Every day starts with the phone. For at least fifteen minutes after she gets up, Ingrid is shut in her room, doing who-knows-what, until that’s done and she comes down for breakfast.

She is very good at managing her own time in the mornings. She gets up as soon as the alarm goes off, comes downstairs in time for breakfast, keeps track of when it’s time to leave, etc.

At school she enjoys the practical subjects much more than the theoretical ones. Crafts, sports, art, music… the one more academic subject she enjoys is programming, which she does as an elective class.

After school she plays a lot of Overwatch. When she has an activity in the afternoon/evening, she skips after-school “club” and goes straight home after school so that she can play. Either she really loves Overwatch, or she no longer finds walking home on her own dreadfully boring. Or both.

Every evening ends with the same routine. Eric and I take turns reading for her. Then it’s lights out, and I climb up to her loft bed to give her a good night hug. As it is very dark behind her bed curtain, she often takes this opportunity to hide from me in some corner of the bed, and I have to find her by touch. Then she briefly pictures the next day and any special events (scouting and crafts on Mondays, for example) so she feels ready for it.

When I go back downstairs, I put on music that she can fall asleep to. It’s always Sheila Chandra.

Ingrid used to be anxious in the evenings, about any number of things, and now she’s not. Perhaps it’s the music. Perhaps it was simply a phase.

Did I say it was cold yesterday? I take it back. Yesterday wasn’t cold. Today is cold.

Temperatures in the Arctic are 20°C above normal, and all the cold air that should be there has ended up down in Europe instead. Plus it’s windy. There were signs posted at the lift stations to cover all exposed body parts and check each others’ noses and cheeks for frostbite.

We took the lift up to the top of the mountain just once today, and those 10 minutes were enough to convince me to not do it again. Normally when I’m out in the cold, I feel it gradually. Now I went straight from slightly cold to stiff, numb and painful, like my fingers were going to fall off. When we came back down we went straight to a warm shelter. Having thawed, we made a firm decision to stay down in the vales for the rest of the day, away from the biting cold wind.

The cold is energy-sapping, exhausting. I didn’t notice it so much during the day, but when we got back to our hut, I just collapsed into the sofa.

The photo – of the family walking off the slope to take the last lift back “home” – is from yesterday. I took no photos today; there’s no way I’m taking off my mittens long enough to take photos in this weather.

It’s Monday and the slopes are noticeably more crowded – we got a nice soft start yesterday before the rest of the winter break crowd got here.

It’s Monday and ski school starts. Adrian and Ingrid have an hour and a half in the morning, and I have a similar period in the afternoon.

Adrian continues to practise skiing, but Ingrid is learning snowboarding this year, which involves a lot of falling down and getting back up. I think perhaps she was inspired by watching Eric – it looks so effortlessly cool when he comes down the slope with beautiful turns.

Meanwhile I am taking lessons to hone my parallel turns. Many Swedes grow up with skiing holidays and by the time they’re grown, they’re all comfortable and experienced on skis. (The majority of my ski school group are foreign tourists.) Estonia has no alpine skiing tradition at all. I first stood on a pair of alpine skis in high school. The few ski trips since then haven’t really been enough to achieve any kind of proficiency. But I enjoy it, and I enjoy getting better at it.

Yesterday was cold, and today was even colder: –17°C. We’re wearing gloves inside our mittens and still the hands get cold, especially in the wind. The platter lifts move at a stately 2 or 3 m/s, which seems like nothing but turns out to be more than enough to chill the face and hands.

Another unexpected cooling effect comes from ski poles. While skiing, you hold the handles, which are made of insulating plastic. On a lift you want the poles to be well above ground so you normally hold them somewhere in the middle, on the metal part, which is not insulated at all. In the cold wind the poles acted like giant heat sinks, instantly leeching warmth from my hands even through all the mittens and gloves.

On their way home from school.

It makes me happy to see the kids get along with each other. Adrian is now old enough that they can laugh at the same things, enjoy the same games and have fun together more than ever before. I never had that with my brother – from what I remember of growing up together with him, he was spoiled and mean as a child. Which may or may not have been reality, but the result is that I never had a good relationship with him.

It’s Ingrid’s turn to make dinner, and it’s going to be pizza. Store-bought pizza dough and tomato sauce combined with fresh toppings doesn’t get you gourmet quality, but I like the result better than what I get at most pizza places.

Gravity seems particularly strong today, and the kids particularly floppy.

I made Ingrid go to the supermarket with me in the afternoon, because she hadn’t set foot outside the house all day. Jokingly she asked if I could pull her on the sled. I was quite happy to, because the streets are covered with fresh snow, and it seemed like a good way to get some exercise – I just know my body needs it.

She must have felt like she took advantage of me, because on the way back she insisted on pulling me on the sled for a while. I have to admit it was a really comfortable way of getting from A to B.

I’m happy that we have snow, and I’m happy that it is still almost light outside at five in the afternoon.

She has her nose in a phone quite a lot of time. Except when she is playing Overwatch or Minecraft or Fortnite. I keep reminding her to do get off the phone/PC/iPad but like a magnet the screen pulls her back, and I can’t spend all my time monitoring her.

I make her read at least fifteen minutes every day, but she likes postponing this task until late at night. She likes doing things last minute. Her argument – that it is better to play first and read later as a way to wind down – makes sense but does mean that sometimes it simply gets forgotten.

She is anxious and worried. Not all the time and about all things, but it’s a constant undercurrent. It seems like hard way to go through life, and I wish I could help her not worry. I hug her, I tell her that things don’t need to be perfect, and that she is good at what she is doing, and that whatever she chooses or decides will be just fine, but it’s still not enough.

Shrove Tuesday and its buns.

The semlor are usually so large that it is more or less impossible to eat them with your dignity intact. Once one of them got whipped cream on their nose, both gave up all pretense of table manners and rocked their creamy noses.