• Captain Underpants. Reading in general, especially late in the evening when it’s bedtime.
  • Cycling.
  • Board games. We’ve been playing Secret Code several times recently.
  • Minecraft. Playing the pocket edition on his iPad is no longer enough. I’ve now set up an account for him on my computer and installed the real deal, so that he can play on public servers etc. Just like Ingrid at about the same age.
  • The Mumin books (which Eric is reading for him) and The Brothers Lionheart (which I just finished reading for him).
  • Climbing. Particularly in trees, but other objects – such as large rocks, sacks of earth, etc – also work. He is disappointed that we don’t have more and better climbing trees in the garden.
  • Most foods, except for tomatoes, unless they’re turned into tomato sauce. Well, that and anything sour/sharp, line vinaigrettes and such. Most recent surprise favourite: kohlrabi.

Minecraft has become Adrian’s favourite pastime. Legos are out, and so are beads, PlusPlus and all the other things that he used to spend so much time on. Oh, he still does those to some extent when Minecraft is not an option, but they just cannot compare. We’re actually packing away all his Lego models and bricks because all they do is take up space and gather dust.

When he watches videos on YouTube, half the time it’s about Minecraft. When he reads a book or a magazine, there’s a good chance it’s about Minecraft.

  • Favourite dinner: pasta with a pea and goat’s cheese “pesto”
  • Favourite sweet: Singoalla biscuits with mango and passion fruit flavour
  • A few favourite books: Captain Underpants. Upptäckare och äventyrare by Sarah Sheppard.
  • Favourite songs from Melodifestivalen: In my cabana by Margaret, Everyday by Mendez.
  • Looking forward to: cycling season

His hair is growing really, really wild. He says he likes it long like this. Somehow it never gets tangled, even it rarely sees a comb.

He also really likes hoodies. All other clothes he wears out of necessity, but when it comes to hoodies he has definite favourites. When all the best ones are in the dirty laundry hamper, he just cannot be without them and asks us to wash his clothes.

He is following in Ingrid’s footsteps, playing Minecraft and Overwatch and occasionally reading Kalle Anka (although he likes Bamse better). We’ve played Minecraft together a few times on the PS3 and he navigates the interface like a pro. The part he likes best is building and furnishing our house, and hunting animals for meat and wool etc.

He also likes to order me around in the game and tell me what to do. I guess he’s used to children’s way of sounding totally overconfident about everything and when I don’t talk that way, he thinks I need help and direction with everything. Which is rather annoying.

Current bedtime stories: The brothers Lionheart and The comet is coming.
Current favourite snack: rice cakes with pizza flavour.
Currently learning at school: the finer points of writing. Lowercase and uppercase letter shapes, and getting them correctly positioned, and not mixing one with the other.

Adrian still loves reading Bamse. Every morning, as soon as he is dressed and has come downstairs, he grabs a binder of old issues of Bamse comics and sets it on the kitchen table, before he goes looking for breakfast. Like a morning paper. In the evenings he’s been reading LasseMaja books (detective stories).

He enjoys watching Ingrid play Overwatch, and plays a bit himself. His fine motor skills and reaction speed are nowhere near Ingrid’s, so he stays in the training arena and skirmish mode or whatever it’s called, rather than playing against other human players. The best part is opening loot boxes, though.

Legos are, amazingly, losing their charm. It’s been a while since he built with them, or even spoke longingly of getting new models. Recently he’s been building with Plus Plus instead.

He likes comfy, soft hoodies and knitted sweaters. All other clothes are simply something to wear and he just grabs one from his chest of drawers, but the hoodies are important.

He has his winter hairdo, which simply means no haircuts, because it’s warmer this way. His hair passed a phase when it looked simply overgrown, and is now more wild, which actually looks kind of better to me. Or maybe I’m just getting used to it.

He has dry, rough skin during the cold, dry season and I put on lotion on his arms etc every other evening. The arms are easy, actually, but he also needs lotion on the backs of his thighs, and around his stomach and waist – sensitive areas where he is both a bit ticklish and really feels the coldness of my hands. It always leads to a lot of wriggling and squealing laughter.

Current favourite book series: Captain Underpants.

His English skills (mostly passive) have apparently advanced in leaps and bounds. Today he looked at a book I was reading and read the title out loud, pronouncing it better than most adult Swedes. (Zero Repeat Forever)

Current favourite franchises: most things related to Minecraft or Overwatch. He plays both games, but not much. Mostly he just likes the concepts and themes. He watches Ingrid play Overwatch, beads and draws Overwatch figures, reads books about Minecraft etc.

He likes hoodies.
He does not like haircuts, or washing his hair.

Swim school, which he used to love, turned into a struggle recently. He disliked the new pool, and the new teacher really isn’t particularly good with children. And, really, I think he was “promoted” to the next level too early, so every exercise was just a bit too hard.

I got him moved down to his previous level, so he’s back in the familiar pool and with a somewhat familiar teacher. Now he loves swim school again.

He loves it when I carry him, especially when I carry him up the stairs at bedtime, and when I pick him up at school. I used to lift him as he jumped, but now he’s decided he wants to climb up with no help from me. Well, I help passively, by standing strong and holding out my arms at waist level so he can hold on to them. He grabs hold and pulls and jumps and wiggles a bit, and then he’s up and clinging to me like a little monkey. It was an effort initially but now it often just takes him a few seconds.

  • His head is full of monsters and weapons. Clouds look like pistols; random shapes in leaves look like monsters; anything long and round is a cannon or a “pepperer”; if it’s extra thick then it’s a bazooka. Not that he has any idea what any of these things really look like.
  • He likes patterns and shapes. There are name magnets on the whiteboard at school (that show which kids are there and which have gone home), and when Adrian moves his to the “home” box, he arranges them all in equal columns, or in the shape of a tree, or something like that.
  • He tried basketball after school but didn’t like it at all.

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 genomskåda (“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 likes doing things together with me. Some things, at least. When I started solving crossword puzzles, he also rediscovered crosswords. When I go out to work in the garden, he puts on his rubber boots and climbs around in the trenches and heaps of earth.
  • Household chores such as cooking and laundry, on the other hand, are not among those activities.
  • He is seriously learning English. During our week in Cornwall he read all kinds of signs, with sort of random Swenglish pronunciation, and made sense of many of them. Texts that come up in iPad games are no longer random gibberish to him. He used to say no to watching movies in English, because he couldn’t understand anything, but now doesn’t mind because it seems he understands more and more.
  • Adrian now eats eggs, which until recently he wouldn’t do. Boiled or scrambled or fried, any kind goes.
  • He likes adventurous climbing. The rope bridge at the Lost Gardens of Heligan was truly disappointing. It barely swayed. He’s suggested that we plant more trees so that he can climb from one tree to another, and then we can hang up rope bridges between them, too.
  • He is looking forward to the start of swim school, and to our winter skiing trip.
  • He can stay up much later in the evening than he used to. Bedtime now happens some time around eight, or even half past. He used to get cranky and hyperactive when he stayed up too late. Now he just sits quietly in the reading nook and reads one Bamse after another, until someone tells him to go to bed. Which we sometimes forget. The only effect is that he’s a bit tired the morning after.
  • He likes to play all kinds of role-playing games on the iPad. Anything with fighters, goblins and wizards, equipment and special attacks and power-ups and so on. But Kingdom Rush remains his favourite.

He is sweet and kind and cuddly. He comes up to me several times a day just to give me a hug. And saying good night always involves giving me big hugs and exactly three kisses (left cheek, right cheek, forehead).

When he gets angry, he likes to go full-on “aargh!” and slam doors. When the first slam doesn’t turn out loud enough, he re-opens the door and slams it again.

He is infinitely talkative. He is restless and full of energy. He likes cycling and climbing and balancing on things.

  • Favourite songs: Despacito with Luis Fonsi, and Jag trodde änglarna fanns med Kamferdrops.
  • Favourite books: Adam Blade’s Beast Quest books.
  • Bedtime stories: Karlsson-on-the-Roof and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
  • Favourite thing overall: Pokemons, as in cards, Pokemon Go, toys, or any other shape or form. He saved up so he could by a “Pokemon Ash Greninja EX Box”, which he talked about so much that even I know the exact full name of that darn thing by heart now.
  • Jealous of: Ingrid’s iPhone on which she can play Pokemon Go.
  • Favourite game: Kingdom Rush Origins

If I have five fingers on each of my fingers…

He still loves learning maths. He’s now also learning to tell the time – it’s easy with full hours and half hours but “quarter to” and “quarter past” are hard, and relating digital times (“17:25”) to them is even harder.

All of a sudden he has started learning English, too. He’s been asking me how to say various things in English. Here are some important/useful phrases for a six-year-old boy to learn (at bedtime, of course, which is when all kinds of questions arise):
I am a boy.
My mom is a woman.
I am tired.
This is underpants.
I must sleep.