Crunchy Thoughts

The thoughts are crunchier here.

nine year old taco

Wow. I didn’t think nine would be a big change, but oh lordy. Look at this girl. Look at her!

Now compare her with last year:

Wow. Wow. Wow.

I’m not sure what has changed more — her hair or her teeth. The hair change happened in January when Lydia decided to go for a pixie cut. I must admit I was nervous about it at first. The constant chant in my head on the way to the beauty parlor was, “It’s only hair; it can grow back!” We quickly learned that Lydia can totally rock a pixie cut, even more so when the color pink is introduced.

Lydia’s teeth began to go through their transformation last summer. She has had an overbite since she was very young, which puts her front teeth and lips in a precarious position. Remember, this is the kid that always ends up in the ER. She busted her two front baby teeth and had to have them removed, and she once ended up with stitches in her lip. Now that more of her permanent teeth have come in, the orthodontist said it was GO time and fitted Lydia up with headgear.

Now, I never had headgear as a kid, but my sister did, and I remember the nightly howls of pain the first few nights. I prepared myself for more of the same with Lydia, but she was an absolute champ. The only tears came when they put the metal brackets around her back molars. It also helps that headgear can come in outrageous colors now. The color pink can cure many ills.

Right after Christmas, braces were added on the front teeth, and in six short months they were off, leaving Lydia with a straight, gap-less smile. I still can’t get over how quick the change was. She is still wearing her headgear and the orthodontist predicts more braces in her future, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.

There have been changes on the school front as well. No worries — it’s all good changes! Lydia completed third grade at the end of May. It was a great school year for her. I admit I was a bit worried when we started — a lot of literature suggests that third grade is when things can go south for a dyslexic kid. You switch from “learning to read” to “reading to learn.” This style change was very evident, especially in math where word problems have increased exponentially.

Beginning last fall, Lydia began to take a low dose of medication for ADHD. She has the Space Cadet/Inattentive variety, so it hasn’t been a huge issue until last summer. Treating her ADHD has helped SO MUCH in her schoolwork! She is able to concentrate now, and can really think without being constantly distracted. Even Crunchy the Math Cat can’t take her eyes away from her work.

And reading. Oh my gosh, the improvements this child had made in reading is incredible. I have fretted about reading since Lydia was four years old, and now she’s doing it, she’s really reading, even for fun. Is she still dyslexic? Of course she is; she always will be. Does she still struggle with it? Absolutely. Reading is still one of the hardest things for her. But she does it. She doesn’t hate it. She’s proud of herself and how much she has improved. It’s more than I could ever have asked for.

And thank goodness for the sudden popularity of kid-friendly graphic novels!

Lydia’s extracurricular activities have varied a bit over the course of the year. In fall we dropped gymnastics for a while. Lydia had been taking gymnastics since she was four. She decided if she missed it, we could sign back up . . . but she didn’t miss it. And honestly, I didn’t miss it, either. So that left room for . . .

Vocal lessons. Lydia started taking vocal lessons at the same school where Sam takes drums. She likes this much more than piano or gymnastics, and we have continued it throughout the entire year. She even sang in a recital in March! Bless Lydia’s little dyslexic heart, finding rhythm in songs is so hard for her. Just as she struggles with hearing syllables in words, finding the beat in music is tough. She still got up on that stage and sang for that large audience! It’s more than I would care to do.

Lydia did continue to participate in soccer, both in fall and spring. Lydia’s soccer-playing ability improved thanks to the ADHD medication. This year there were less on-field conversations and cartwheels and more offensive plays. This next fall she wants to play again. This time she will move up to the 9-10 year old group. Wow!

We were able to take a few trips over the year. First, we got back on our regularly-scheduled fall beach trip. Lydia was very happy to play in the waves, look for shells, and make friends while her brother dug in the sand. She made great friends with a girl from Georgia that week, and afterwards they became pen pals and even Facetimed together.

We also visited Louisville and Chattanooga in the spring. Lydia was delighted by all the animals at the Louisville Zoo and she also enjoyed playing board games with Ken and Lisa. In Chattanooga, Lydia took her sweet time observing every little thing at the Tennessee Aquarium, even reading the little plaques of information by all the tanks.

Though Lydia’s interests are nowhere near as intense as Sam’s, she does have her passions. One of her biggest continues to be all things art and coloring. Lydia is real big on those adult coloring books with the little details. I’m so glad these are a popular thing — she’s got coloring books in all her favorite flavors like cats, unicorns, and dresses.

Lydia also enjoys building with LEGOs. She will have intense LEGO sessions in her room where that is all she does for hours and hours. She recently discovered Steven’s old Technic LEGOs and she is really keen on them.

Whether she is coloring or building with LEGOs, Lydia will be listening to audiobooks. Though Lydia can now read, her comprehension level is much higher than her reading level, so audiobooks are a godsend for her. For a long time she listened to the Harry Potter books over and over . . . and over . . . and over. Later on she discovered the wonderful world of Percy Jackson and all the Rick Riordian books. She is still immersed in that world.

In fact, Lydia’s party was Percy Jackson-themed, complete with water. After all, Percy is Poseidon’s son.

Lydia is changing so fast. It’s been an amazing thing to behold. A short time ago she was a toddler.

Now I’m looking into the eyes of a girl on the cusp of her teenage years.

Oh man, I hope I’m ready for this.

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