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.

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.

  • I keep being amazed by her English skills. She has reached the stage where she – like myself – sometimes uses English words when speaking to us because there are concepts that she only has English words for, from books or videos or whatever.
  • Knitting, lots of knitting. Easy patterns in thick, colourful yarn, for cool results fast.
  • Overwatch. She’s found an Overwatch friend that she plays together with, almost daily. He is of unknown age, nationality and name, but none of that matters when they can have fun together.
  • Warriors. I kind of forced her to start reading daily, when I thought there was too much Overwatch going on and too little of other activities, and she was happy to rediscover how much she enjoyed this series.
  • She tends towards worrying and anxiety, and craves predictability. She likes planning, and doing things the same way, in the same order, at the same time. If we want to play board games all together in the evening (which means she can’t play Overwatch) she wants to know this in the morning at least, and ideally the day before.

Winning is important to her. She takes games very seriously. Even with social games and board games it’s all about winning for her (whereas for Adrian, for example, the social aspect – doing something together – is much more important). It’s a good thing she’s a strong tactical thinker; she would be a very sore loser. She likes arguing and “winning” arguments, and it takes a lot for her to admit that she might be wrong, or just to let it go.

When she and Adrian have, say, an imaginary battle with imaginary laser guns, she always has an argument for why Adrian cannot hit her. She won’t concede a single hit, ever. Adrian “hits” her in the head – “But I had a shield!” Adrian hits the shield – “But it regenerates!” Adrian hits her from behind – “But I jumped away!” Adrian jumps after her – “But I teleported away!” and so on. There is always another “but” until Adrian gives up. It never occurs to her that getting hit might open new possibilities in the game (for a dramatic death, say) – it’s all about winning. Or perhaps simply about not losing.

In some ways she is so unlike me that she feels like an alien being, and other times I see myself in her so clearly. That way she forgot how much she enjoyed reading because she hadn’t done it for a while is so familiar I even blogged about it. That was ten years ago but I still fall into the same trap occasionally.

Current hobby/interest: knitting.

I notice a certain teenage moodiness. She is volatile, a bit fragile, and sometimes says she feels sad for no real reason. And she is acquiring a habit of performing chores or tasks she dislikes with drama, wordlessly demonstrating just how much she hates doing it and what a heavy burden it is.

Growing up is not easy. Quite often Ingrid says she wishes she was a child again, about 5 or 6 years old, with no real responsibilities.

She is full of Christmas thoughts. She’s quite busy making and buying Christmas gifts, and has made advent calendars (with a drawing for each day) for both me and Adrian.

More homework than ever. And tests to prepare for, which they haven’t had in the lower years. The time pressure of tests is stressful for her, especially the maths diagnostic tests that really have to go fast. She likes squeezing a stress ball or something similar to calm her nerves.

Loves reading Hunger Games (currently on book 3) and watching the movies. So much so that she reads until late evening and there’s little time left for me to read to her.

She still likes me to do that. I think it’s mostly because it’s a habit. Or you could call it tradition, perhaps. It’s something we’ve always done, so it makes her feel safe and secure. She is eleven and perfectly aware that there are no monsters but falling asleep alone in a dark room can still be scary.

Puberty is making its entry. Ingrid’s body is changing. She is starting to get breasts. She is tired in the mornings, which she never used to be. And – probably related to some hormonal changes – she is no longer always warm. Now it’s her complaining about the cold when I’m feeling fine, rather than the opposite.

School has started. Ingrid looked forward to it, but after about a week she was kind of tired of it already. Homework, sitting still in a classroom, listening to boring lessons… Luckily there’s sports class to look forward to, and music, art, and crafts.

School has also already had their “personal development meetings” where the kids think about what they need or want to focus on this term. Ingrid wanted to work on expanding her vocabulary in Swedish and English. She’s borrowed The Hunger Games from the school library, in English – because she wants to read it and not because it will help grow her vocabulary, but it should certainly do that as well.

After school, there’s scouting and dancing. She’s dropped street dance (it wasn’t her style at all) and focused her ambitions on disco. She continues with the disco class she’s been doing for some while now, and to that she added “preparatory competitive dance” at the same dance studio.

We sorted through her wardrobe and then went shopping for clothes because she had outgrown almost everything, and most of the (few) things that fit had too much colour or patterns or decorations. The clothes we bought were almost all plain skinny jeans and plain tops in discreet colours. Plus, interestingly, one or two tops in what I think of as “US sports sweater style”: a word or two, and some large digits.

  • Favourite songs: Symphony (by Clean Bandit w. Zara Larsson), Instructions (by Jax Jones), Look What You Made Me Do (Taylor Swift)
  • Favourite book series: Harry Potter and Warriors
  • Favourite snack: peanut butter, straight out of the jar
  • Other favourite things, according to herself: Overwatch (the game – which she has tried at a friend’s place and now has at the top of her birthday wish list) and sushi
  • A recent interest: IQ tests

  • The centrepiece and highlight of this month was scout camp. And it wasn’t just any old camp this time – this year’s camp was a giant week-long jamboree with scouts from all across the country, and even many groups from abroad. Eleven thousand scouts in total! Ingrid was, from what I can understand, totally unfazed by the crowds and the scale of the event.
  • She has a knife permit and was therefore allowed to take a knife to camp. She last used her knife in Cornwall to pry off seashells from a rock, and forgot to dry and clean it afterwards. So when she took it out after the Cornwall trip, the blade had dark marks from corrosion. That was unacceptable for Ingrid, so she hurried to do all kinds of chores to earn enough money for a new knife before leaving for camp.
  • Ingrid is enjoying Pokemon Go. She isn’t pokemon-obsessed like Adrian: she doesn’t walk around talking about what evolves to what and which one has which attack, but she does enjoy catching new ones and perfecting her throwing technique.
  • She is still reading and enjoying the Warriors books. It’s the first time in a long while that she has found books to really, really enjoy, books that she devours and can’t get enough of.
  • Last month’s Harry Potter posters are out; white walls and clutter-free surfaces are in. And a new charcoal carpet. Ingrid spent almost two full days sorting through all her stuff and packing away things and toys she no longer uses, so we could put them down in the basement.
  • She still eats like a little bird. It’s hard to believe that she can survive on the portions she’s eating. They’re like a third or a fourth of what the rest of us eat. In restaurants she is now occasionally more interested in the adult menu than the kids’ one, but whatever she orders from it, she’ll eat no more than half of it, and then feel bad about throwing so much food away.
  • This summer’s must-have clothing item is super short sorts.
  • During our very windy Cornwall stay she put up her hair in plaits or a ponytail every day, with my help. Back at home, it’s back to loose and lank. She likes the way she looks in plaits but probably just doesn’t remember to ask me. Or maybe it’s just not important enough for her.
  • She’s quite looking forward to going back to school and meeting all her friends again.

  • Summer homework: reading 200-ish pages in Estonian. She’s reading Roosi ja Liisu seiklused. Doing it on her own is boring, so she reads it out loud to me.
  • Favourite book: Ut i det vilda, from the “Warriors” series. Clans of warrior cats. I hardly believed my eyes when I saw the book and thought it must be a joke, but no, it’s for real, and Ingrid is mesmerized.
  • Favourite word: kummaline.
  • Favourite thing overall: Harry Potter. Suddenly she decided that she was super interested in everything Harry Potter. Now half her wall is plastered with Harry Potter posters, there is a wand and a set of “potion flasks” on the bookshelf, her birthday wishlist only contains one item – “Harry Potter things” – and she’s making plans for redoing her room with a Ravenclaw theme. Blue and gray curtains, that kind of thing.
  • Favourite new thing: her new Iphone. The old one was barely functional, so we bought a new (second hand) one. I was willing to pay for a model 5 but she wanted a 5S, so she is paying the difference out of her allowance. She’s paying down the debt by 10 kr each week.
  • Favourite toys: one little cuddly owl and one cuddly hedgehog. The hedgehog has sort of become her mascot. I’m not entirely sure how it got started, but it has to do with her nickname being Iggi/Iggy and hedgehogs being igelkott in Swedish.

It’s summer break and Ingrid is bored. The only parts of summer worth having are all the camps and trips. She knows exactly how many days between the first camp and the Estonia trip (eight), and she has precise plans for how much money she will save up for each trip for souvenirs and such.

The rest of summer sounded nice in theory – no homework! – but now that the freedom is here, she doesn’t know what to do with it. She needs people around her, but most of her friends are also at camp or such, and school doesn’t provide any kind of care during the summer for kids her age, so she doesn’t have anyone. She’s been home on her own a few days. The other days I’ve worked from home to keep her company.

  • Bedtime story: The Iron Trial
  • Favourite foods: drinking yoghurt, Rice Krispies, scrambled eggs, “flat” peaches, peanut butter sandwiches
  • A favourite moment: when we go to pick up Adrian at school or summer care. I stay on the sidelines; she goes and finds Adrian. Both like it best this way.
  • A favourite app: Draw Something, where you take turns drawing things and guessing what the other player has drawn
  • A memorable event: toning her hair pink-purple-blue, mermaid style