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.


The sweetest thing he said all month: “I love it when I make you laugh.”

Some wonderfully interesting random thoughts that he has had:

  • What if kissing made your teeth clean [so you wouldn’t need to brush them]?
  • How come the clock’s hands don’t fall down when they are pointing at, say, eleven?
  • Why is it called the Eiffel tower, and what is an Eiffel anyway?
  • You cannot take back what you did, because you already did it. But you also cannot change what you will do, because it hasn’t happened yet.

All these ideas and questions are frantically spinning around in his head all the time. And they all need to come out, so he talks all the time, until I feel like my ears are going to fall off. Anything else he is doing – laying the table, eating dinner, getting ready for bedtime – can take forever because he has so much more interesting things to think about.

Bedtime in particular is something he struggles with. While I read and sing for him, he interrupts all the time, and climbs around in his bed. Then, after we turn off the light, he keeps talking and moving around – and then suddenly it’s like a switch is flicked and he’s asleep. Whereas I gradually drift off, he goes straight from talking to such deep sleep that a minute later I can walk around and drop things and loudly close the door, and he doesn’t notice anything.

Likes:

  • Fidget spinners. (No surprise there.)
  • Words that sound funny. Pikadoll. Puerto Rico.
  • Pokemons. I think they occupy at least half his brain all the time, and all of his brain half of the time. The Pokemon animated series is all he watches on his iPad, and he can tell me endless facts about which type evolves into which other type, and what attacks they have. He is saving up his allowance to buy more Pokemon cards. He throws imaginary Pokeballs at real pigeons to pretend that he is catching a Pidgey.
  • Maths. He now understands both multiplication and division, and can happily inform me that eight divided by four is two. He doesn’t know the actual times table by heart though, so he can only do it with small numbers. But he has a strong instinctive feel for how these things work. He asked me what nine times six is (because he had already calculated that a Rubik’s cube has nine tiles on each side, and six sides) and when I said that it’s ten times six, minus one six, he figured it in his head out straight away. He challenges himself to not use his fingers at all – he said that he sometimes doesn’t actually move them but thinks of moving them instead.
  • Reading Bamse. It’s the first thing he does in the morning and the last thing he does at night. He finds it very frustrating that new issues only come out once every three week, while Ingrid’s Kalle Anka comes every week.
  • Singing bits and pieces of his favourite songs even though he doesn’t understand the lyrics. Justin Timberlake’s Can’t stop the feeling, Sia’s Cheap thrills (“Hit the dance floor, hit the dance floor…”)

Current themes:

  • Talking. Adrian talks ALL. THE. TIME. Every thought that comes into his head, comes right out through his mouth.
  • Losing baby teeth. One is out and another one is loose and is irritating Adrian a lot.
  • Having to wash his hands, which he hates for some reason. He is grimy when he comes home from school, and somehow his hands always end up in his food to a greater or lesser extent, so I make him wash his hands several times a day. With soap, which makes it even more of an ordeal.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars. It’s the best thing since sliced bread.




There is so much going on in his body and mind. And he seems to have so little control over it. And it doesn’t seem to bother him at all.

Even when he is in the middle of an activity, his body has ideas of its own. His feet climb the chair next to him. His body worms around on the floor. His mouth hums or makes random noises. His arms crawl into his shirt. His fingers poke or pull at things.

His mind goes off on tangents and forgets what it was supposed to be doing. What if everything we said “what if” about became real? What if make-believe games turned into reality, and then went back into his head when he takes a break to go to the toilet, and then came out again when he is done? What if he could go back to when he was younger, but not actually become younger?

“I like asking about words and things that I hear and that I don’t understand.”

  • Favourite fruit: crisp, hard apples
  • Favourite outdoor activity: cycling, especially on the trailer bike with me. Adrian is happy that cycling season has begun.
  • Currently reading: a lot of Bamse, and part 2 in the Örnfolket series
  • Good night stories: Rasmus and the tramp with me, Winnie the Pooh with Eric
  • Favourite plushie to sleep with: Yoda

Making faces at the camera

Life is good for Adrian right now. He is mostly happy, and as silly and talkative as only a six-year-old can be. The only things that can bring him down are hunger and tiredness.

He is very sociable and enjoys being with people. Where Ingrid needs other people’s company, Adrian truly enjoys it. When we go to a family event of any kind, he talks in advance of how great it will be to meet them, and meets them with hugs. farfar is his particular favourite.

My brother is currently staying with us for a few days, and even though they don’t know each other well at all, and my brother is quite reserved, Adrian already has him playing Skylanders and building with Geomag.

Building toys of almost any kind are his favourites. Skylanders is a great combination of (a) cool things you can collect and (b) a co-operative game with (c) lots of fighting and not-too-scary monsters.

He eats like a horse. Quite often his portion is the largest one around our dinner table. And then it takes him forever to finish it, because he gets distracted and starts talking and forgets about eating. We’ve now generally given up on waiting for him to finish – we leave the table and start putting away the food and dishes while he is still eating. It’s the least frustrating solution for everybody involved.

As a result of all that eating, he’s grown about 10 cm since summer: I recall measuring him at about 110 cm back then, and he’s about 120 now. Although I think his appetite may be waning a bit now – several times last week he wasn’t able to finish his food, so perhaps this growth spurt is coming to an end.

He’s growing, but he’s still a little kid at heart. He still enjoys the childish stuff, like hugging the ski resort’s mascot, and he still loves it when I carry him in my arms up the stairs to the bedroom in the evening, and down again in the morning.

  • Reading: Bamse, and Maximus Ring. Plus he’s started several other books (fantasy and supernatural thrillers) that all look very exciting, but not gotten very far.
  • Bedtime stories: Winnie the Pooh with Eric, and Rasmus and the Tramp with me.
  • Watching: Ninjago.
  • Shoe size: 32. (We just bought new shoes last week.)
  • Favourite item of clothing: a wooly Gryffindor hat.


Best right now:

  • Melodifestivalen and Sweden’s youngest master chef on TV
  • Harry Potter, still
  • Pokemons, still

Doing a lot of:

  • Qixels. Sort of like perler beads, but instead of ironing them together, you brush them with water and they sort of melt together, so Adrian can do it all on his own. Plus, there is a 3D version which involves a “gadget” to make the layers align with each other, which is extra interesting.
  • Reading. I brought more books from the library, but most “easy reading” books are frankly quite childish and boring, so Adrian has pretty much left those behind already. He’s now reading Maximus ring from the fantasy series Legenden om Örnfolket (“The legend of the Eagle People”), which has got some proper adventure in it.
  • Talking. Especially at meal times. He can spend an hour “eating” dinner. Everybody else is long since done, we’ve cleaned up most of the kitchen, and he’s still at it.

Worst things ever:

  • That there are no fun, cheap Lego sets to be found in the stores. The ones he likes are in the 1000+ krona range, which, I tell him, are OK for birthdays and Christmas but not for just buying.
  • Having to shower. And then, once he’s actually in the shower, he can stay there for ages, playing with a wet washcloth and talking to himself.
  • That he never gets any interesting letters or magazines like the rest of the family. But he’s not particularly interested in any of the magazines Ingrid gets. It’s the concept of getting mail that’s enticing.


This month’s big news is that Adrian learned to read well enough to read books for fun, on his own. We borrowed books from the library and are queueing for some more. When I picked him up at school today, I found him in the quiet room, engrossed in a book.

His favourite book above all is Harry Potter. (Not for reading on his own, but listening to me or Eric read it for him.) I’d have thought him too young for it, but he loves it.

Aside from reading, he likes colouring. But only in school – he never does it at home. But every afternoon at school, I find him colouring. Mostly Pokemon pictures. That’s what all the kids at school colour and draw: Pokemons are all the rage right now.

At home he’s more likely to do some fiddly project. Beading (Pokemon figures), or Qixels for example. He bought a Qixels kit for his own pocket money. He also likes sewing; we just started sewing a Pikachu plushie together.

If he isn’t doing something Pokemon-related, he’s playing with Skylanders – both the video game and simply playing with the figures.

Mostly the Skylanders figures fight each other. So do Pokemons, and so do the Qixels figures, and his favourite books and movies are all full of fighting as well.

Legos appear to have lost at least some of their charm.




Likes:

  • Colouring
  • Sewing (small pillows) and embroidering (colourful lines on waffle cloth)
  • Order and separation. Mixing Legos from two sets is a no-no; Lego guys never climb on Plus plus constructions.
  • Movies with action and bloodless fighting in them.
  • Maths. Out of nowhere he tells me that “50 is an even number, because if you divide it then each one would get 25”. Or that 4 times 5 makes 20.
  • Reading. While I’m reading a bedtime story for him, he starts spelling out some word in the middle of the page and distracts us both. So he gets to read a bit now and again (for example the title and beginning of a chapter) and then I read the rest.
  • Pokemons. They’re almost better than Legos.

Does not like:

  • Criticism. He’s very sensitive to when someone is annoyed with something he does, or even sounds like they might be annoyed with him, and marches off in tears. Especially when he’s tired.
  • Chores. Even the lightest chore – setting the table for dinner – is too much. It’s “I’m so tired” and whining all the way through, even though it would take him all of three minutes if he just focused on getting it done.
  • Movie scenes that are too scary or too intensely suspenseful. He cuddles up very close to me, hides his face, or hides behind the sofa. It’s just too much.