She’s growing up. Have I mentioned that yet? Topics like deodorants are coming up at home, and Ingrid’s class have had their first sex education lessons at school.

Best right now:

  • That the dentist’s appointment she had been dreading for many weeks is now behind her
  • Planning for and thinking about the ski trip we’ll be making in just a week
  • All the non-academic subjects at school, especially crafts (both wood and textile) but also art, music and sports. They’re doing viking-themed crafts at school now, ranging form casting tin to carving in wood and crocheting a coin purse.
  • Melodifestivalen and Sweden’s youngest master chef on TV
  • Sims 4
  • Zoomer the robot dog that she bought for her own money after saving for months
  • The bean bag she got for Christmas


Doing a lot of:

  • Dancing – street dance on Tuesdays and disco on Thursdays. The disco class is level 3, which is both faster and more complicated than the beginner and advanced beginner she’s done before, so it’s a proper challenging workout.
  • Reading jokes and puns from magazines etc out loud, and coming up with her own puns
  • Drawing cute things in the Draw So Cute style. Half the fridge door is populated by things with spookily large black eyes.
  • Thinking about cavities in her teeth, and eating less frequently to avoid these

Worst:

  • Being forced to do chores such as picking up her stuff, putting away her laundry, unpacking her sports bag etc


Ingrid has suddenly started reading more actual books, not just Kalle Anka pocket. We went to a bookstore and bought a bunch of books together during Christmas break, and now she’s reading them and almost every one is “best book ever!”. The books she chose were all fantasy and (mild) horror stories. Current favourites: Rum 213 by Ingelin Angerborn, Stjärnstenen by Jo Salmson.

Normally I read for her at bedtime. Today for the first time ever Ingrid got so deep into a book in the evening that we missed our story time. She just couldn’t put the book down.

Otherwise it’s the usual digital entertainments: games, YouTube, etc. Current favourite game: The Sims 4.

She worries. She is more and more aware that she is growing up, and isn’t quite happy about it. She tells me she’d rather stay a child and relive her childhood years. She worries about ageing and dying, and about having to decide on a career, and having to choose a university, and getting into university, and having to move away from home. She sees adulthood at the horizon and is anxious about her ability to manage it. I guess it all looks like a burden from where she’s standing.

She is really sensitive to negative events and others’ negative opinions. They drag her down, and she has a hard time getting past them. A disappointment in the morning can set the tone and ruin a whole day. Even when it’s Adrian saying something slightly negative, she’s hurt – and he’s just a six-year-old. When he hugs her good-bye, for example, he finishes by pushing her off and saying “go now!” – and she takes that as rejection.

I guess she is unsure of her place in the world, and of her value. She doesn’t show it much of the time but that low self-esteem seems to be there under the surface.




A trilogy in red, and I took these photos on three different days…

Likes:

  • Christmas, and preparing for it. Ingrid’s mind is full of Christmas thoughts, and many days she wears a red top or a Santa hat. She makes Christmas gifts, counts days, opens her advent calendar package first thing every morning, makes plans for a Christmas dinner with her best friend, etc.
  • Online IQ tests, brain teasers and puzzle videos.
  • Computer games – Little things, Fireboy and Watergirl, Pokemon Go, slither.io
  • Macaroni and ketchup. Soft-boiled eggs. Yougurt and oat crisps. Clementines.
  • Bedtime stories. Currently Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire with Eric, and I just finished reading Nõianeiu Nöbinina.
  • Long hot showers.

Does not like:

  • Picking up after her. Stuff accumulates on all surfaces in her room; she leaves a trail of stuff behind her in every room. Then suddenly she gets a burst of inspiration and spends half an hour putting her room in order and it looks immaculate.
  • Waiting. Which means that when given a choice, she’s always last minute to every activity and appointment, and everybody else has to wait for her.




Reading. Minecraft. Youtube.
Christmas. Hopes of upcoming vacations. Why are school breaks so short and why do we have so much homework.


Ingrid is now 10 years. Double digits!

She is 135 cm tall – the shortest in her class. Shorter than many kids in the years below her, even. I’m glad her school focuses so much on the kids being nice and polite towards each other – there has no teasing at all. Still, she seems to think about this a lot. I don’t think it bothers her, quite, but few days go by without it coming up in conversation in some context.

The tallest girls in the class are approaching 160 cm. And growing breasts and having their first periods. At ten!

Ingrid has probably inherited my genes for late physical development. I was the next shortest girl in my class all the way up until my mid-teens, even though both my parents are average length or above. Then I caught up, and now I’m about average. And everybody had boobs and wore a bra while my chest was still completely flat. I remember being very self-conscious about it.

I am pleased that she can be so matter-of-fact about it. And I’m pleased that she feels she can talk about it with me. I don’t think I ever had such discussions with my parents.

She appears to be doing pretty well at balancing conformity against going her own way. She wants to wear bra tops because the other girls do. But she isn’t ashamed to tell her friends that she still gets a bedtime story almost every night, even though none of her friends do. I wonder what will happen to that confidence as puberty approaches.

Teenage fashion is creeping into her wardrobe. Tight jeans are gradually taking over, even some with worn patches and almost-rips. Tops with cute animals and black long cardigans.

Teenage habits are creeping into her daily life. Mornings sometimes start with chatting with her friends in some app or other, before she’s even come down for breakfast or gotten out of pyjamas and into clothes. After some pressure from parents, her class is not allowed to use their phones during breaks in the school day, but I suspect that they sit and twiddle with their phones much of the time at “the club”.

Youtube is a strong influence. Words like “frickin'” are turning up in her vocabulary.

She likes music, dancing, theatre and film. When the kids got to choose elective courses for this year, Ingrid chose drama. The best part of her social sciences class was making a movie about the Vikings. She’s often listening to music and singing along, and likes learning song lyrics by heart. In her dance club she’s in both a disco class (advanced beginner) and a beginners’ hip hop class this term. The disco moves and the whole disco style of moving her body definitely comes more easily and naturally to her than hip hop.



Likes:

  • Reading while eating, and reading while eating.
  • Non-academic subjects at school: art, music, crafts, sports.
  • Computer game day at “The Club”, the middle school equivalent of after school care.
  • Being responsible for cooking dinner
  • Long hot showers
  • Kellogg’s Special K Red Berries
  • Being read to
  • slither.io (a computer game sort of like Snake)
  • Sleepovers



Ingrid has had her first cavities. She said her teeth hurt. She’s very sensitive to pain and describes even the smallest thing as “hurts really bad” so it is always hard to judge any actual damage. But a dentist took a look and found two cavities – in permanent teeth unfortunately. The drilling and filling bothered her less than I had perhaps expected.

Today was the first day of school. Ingrid has been looking forward to it for a long time. Fourth grade is the first year of “the middle stage” of elementary school, so she gets a new teacher and a new classroom.

She also wanted a new backpack, and spent hours and hours looking for the right one. The old one was “not quite her style” anymore. It’s also a bit too small and not suited for carrying really heavy stuff, such as the loads of books from the school library that she sometimes brings home.

She’s signed up to Instagram. I don’t think she’s posted any photos yet but I’m sure they will come. She likes taking photos of her meals; I don’t know where she picked up that trend.

Ingrid made a Totoro hoodie

Bits and pieces:

  • Saving money for a robot dog. Volunteers for emptying the dishwasher, doing grocery shopping etc to earn extra money. Vacuuming the floors is her favourite job.
  • Really likes listening to music. Turns on music before sitting down for breakfast, or starting to cook dinner, etc.
  • Favourite artist/group, according to herself: Little Mix.
  • Favourite food, according to herself: ketchup.
  • Favourite summer activity, according to me: swimming. At home she was in and out of the pool all day every day, and any time we’ve gone swimming here in Estonia, she’s the first one in and the last one out. Diving, jumping, splashing, swimming – anything.
  • Has started reading a book – an actual, real book, with no pictures, instead of the endless Kalle Anka comics. I bought the book for her, read it myself and loved it, and now she is reading it on her own. It’s The Iron Trial from the Magisterium series.

Carving stuff out of pine tree bark

(I’m in Estonia with the kids. Our days are full and our evenings are late, so I have neither time nor energy for more than a very brief post. And I left all my photos at home on my external hard drive so I only have pictures from the last week with me.)

Thinking most about: summer break! Ingrid has been counting days since mid-May. She’s tired of schoolwork. Now summer is here, she has noticed that it also means that she will need to fill her days herself.

Her current plan is to mostly fill them with sewing and similar crafts projects. She’s like me, though, and doesn’t like making things that are of no use: many crafts projects for kids are about making doodads and pretty things that become clutter very soon after they are done. Now she’s made a jar for memories, hung colourfully painted clothes pins on a piece of string for hanging up notes, made a fake cactus of stones, and some more.

I believe she also thinks quite a lot about growing, or rather, not growing. She’s shortest in her class and while it doesn’t exactly bother her, it’s something she cannot help noticing.

Another thing that occupies her mind is earning money. She has her sights set on a robot dog (a Zuppie) and now wants to save up enough money to buy one before we go on vacation. We haven’t been able to come up with many chores that are large enough to be worth paying for, that she can do on her own. She can’t exactly mow the lawn yet… There’s emptying the dishwasher (10 kr), emptying the washing machine and hanging up laundry (20 kr), grocery shopping (15 kr) or picking killer slugs (1 kr/minute).

Favourite app: Either This or That or What if or some competitor to those. Or maybe several of these. The app asks weird questions like “would you rather have chocolate that tastes like snot or snot that tastes like chocolate” or “what if you had a magic carpet but could never get off it”.

The app isn’t exactly meant for kids, so a few sex-themed questions have popped up. Ingrid has asked about the meaning of those, and appeared to conclude that sex seems rather icky. She asked if we do it, and her reaction was “ewww”. She was also rather disgusted when she saw a crude penis that some neighbourhood kid had chalked in the street. Still so much an innocent child.

Ingrid is also rather innocent compared to some of her classmates when it comes to swearing. Some of them have “swear bans” at home and some sort of punishments for swearing. In our house it’s never an issue. Eric and I never swear, and Ingrid doesn’t, either. She doesn’t like to hear swearing, and even mildly dirty words bother her.

It’s important to her that people should not say mean things to each other. I happened to mention a newspaper article where Zlatan was criticized, and Ingrid’s opinion was that newspapers shouldn’t be allowed to print criticism of someone unless that person allows it. I tried to briefly explain the concept of freedom of speech, the relativity of opinions about what’s right and wrong, but she didn’t really buy it.

Saying mean things is not OK but at the same time Ingrid has no compunctions about using a mean, condescending tone of voice, or phrasing that not-so-subtly indicates criticism, especially towards Adrian.

Favourite song: Galantis – No Money.

Favourite late night snack: Kellogg’s Special K with red berries, with milk. Also, egg in a hole, which she makes herself.


Ingrid loves her iPhone. She reorganizes her apps, sets reminders for herself, takes selfies and other photos, and generally finds a reason to fiddle around with the phone almost all the time.

Apart from the phone, she likes reading kids’ magazines and newspapers. Now it’s not just Kalle Anka anymore but also Kamratposten and SvD Junior. She devours each issue as soon as she gets one. “Newspapers have facts”, she told me. And it’s facts of a certain kind she likes reading – about people, current events etc.

The two best parts of all of the magazines are jokes and quizzes. She likes reading them out loud for us.

In a way she likes fiction books as well. She just doesn’t have the patience to read them. But one of the highlights of each day is the bedtime story. Eric reads Harry Potter to her every other night (they recently started on book 3). The other nights I read Üle linna Vinski.

She has started playing on the Wii again, after a lull lasting some months. She has gotten Adrian to try Just Dance with her a few times. The most recent game is Mario Kart which she plays together with Eric.

Ingrid is getting somewhat tired of school and is counting days to the beginning of the summer break. They have very little homework (mostly times tables, currently) but even that is too much. She wishes she was back at preschool with no lessons and could play all day long. She’s looking forward to Adrian starting school in autumn – and talks more about it than Adrian himself does. With some jealousy she describes how little actual schoolwork he will be doing in grade 0, and how much she has to do. She’s also making plans for how they can walk to and from school on their own, so I can do other things in the afternoons. Perhaps not this autumn, yet, but we’ll see.

The end of the school term is near and after-school activities are also ending. She’s had her last dance class and the end-of-term show, and enjoyed both more than I had perhaps expected. She’s already talking about maybe taking not one but two dance classes in autumn. But there’s also scouting, which she definitely wants to continue doing, and she’s thinking about kickboxing as well (because there’s a club nearby that offers girls-only kickboxing classes, and three of her friends do that). Choices will have to be made.