In addition to school, swim school has started up again. The group he used to be in has its class way too late on Sunday evening so we switched him to a different one. He doesn’t like the new teachers and he doesn’t like the new pool so he’s not super happy about this.

A new addition this term is scouting. He’s been hearing about all the fun that Ingrid has for years, and has been looking forward to it for a long time. He had to admit he didn’t know exactly what scouts did… but he definitely wanted to do it. Now he is finally old enough to join the beaver scouts himself.

He is still full of restless energy. Unless he is focusing on something he is interested in, he talks all the time and fidgets all the time. At the “personal development meeting” at school, he was talking constantly and climbing around in the chair until he actually fell out of it. At swim school likewise the one voice that can be heard chattering loudly, almost without a pause, is Adrian’s. It is tiring. Sometimes when it gets too much I tell him to stop saying each thought out loud, but he soon starts again. I hadn’t noticed how much I had gotten used this noise until one of Ingrid’s friends spent the weekend with us and had to ask him several times to stop talking because she couldn’t hear herself think.

He talks because he cannot help it; all those thoughts need to come out. But he is also interested in words. He asks us about uncommon words he encounters – such as ish (yes, that word made its way into Swedish, too) and omfamna (“to embrace”) and anamma (which also happens to mean “to embrace” but in the non-physical sense, like you might embrace an idea, and which came up for discussion because it is part of one of Captain Haddock’s curses in Swedish) and genomsk├ąda (“to penetrate, to see through”). And afterwards he tries to actually use them in sentences. Instead of asking me for a hug, he now says he would like to embrace me.

Scars from an active life, and a juice moustache.
  • Favourite birthday present: two Nerf guns.
  • Favourite fruit: after half a year of almost nothing but Pink Lady apples, he now prefers clementines.
  • Favourite book: Beast Quest and Bamse are still best, but he is also really enjoying the book about Nordic myths and legends he got for his birthday.
  • Lessening interest: Pokemons, believe it or not.

Adrian and I played Yatzy. I think he enjoyed the maths practice of adding up the points for each round as much as the game itself. It didn’t take him long to realize that a 1-2-3-4-5 straight always gives the same score.

Somehow he still fits into the BiBaBath foldable tub.

Adrian learning to cut his own toenails.

Back when I was learning this, we used scissors. I still remember the frustration of trying to cut the fingernails of using my left hand. Nail clippers are a nice invention. But Adrian has little fingers (and a limited understanding of the principle of leverage) so he still struggles.

Adrian fell in the schoolyard the other day and hit his forehead. It looked like a spill of sprinkles, or a child’s picture of a starry sky – a dense cloud of little red dots.

Mysterium: our current favourite board game. I bought on recommendation of some random online source (like maybe Reddit) as it was supposed to be a good family game, and it was a bulls-eye hit. We all love it.

The rules seemed complicated when we first read through them, but turned out to be quite intuitive and simple once we got going. (That is my one quibble with this game: they really need to rewrite the rulebook and explain the rules more simply and clearly.) It requires no reading or counting or memorizing or strategizing, and there is very little time pressure, so Adrian can join in without any handicapping or special rules. It’s social and non-competitive and relaxed and fun. It’s akin to Dixit but even better. Plus it’s beautiful!

Adrian still likes to come out in the garden with me, in the evenings when I dig my trench. Playing in the dirt has lost its charm, as have the plastic flowerpots. Climbing in the tree is the newest thing.

I’m still out digging my ditch most evenings, and Adrian is still out keeping me company. Now the plastic flower pots are no longer orcs and goblins – they are castle walls and cannons and towers instead. There are cherries for ammunition. There are two castles, and (strongly inspired by Kingdom Rush) each has an exact number of swordsmen, archers and wizards. There are also rules about which cannon points which way, spells that the wizards can use to make their guys invisible, a magical portal, and all kinds of other complications.