Ingrid and I went shopping for scout gear and for clothes. Somehow she has managed to lose her waterproofs and outgrow all sorts of things. How nice it is to be adult and not have to buy clothes or shoes only because you outgrew the (perfectly functional and not even worn-out) previous ones.

I amused myself with my camera and the fitting room mirrors while Ingrid was trying on clothes.

Overnight, things in the fridge grew eyes. Not just the egg carton but also juice bottles, the lid on the butter box, and all sorts of jars and cartons. It was like they were all staring at me when I opened the fridge.

Easter in Uppsala with my mother and brother.

It was just a day trip so the kids didn’t pack much in the way of books and toys, and by late afternoon they were quite bored. After complaining for some while, they ended up playing a version of rock, paper, scissors that somehow also involved a duster and a mixing bowl, and howls of laughter.

There are aspects of my parenting that I wish I could have done better – but I am so happy that I’ve managed to raise kids who enjoy being with each other.

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.

We have a bunch of Lego fridge magnets. Actually we have a whole lot of fridge magnets in general, and our fridge and freezer are constantly covered in a variety of artwork, school schedules, postcards, Christmas cards, theatre tickets and other odds and ends.

But the Lego magnets have gotten a special role. I often use them as visual reminders of tasks that need doing the same day. When the task needs doing, I move a Lego guy from the fridge to the kitchen table as a friendly, colourful reminder. We walk past there so many times during the day that we’re bound to notice it several times.

There’s a Santa figure that symbolizes ordering groceries online. There’s a bearded guy that sometimes stands for haircuts but sometimes also for homework (bearded = wise = learning). There’s a shark and a manta ray that remind the kids that it’s bathing day. Etc.

Adrian also likes playing with them and experimenting with the magnets. He likes the way they sometimes attract and sometimes repel each other. Here he’s using the bearded guy to push the manta ray guy around.

Speaking of children and eating, I find their food preferences quite puzzling sometimes.

Today’s dinner included roast sweet potatoes. (The little curly thing in the photo is a sliver of lemon zest.)

Both Ingrid and Adrian love roast potatoes, and potatoes in general in almost any shape and form. Both also love most sweet vegetables, such as carrots, peppers, and corn. But sweet potatoes – no.

And at the same time they can be quite fond of things that are not at all as “eager to please” the palate as most vegetables. Garlic bread, for example, is one of their great favourites, and I’ve never heard them complain about too much garlic in the food. (As long as it isn’t raw.)

Ingrid is gradually outgrowing the age of general food scepticism and is usually happy to try most meals I cook. She even ate some feta cheese recently, quite voluntarily. Adrian is more conservative – his sandwiches are all still just bread and butter, and I have to coax him to try a piece of tomato.

Sometimes one of their friends stays for dinner, and then I’m reminded just how much I challenge the kids’ taste buds. Whenever another kid eats with us, I know I have to cook the dullest food I can stomach. Even then, I see the other children separate the food on their plate and push it around and leave half of it. “I’m not so fond of this or that.” “I’m not very hungry.”

Lemon merengue pie, for Ingrid’s birthday party.

Twelve eleven-year-olds were an interesting party crowd to have. Mostly of the time they seem so grown. They eat lemon merengue pie instead of ice cream with sugar sprinkles. They have party decorations in silver and black. They mostly don’t need adults to entertain them or to arbitrate in their games, unlike younger kids. There are no tears because a piece of cake fell over, or because someone got a pink straw but wanted a green one.

But there were times when I was clearly reminded that they are still children. Especially when they get tired. When they couldn’t agree on whose turn it was to hold the pen for some part of the treasure hunt, or when someone thought that the others were doing it wrong, they really weren’t that different from a bunch of pre-schoolers – they still needed an adult to coax them through it, so the party could end without fights and tears.

In the evening, when they’ve done their things and run out of screen time and bedtime is approaching, the kids often come to me, looking for company. Often I am tired at that hour. Sometimes too tired to want any company, but not always. So then we do something quiet. With Adrian, it’s often reading. Sometimes with Ingrid as well. Or we may work on a jigsaw puzzle, or colour together.

This is what the hallway looks like when Ingrid has a few friends over.

We’ve trained Ingrid and Adrian to at least put their shoes, bags and clothes to one side of the hallway, so it’s possible to get inside without stepping on stuff. But I guess they only do it because we keep nagging at them, not because they actually agree that it makes sense to do things this way. Apparently it doesn’t bother kids at all to have stuff lying around all over everywhere. Ingrid’s room is the same – there are things spread out over the floor and I have to watch where I step when crossing the room.

Already from a distance I could see that Ingrid was tired from the hike. She tends to get too little sleep on these things – can’t fall asleep, too cold during the night, has to get up for a trip to the loo, wakes up too early… I remind her every time to pack extra warm sleeping clothes, and every time she ignores the advice.

This afternoon she was close to collapsing, physically and mentally. She also insists that she is unable to fall asleep during the day. Well, I got Miss Unable To Sleep to lie down at least. She was fast asleep in ten minutes, and slept until I woke her three hours later.