We went for a snowy and icy walk. (Kallhäll to Görväln and back.)

It’s a good thing I have children, who make happy artwork with rainbows and unicorns, and make me make paracord bracelets and gingerbread cookies and watch movies and play Minecraft with them. On my own I’d never dredge up the energy to even get started. I’d just curl up in the sofa from November to March and not do anything I don’t absolutely have to do.

Ingrid has had “home skills” at school this year, every other Monday. They’ve cooked and baked and talked about environmentally conscious buying etc.

None of the baking and cooking skills were new for Ingrid, but it seems that going through them at school made Ingrid more confident about them. Or perhaps it was the simplicity of having that one cookie recipe to choose from, that they used at school. (Ingrid likes cooking her favourite recipes over and over again.) In any case, she’s now baked those cookies several times, both to eat and to give away.

Evening skating at Spånga IP. The small rink appeared more or less unmaintained and was covered with a layer of snow. The large one, as usual, is only open to the general public after 18:00.

Ingrid has been complaining about headaches for some while. I’ve been putting it down to stress and noise at school, because she often says the class is loud and she is anxious about the grades she will be getting, and all the homework she needs to do.

Her anxiety and stress levels seem to have gone down, but the headaches are getting worse, not better, especially after reading or doing other small fiddly activities. It finally struck me that the headaches might be due to vision problems after all. She sees very well both near and far, so I’d discarded that possibility until now. But of course near- or farsightedness are not the only kind of vision problems one can have.

Today she had a thorough eye exam, and while her vision is really sharp, it turns out she has a squint. One of her eyes struggles to point in the right direction at close distances, so she is straining her eye muscles all the time while reading, drawing etc. No wonder she has a headache.

Now we’re waiting for an appointment with a specialist, but in the meantime she got reading glasses that will help the eyes relax.

I worked late today because of an all-day workshop about applied machine learning. (Great workshop, had fun and learned a lot.)

How nice it felt today to have such big kids. Adrian went home from school on his own; Ingrid took care of grocery shopping and cooked dinner. By the time I got home, dinner was already halfway done. No need for me to leave the workshop early or rush home to sort out the practicalities.

The end-of-term show at Ingrid’s dance school. This term she’s been doing disco again, as well as show dance. The show dance group focuses more on performing than the other groups, so her group will be up on stage during each of the three shows, not just one. Which means hanging around at the theatre almost all day. After the second show Ingrid was going stir-crazy, totally fed up with being confined to a cramped room with ten other kids, with not much to do. I was really only there to see the second show, which is the one that her disco group was assigned to, but seeing how down and done she was feeling, I hung around and helped her wait.

This photo is from between the two shows, with kids running free on the stage.

Ingrid is a worrier. I also used to be, although I’ve worked hard at letting go, and I worry much less than I used to.

High on her list of worries: Making the wrong choice that she later regrets – especially when she has to choose between joining the rest of us for an activity or staying at home. Not getting good grades. The looming responsibilities of adult life. Dying. Family and relatives dying. Wasting her day. Wasting her life.

What can a mother do?

Give the child a book on philosophy. William Irvine’s A Guide to the Good Life. I bought it for myself but hadn’t yet gotten around to reading it.

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.