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.

The obelisk sculpture in the middle of Sergels torg had puzzled me for years. It was dull and unimpressive, and I couldn’t understand why and how it got chosen for standing in such a prominent place in the middle of Stockholm. After its cleaning and renovation two years ago, I finally understand. Now it sparkles and shines, and as I understand from newspaper articles, this is what it was supposed to look like all along.

The Gandalf hat, this time on the right head.

Adrian needed/wanted to dress up as Gandalf for a dress-up thing at school. (We’ve been watching the Hobbit movies and reading the Hobbit book, and he is quite in love with it all.) Luckily I found materials in my fabric chest to whip up a last-minute Gandalf hat. Wearing the hat and an elf/wizard cloak that I made for Ingrid some years ago, and a wooden staff from his collection of sticks, he was quite Gandalf-like.

But he hasn’t learned to pose for photos – he fidget and makes weird faces – so here’s me as Gandalf.

For a few years already, Ingrid’s chore has been cooking dinner once a week. Adrian now also wants to start cooking – mostly because he gets to choose the dish, if and when he cooks. He thinks I make his favourite dishes way too rarely. Today we made stuffed peppers.

He really wanted to do this on his own, but for now we’re working together. Just like when Ingrid started cooking, I am caught out by facts and concepts that are totally obvious to me but not at all obvious to a beginner chef. Like, why do you need to rinse vegetables? On what heat setting do you fry things? How finely do you dice the mushrooms for the filling?

Since the family birthday party, Adrian has been playing almost every day with the Gravitrax marble run. Even Ingrid has been joining him at times.

The Gravitrax is much easier to re-configure than older, more traditional marble runs, because the pieces are only loosely connected, so it’s very open for experimentation and “what if I move this here”. And that experimentation is is quite necessary. Instead of traditional glass marbles, this one uses small metal balls, and instead of straight paths where the marble has no choice but to end up in the right place, this one has curved pieces and magnetic cannons and track switches – which make for exciting runs, but also a lot of derailments.

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.

Shopping is not my favourite activity. Some things are harder to shop than others, and some are positively anxiety-inducing. Footwear is among the worst. It’s hard to find good shoes, and bad ones will affect my well-being daily, and they cost a lot so I can’t just buy and hope for the best and throw them out like a piece of cheese I didn’t like.

Skirts and trousers are also hard, and sports bras.

All of these categories have hundreds, if not thousands, of varieties to choose from. Some will fit me really badly, and others will fit only slightly badly, and some might actually fit really well – but there is no way to find out in advance how something will fit.

Shoe shops offer more choice than ever, so it should be easier than ever to find something that fits. And there are specialist sites that only sell sports bras, for example. But their wide selection of goods is presented in such a way that you can only choose by looks, not by fit. I can search for red shoes, sparkly shoes, platform soled shoes, but I cannot search shoes with soft soles, or boots with a wide calf – or trousers that will fit wide hips and a narrow waist.

The winter boots that I finally bought last year didn’t even last through one winter season – both zippers broke, in different ways. So I have to go through it again this year. To my surprise I actually found two pairs of boots that fit me, in the first batch I ordered. I might actually buy both pairs, even thought it feels decadently wasteful. Soon I will be like Imelda Marcos.

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.

Games night at work. Yes, it’s Ticket to ride again!