Last week, in amongst all the Watson-disappearing business, Lydia quietly turned seven years old. Well, I say ‘quietly,’ but there was some singing involved. (Don’t watch if you are completely sick of Frozen)
As Lydia has gotten older, the year-to-year changes have become more subtle. There are fewer large milestones like crawling, walking, and talking; now we have to be more astute to notice the smaller advancements, especially when it comes to mental growth.
Lydia has made many of these smaller advancements when it comes to her friendships and how she relates with people. She is very extroverted and I hope she is able to keep that as the years advance. Her vibrant personality and need for friendships has driven her farther outside the comforting boundaries of home over the past few months.
Last summer and into the fall as Lydia became more comfortable on her new bike, she began to explore the neighborhood, finding new friends along the way. Though these new friendships are a great thing, there were some trying weeks where we all had to find the right balance between freedom and safety. It’s a hard thing to let your petite six year old fly down the road on her bike and out of sight, sometimes for hours.
Now Lydia wears a watch whenever she goes ‘out and about,’ as we call it, and I set the alarm to go off after a certain amount of time. Once the alarm goes off, she has to check in with us at the house, use the restroom, then we reset the watch and off she goes again. This system has worked very well. Lydia gets her freedom and Steven and I have our peace of mind.
After years of missing her front teeth, Lydia finally grew some new teeth to fill the hole. She also lost the two baby teeth on the bottom — one of them we never could find. Thanks to her new front teeth, she can finally say ‘bath’ and ‘path’ instead of ‘baff’ and ‘paff.’ They’re definitely a bit crooked — I foresee braces in her future.
Lydia continued with gymnastics this year. She is still enjoying it and she just recently moved up another level. She is working on getting stronger for all the upper arm stuff she has to do. Every night she and Steven do a set of push-ups together. She’s getting pretty good at it!
This spring she played soccer through the YMCA. Though most of the kids had no clue how to play soccer, Lydia included, they all had fun playing together. Lydia is hoping she can do soccer again this fall.
Due to some exciting circumstances coming up this fall, we took a beach trip this spring to go along with the beach trip we took last September. Both kids greatly enjoy the beach, and both trips were a great success. Both times Lydia made friends with some other kids that were staying at the same condo, and they would play together in the surf all day long. On the trip last September, we took a ride on a boat to see some dolphins. Lydia loved being so close to the animals.
We’re definitely a beach family, and already they’re asking us when, oh when, are we going back?
You would think that Sam, with his penchant for running full-tilt into walls, would be the one that gets injured all the time, but it’s never him. It’s Lydia, always Lydia. This spring she managed to get a concussion from falling off a plastic cow at the McWane Center. We ended up at the Children’s Hospital two days in a row, breaking our no-ER streak we had going. After a lot of Advil, anti-nausea medicine, and a CT scan, Lydia slowly got better. Now she’s the proud contributor of a ‘DO NOT CLIMB’ sign at the McWane Center. Kid-tested, man.
Lydia completed her second year of homeschool this year. Well, I say ‘completed,’ but we’re actually doing some school over the summer, but you get the idea. Anyway, homeschooling is still going well, and this year we added on the subjects of Spelling, Grammar, Science, and History to go along with our Reading and Math. Lydia is a big science girl and she loved every second we were talking about or doing something science-related. This year was Life Science, so we learned about animals, plants, and the human body. She enjoyed History as well, though not as much as Mommy. Math is still one of her strengths, and she did surprisingly well with Grammar.
Then there’s reading and spelling. Since we started school, reading has not been Lydia’s favorite subject, despite her love of having stories read to her. Spelling goes in one ear and out the other. Despite these struggles, we continued to slog through it this year, trying many different ways to help Lydia remember all the myriad phonics rules and all those silly exceptions. By March, Lydia still couldn’t read, and she was beginning to be self-conscious about it.
Little red flags began waving in my head, so I began to research. That’s what I do — I’m like Hermione Granger. To the library! I researched, and I read, and I watched videos and lectures, and I called Lydia’s pediatrician. They directed me to a psychologist, and they in turn, after a series of tests, diagnosed Lydia with dyslexia.
At first ‘dyslexia’ seems like a scary word, a defeating word, but it’s a word that tells us what we need to do. It tells us how Lydia’s brain works, and how she learns best. It’s a word that you probably think you know what it means, but read up on it anyway. You just might be surprised.
So just last week I began to re-teach Lydia reading with a method that is geared towards people with brains like hers. It’s way too early to know if it’s helping, but I have hope. I’m an optimistic person, after all.
So, what’s coming up for next year? Lydia will be an official second grader in a few months, and hopefully the reading and spelling will begin to improve. Lydia might do soccer again this fall. I’ve even looked into a theatre class. The beginning of September and the end of October will be very interesting. Other than that, who knows?
Hopefully there aren’t any more concussions in her future.
Stay off of the cows, lady.