"All about meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!"
Hair: He's got a lot of it now, and it's blonde. It's hard to remember the little bald head he had for so long. Usually, his hair is the first thing someone mentions when they meet him or when they haven't seen him in a long time ("Look at all that hair!").
Teeth: He has a grand total of 8! The 2 top fronts, 2 bottom fronts, and 4 molars. Every now and then it seems like he's getting some more, but we can't see any right now. They're coming in slow and in a funny order, but he does fine with them. Which brings us to...
Eating: He's doing really great in this area. The days of G-tubes and throwing up entire bottles of formula are long behind us. He's smaller than a lot of kids his age (about 23 lbs the last we checked), but he's right at the 50% percentile on the Down syndrome growth chart- right where he should be. His favorite foods are still crackers and yogurt. He also likes bananas, applesauce, turkey meatloaf, macaroni and cheese, beans, etc... (and of course Grandma Marge's lasagna, but he has to go on a trip to New York to get that!). He's a pretty healthy eater- he actually likes things like edamamie and hummus. He's also a big fan of muffins too, though. He is starting to get the hang of a spoon, and he feeds himself things like crackers and other crunchy foods with no problem. He still needs our help with mushy things to make sure most of it goes in his mouth and not on the wall.
Drinking: As of last week, he's down to only one bottle of milk a day, at bedtime. He gets the rest of the milk and water he needs throughout the day from an open cup or his straw cup that we hold for him. I have a collection of about 15 different straw cups- we keep trying new ones hoping he'll be able to use the straw by himself. Every other kid in the world seems to use a sippy cup, but I've been really stubborn about not wanting him to use one because it's bad for the teeth and can interfere with speech. Maybe I should just let him use the sippy cup, already! Speaking of which...
Speech and Communication: Even though he doesn't use any words or signs yet, Anthony really seems to be improving in the communication area. We can tell that he understands a lot, and he's making gains all the time. He can tell you where his nose, head, and belly button are (in case you need to know), and he understands when we are going to do things like go to the kitchen to eat, or take a bath, or put on music. He also knows what "no" means (although he tried to pretend for a long time that he didn't). If we hold up 2 pictures or objects and ask him (for example) "Which one is the cow?" he always smiles and very proudly and confidently points to one of them. (It's not always the right answer, but hey, most of life is acting like you know what you're doing when you don't, anyway!) In general, kids with Down syndrome start taking off with speech between ages 3 and 5, so we think he's doing just fine. We have "speech therapy" through Early Intervention twice a month. It involves cutting edge methods like rolling a car back and forth and looking at books. But we're excited to take a parent education class called "Teach Me To Talk" this Spring- we've heard good things about it.
Getting around: Anthony's finally got that belly up off the floor for good! He gets around great crawling on all fours. He likes to "run" and it's so funny to hear the slap, slap, slap of his hands on the floor all around the house. He can stand holding on to the furniture for long periods of time now, and is starting to "cruise", where he moves along holding on to the couch or coffee table. It feels like walking isn't that far off. But it's good for kids to have a long period of crawling, so we're really not in any hurry. He gets physical therapy about twice a month, but who knows if it makes any difference. I am excited to get him back in a swimming pool soon- we haven't been since last summer, and I think that will be good for his motor skills.
Sleep and overall health: Bedtime is 7:00 and he takes one nap a day for one to two hours. This would be great if he didn't wake up at FOUR THIRTY IN THE MORNING! His overall health is great- he gets a cold every now and then but it really doesn't slow him down. No lung problems, no ear infections ever.
School: Anthony is still at daycare 3 days per week and doing great. He's with the toddlers his own age and even though he's the only one who isn't walking yet, he does everything the others do, including eating meals together at the table and taking naps on a cot. The daycare staff have been great about giving him help as he needs it to be included with all the activities. (But he is probably one of the easiest kids to take care of since he's so easygoing.) He really seems to like school- he gets excited when I drop him off and usually doesn't cry when I leave (sniff). They just had a 2-week holiday break and he seemed happy to go back. His favorite thing is art- he comes home with a piece to add to his portfolio almost every day. They get to go outside whenever it's not too cold or rainy, and he likes to crawl around all over the yard.
Activities and Fun: Anthony always seems to find something fun to do at home, like throwing things (anything) down the basement stairs through the cat door, pulling Arnold's tail, or throwing all his toys into the bathtub and then yelling for someone to take them out. His most favorite game to play right now is Catch with Daddy. He has quite an arm and the two of them can throw his big plastic rings back and forth to each other all night until they collapse in giggles or Mommy makes Anthony go to bed. He also loves to be outside and to go for walks in the stroller, sling, or Daddy's backpack. He loves bathtime (especially with bubbles). We still go to Music Together every week, which is so great. We just started a new term with new songs. Anthony's favorite ones seem to be "When the Saints Go Marching In" and also a song about water, with sound effects (that one makes him laugh). Unfortunately, these are also probably my least favorite ones. On our days off we also like to go to OMSI, get together with a friend for a play date, go to Story Time at the library, or go to see Mr. Ben play music.
So that's the update. He's an amazing, miraculous, fun, funny, persistent, sensitive, and tough little guy. We love him so much!