The first time we met Anthony, the first weekend we had them for an extended sibling visit/respite, he was so shy and quiet. I’m not sure he said even a single word to us that whole weekend.
Soon after he was placed with us on January 8th, he became very attached to Jamie. Having a daddy was pretty much the best thing in life for him.
He loves books. He loves to look at them on his own and he loves to be read to. We spent a lot of time the first few weeks reading to him. It really helped calm the storm raging inside him.
We we first got him he wasn’t a fan of baths. He much preferred to wash himself using baby wipes. Over time he started to enjoy them much more. This picture was taken seconds before he took that cup full of water and dumped it over the side of the tub all over my legs.
When we first got Anthony he was in nursery at church. He always wanted one of us to stay with him in there. Since we haven’t had in-person church since March, the next time they have primary he’ll already be a Sunbeam!
Anthony has trouble with speech. When we first got him this caused a lot of meltdowns. When try to tell someone you want something, after a while you get really angry that they don’t understand you.
He’s a good helper. He helps clean up toys with just a little direction. He loves to help in the kitchen. He is even helpful with his baby brothers.
He started preschool at a place near us a month or so after we got him. He has been in daycare since birth and loves the structure and learning. He even says one girl in his class is his “girlfriend” (he’s actually quite popular with several of the little ladies).
Over time we’ve gotten better at understanding him and his speech has gotten better. He’s on three allergy medicines to try to help since a lot of his issue is non-infected fluid stuffing up his head.
Understanding him better has really helped with the meltdowns. Sometimes we still don’t understand him (about 25% of the time at this point), but he can show us what he needs now without words when can’t figure out what he’s telling us so that helps a lot.
The first time his hearing was tested, he had moderate hearing loss (that’s when the third allergy medicine was added). He’s still at the bottom of normal, though.
At first, Anthony did not like me at all. He depended on me to feed, clothe, and diaper him (he was attached), but he was very angry that he had yet another female caregiver in his life (he was not bonded). After a couple months he decided I wasn’t horrible. It took another couple month for him to start really liking me and another couple months after that for him to actually begin bonding to me.
Because Anthony bonded with Jamie very quickly, a lot of the non-technical part of caregiving fell to him which was exhausting for Jamie because Anthony was understandably high needs at that point and Jamie was dealing with what the doctors believe was the after affects of undiagnosed COVID.
Sleep is a big issue for Anthony. He wakes often during the night. At first he would cry for 2-3 hours every night. Eventually he stopped crying when he woke up but he was just awake. He’s staying in his bed until at least 5 now 3-4 nights a week.
He had a sleep study a couple months ago and he has mild sleep apnea. The theory is he wakes up from that and is hungry and can’t fall back to sleep quickly (he has delayed sleep issues no matter when he goes to sleep). Even if we feed him in the middle of the night it still takes a while for him to go back to sleep.
Since his sleep apnea is almost definitely related to his giant tonsils and his speech issues are likely related at least in part to his swollen adenoids, he is having surgery next month to remove those so hopefully we’ve got a plan that will help his speech and sleep to improve.
Most of the time Anthony is truly a joy to have around. His smile just lights up the room. His belly laugh is super contagious, too.
He’s a big fan of sweet things. Ice cream, cake, donuts, you name it, he likes it. He was really picky when we first got him, but that is getting better over time as he is introduced to different foods and finding his actual likes and dislikes.
Anthony is less than a year younger than Mayci. Not only do they have practically the same face, they are very close. The first thing they did when Mayci was placed with us was hug for about 5 minutes. They had missed each other so much.
Anthony’s birthday is a palindrome which is almost as awesome as Elijah’s birthday being Ultimate Pi Day. He was born on 7/18/17.
In August, he moved up to Room 7 at preschool. He loves his class, though he’s sad he lost his favorite teacher last month. He’ll get to see her again next year, though. She’s now working as an assistant teacher in Mayci’s pre-k classroom!
He loves playing on the playground. Slides are his favorite thing. He is pretty happy that he gets to go out and play on the playground at school a couple times every day.
When Anthony gets frustrated he doesn’t exactly cry, but rather fuss hums in a very irritating way. When he first arrived he was almost constantly doing that. As the storms inside have calmed down, he hardly does it anymore.
For Halloween he was a skeleton. He loved dressing up both for the parade at his school and for trick-or-treating.
Anthony enjoys all aspects of school. He likes playing in the center and he also likes the seatwork. They don’t push at the preschool he goes to and if a kid wants to scribble instead of trace, that is okay. They are still very little. At first Anthony would just scribble, but he’s getting really good at tracing now.
A few weeks ago, he had to get his blood drawn in preparation for his surgery. He was so good about keeping his mask on and he was cooperative when they actually took his blood even though it hurt. He’s such a good, sweet kid.
Welcome to the Duk family, Anthony Michael John!