Ingrid also needs new winter boots. She’s short for her age but her feet are size 36/37 so she’s graduated from children’s shoes to the women’s department.


Ingrid had a mini birthday party with her best friends. Pizza, board games and a movie. And cake and a candle.

I feel like a broken record but… she really is growing up. This was such a big girl birthday party.

But the girls did also have fiskdamm, full of nostalgia and “oh I haven’t done this for years!”

Fiskdamm (“fishpond”) is a Swedish party game for young kids, very common at birthday parties. Each child gets to hold a fishing rod and go fishing over a sheet or a blanket which has been hung up in a door frame. An adult sits on the other side and attaches a goody bag to the fishing “hook”. Or they first attach something else, such as a sock, which the kid then throws back before making a new attempt.


Grade six means more homework than ever, and grades.

Ingrid is pretty stressed out by the whole grading thing. Back in my days, we got graded from day 1 so it was just the way things were. Now grading in the early years is “not done”, in Sweden at least, so when the kids do start getting grades, it’s a big deal. I am looking forward to Christmas and the end of the autumn school term, so that Ingrid can get her grades and realize that (a) she will get good ones and (b) if and when she doesn’t, it’s not the end of the world.


Back from scout meet.


Six pacman-shaped spider eyes and a multitude of viciously sharp teeth.



Sweden has adopted Halloween with enthusiasm, but some parts are more popular than others. Trick-or-treating is very widespread; carving jack-o-lanterns not so much. The kids and I really enjoy it though, so we do it every year.

The supermarket has “Halloween pumpkins” but the choice this year was unusually narrow, and we had to make do with weird pumpkins. Mine was oval; Ingrid’s had a hole in it.

Every year I’m somewhat surprised that the kids come through the carving process without cutting themselves or anything else (apart from the pumpkin).


Ingrid at her desk.


Ingrid is preparing for a major history test, covering the era of the Swedish Empire. She is constructing a timeline across four A4 sheets of paper, with drawings symbolizing major events – births and crownings and deaths and wars and peace treaties and such.


Ingrid on her way to a scout hike.

She moved up to the next age group as of this autumn. Bigger scouts have bigger hikes. Ingrid’s previous hikes have involved maybe a few kilometres of trekking, and staying in a hut of some sort. This time the scouts will be sleeping under tarps – that they will be carrying, along with food and stoves and water. Her new pack that we bought for this hike (the old one was hopelessly undersized) is almost as large as mine! The kids will be out for two nights instead of one. And they will be spending most of the day between those nights walking. I foresee picking up a very tired girl on Sunday.


Ingrid is programming a game in Scratch. It doesn’t always behave the way she wants. How well I recognize the feeling that I see on her face.