Dear Ellie: Happy 2nd Birthday!

by Camille on February 5, 2013

Dear Ellie:

It’s been a while since I’ve written you one of these letters. I’ve written many a post about you, but writing to you brings up a whole different level of emotions, and as you know, when Mommy ugly-cries, her nose runs, mascara smears, skin blotches….well, you get the picture, and it’s not pretty.

Basically, when I write these letters, I have to confront how rapidly you’re changing, and I start longing for the days when you fit securely under my chin, your body snuggled against my chest.


Or your Dad’s chest. He was such a snuggle-hoarder.


Now when you’re in my arms, your once tiny baby feet drape almost to my knees, and your once small hands are busy patting my face….or trying to yank out all my hair. Don’t get me wrong, little girl. I’m of course thrilled that you’re healthy and growing, and I delight in each new skill you master. Sometimes, I just feel like I can’t keep up. Like if I close my eyes I’ll wake up tomorrow to find you leaving for college.

Oh crap. The tears. Okay…moving on.

Today, you are two-years-old, and your father and I can’t help but grow more in love with you every day. In the past 12 months, you’ve started walking, talking, and developing a personality all your own. I’ve tried to update this post on occasion over the past few months so as to not miss anything, but there aren’t enough words or pictures on this planet to capture how amazing you are.


In any case, here’s a glimpse of your life at 2.

Weight: 28 lbs. (A gain of 8 lbs. )

Height: 34 in. (A gain of 4.5 in.)

Teeth: 12

 (You’re apparently not overly concerned with getting teeth; this time last year, you had none. You’re currently working on the bottom incisors, but thus far, there are still a lot of holes in there. You don’t mind showing off the ones you do have though.)



You do a lot of it. You chatter-babble to anyone who will listen, and in the absence of an audience, you happily talk to yourself. While we can’t understand all you’re saying, your inflection, pauses, and tone sound strikingly similar to adult speech patterns, which leaves us often wondering just how much you really understand. (You know those words Mommy says when I stub my toe or burn dinner. Yeah…don’t repeat those. Mmmkay? Glad we’re clear on that.)

Words You Say: 

– Buh-bye! (Pronounced enthusiastically while closing your bedroom door 516 times and followed by the expectation we will look amazed when you return three seconds later.)

– Haaaaay (By which you mean “hello.” It’s so ridiculously Southern and therefore completely adorable. It also makes me realize, that as your primary source of language illustration, I may have more of an accent than I realized…y’all.)

– Bay-BEE? (Without fail, you always put the emphasis on the second syllable, so it always comes out sounding like a question. But there is never any doubt that you know a baby when you seen one. This word accompanies your outstretched arms and grasping, claw-like fingers, and without intervention, a full-out, UFC-worthy, body-slam. We tried calling it hugging, but yeah….it’s just not.)

– Mo (More. And no need to ask “more what, darling?” It’s always food. Is there anything else?)

– ickle, ickle (Accompanied by pulling up your shirt and tickling your own belly. Actually, you say it with this little gurgly-spit think going on that I can’t emulate through type. It’s so stinkin’ adorable that we don’t care that you’ve started pulling up other people’s shirts to tickle-tickle them. They could probably use a laugh, and you’re only trying to help. Your Nana, especially, loves having her mid-section exposed to the world.)

– Cheese! (Of course this would be a first word for a child of mine. Don’t let anyone tell you Mama didn’t teach you the finer things in life, baby.)

And I love how you stay focused here even though Daddy is trying to distract you with nonsense words. Silly Daddy!

– Ank Ooh (Because manners are important. We have a sign to go with this one just in case anyone misses the gratitude expressed here.)

– Moo, Baa, Quack-quack, Grrr, Woof-woof, Meow (Hey, your Daddy is a vet. It’s only appropriate that you’d pick up some work-related lingo early in life.)

-RoRo (Or “Rolo” the dog. After ‘nana for bananas and ‘baw’ for ball, I think this was your first real word, which makes sense, since he’s your best friend in the entire world. Seriously, this dog deserves a medal of honor for surviving you. The poor guy daily suffers the torments of tiny fingers digging into his fur, yanking his ears, and pulling his tail. When he’s napping, you sneak up to tackle him, ride him, or chew on him… just a little. Your father and I try to police you with our pleas of “soft hands” and “STOP eating the dog!”  but we don’t catch everything. And yet, despite all this, he willingly comes to sniff your body for remnants of crushed goldfish or smeared banana. He follows you from room to room, seemingly content to be used as a pillow. And when you’re napping, I frequently find him on the floor beside your crib, stretched out and snoring in his role as protector. If only he’d stop marking your room with his pee, then I’d really love him.)


-MAma, DAdeee, NAna (First syllable always emphasized and LOUD. Yes, we are the three people you unfailingly call by name. Sometimes, while chattering to no one in particular, you repeat the names over and over, like just saying them and thinking of us makes you happy. You also love to go to all the pictures in Nana’s house and point out your MAma and DAdee. Daddy thinks he’s the favorite since you started singing what he refers to as the “Daddy song.” Whatever. He clearly brainwashed you.)

-Waaader. (Water. Whether in a pool, a sippy cup, or falling from the sky, you love the stuff. You’re especially interested in the recreational possibilities offered by high-quality H2O. You are completely fearless around the pool, and watching you splash around was a highlight of our summer.)


-Choo-Choo. Mo, Mo!! (Every time you see or hear a train. And you’re really impatient with my inability to produce more trains.)

– Ah-pane (Accompanied by wild gestures and pointing every time you see or hear an airplane. )

– Col! or Hahd! (Cold and Hot.)

– Soos. (Your shoes. Which are always lost since your Daddy is apparently incapable of putting them in the right place.)

– Assee! (Pacifier. In Kroger, you love to shout “Asseee, Mama! Asseee!” It’s awesome. I planned for you to be done with the paci by your second birthday. You can see how that’s going.)


– Pottie. (Which you confidently announce about five seconds after you pee. So basically, it’s just a timing issue.)

– Tuck/Uck (By which you identify most vehicles. Except sometimes, you say it with such force, it sounds a lot like another word ending in -uck. Oh dear.)

Weird Things You Do:

– Smell everything. And when I say “everything,” I’m not being hyperbolic. You smell all your food before you eat it, of course, but you also smell your shoes, the floor, your toys, other people’s legs, etc. I have no idea what this means. Maybe you have a superpower? I’d prefer flying, but super-smell probably has some cool applications.

Act like a human fountain. You drink a ton of water and then spit it all over yourself and into the floor. I give you a sippy and return to find little puddles all over the floor. Cute. Really cute.

– Eat hair. This one is gross, so be warned. You take your pacifier out of your mouth, rub it on the dog’s back, and then put it back in your mouth. I’ve actually seen you purposefully pick up a clump of fuzz from the floor, wrap it around your pacifier, and then stick the thing back in your mouth. Pretty sure at this point you’re doing it just to watch my attempts to avoid hurling while trying to clean the hairball off the plastic. I will remind you of this habit anytime you bring home a boy I don’t like.

– Snort. Randomly, you’ll just grab your nose, snort like a pig, and fall into a fit of giggles. I have no idea where you learned this, but it’s kind of adorable.

Your Favorites:

– Television: You’ll watch Sesame Street, but you are addicted to Baby Signing Time. We own three volumes, and you ask to watch it every. single. day. Your daddy and I both hear the mind-numbing cheerful songs in our nightmares sleep, and I’ve seriously contemplated losing the DVDs forever. However, when watching Signing Time, you will sit completely still for 30 whole minutes, which is enough time for me to unload/load the dishwasher, get a shower, or eat a meal. And while the pediatrician stills says I shouldn’t let you watch any television, I tell myself it’s okay since you’re obviously learning. You regularly sign the following words:  milk, water, food/eat, more, thank you, please, cracker, cat, dog, hat, coat, outside, Mama, Daddy, baby, airplane, sleep, and love. The words you sign have also been some of the first you’ve said, so I’m beginning to suspect you’re a kinesthetic learner. You do have some other signs, but I don’t always watch the video, so I have no idea what you’re saying. I choose to believe it’s something along the lines of “Mom, you’re awesome.”

– Toys: Balls (Especially the track ball of your Dad’s computer mouse. It makes a wicked-high bounce across the kitchen floor). Pots and pans from my kitchen cabinets. Books (Especially ones with movable flaps, various textures, or animal pictures.) Balloons! But above all….baby dolls and your baby stroller. The baby trumps all other toys.



– Technology: You adore watching cat videos on YouTube, and many mornings, we snuggle in my bed together while you watch  the funny felines. You’re also crazy about the “Wheels on the Bus” app and the musical ABCs.

– Foods: Umm….cheese. You also like Kashi “nola bahs,” fruit, pasta, yogurt, mashed potatoes, and pretty much all meat. You’re not a huge fan of vegetables right now, so we try to hide them in the pasta or potatoes.

 Favorite Places:

The Spray Park

The Zoo


The Children’s Museum


The Park

Ellie at Park


Shelby Farms



Favorite Activities:

– Eating: There is nothing you love more. Food trumps all else in your world, and there is no faster way to bring a smile to your face.




– Bath time! You ask for a bath every night after dinner, and we listen to you about half the time. (The other half, we clean the important parts with baby wipes.) You would live in the tub if we let you. Daddy lets you take baths in our big tub, and you purposefully dunk yourself under the water and come up sputtering and grinning. I’m thinking Daddy might have a new scuba buddy in a few years.


– Testing our parenting skills.


– Being outside. I’m beginning to wonder if you are aware of heat and cold, because the temperature doesn’t seem to phase you in the least. You can be barefoot in a diaper, and the moment the door opens, you’re running full-speed ahead into the 40-degree outdoors. “Ow-side! Ow-side!” Fearless, you prowl around our large backyard for hours, finding treasures buried in the leaves. In the front yard, you head immediately for the garage and grab your tricycle. Sometimes you ride, but more often than not, you insist on pushing it all over the neighborhood. You stop to smell flowers, examine the texture of grass, and occasionally, you just start running and laughing, seemingly amazed at what your body can do. We could all learn some things from you here kid.

– Time with Family






– Throwing Tantrums. Hey, we get it. You’re two. The wiring in your brain isn’t yet mature enough to handle all that life throws at you. The word “No” is truly a bummer, and I promise, we try really hard to take you seriously when you do this a dozen or so times a day.




– Playing Dress-up




– Dancing


– Playing Chase


– Making Messes





– Making Silly Faces






Letting Mommy style your hair….(okay, this may actually be a least-favorite activity, but I’m optimistic for the future!)





Love these curls!

 – Taking your sweet wheels for a spin




– Embracing every new adventure…






– Being beautiful




– And occasionally….taking a rest.




Little girl, you bring so much laughter, adventure, and joy to our lives. The way you face each day with bravery, curiosity, and spunk teaches us to better appreciate our own lives. We thank God for the amazing gift of being your parents, and we can’t wait to see what the coming year holds for you.

All my love,


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