Dear Ellie (or Ellie-NOOOR as you sometimes tell me),
You are 26 months old.
How did that happen?
Every day you look more and more grown up. I know I write that in every letter, but it’s because it’s always true. You are morphing into a little girl so fast that part of my heart breaks when I ask you every day if you’re a baby or a big girl and you answer big girl. I live for the days when you first say you’re a baby to get cuddles and kisses, because as much as you are my baby, I already feel you slipping away into your own life.
As you continuously become more articulate, you have become funnier (although not always intentionally). Some of my favorite quotes since you turned two… (and I’m sure I’ll forget some)
- Yummy Toast (your description of pizza)
- Mommy broke the bicycle (your description of the day after I broke my ankle when I sat in a rental wheel chair and the front wheel turned out to be broken)
- Mommy’s cast….Mommy’s other foot. (the second said with derision as if being cast-less makes it a lesser foot)
- NINA (what you say before you burst into hysterical giggles when I ask you your middle name…you know that’s not it, and that by saying Nina instead of Athena you’ll get us to tickle you and tease you and pay attention to you)
- Mommy’s Stroller (one time in reference to my wheelchair…I quickly encouraged the bicycle analogy as, while funny, I didn’t really want to hear Mommy’s stroller over and over again).
In the past few months, you’ve grown shy around strangers. Originally it was just unfamiliar males, but now you’ll be quiet around unfamiliar women as well. It surprises me because you’ve never gone through a shy phase before, even as your peers and the books all said you would.
You are growing every day. Today you opened a door for the first time, which strikes fear into my heart. The gate obviously needs to go back up in front of your door tonight, or you’ll end up with the run of the house after everyone’s in bed, or we’ll find you kicking our ribs each night. Soon (in a month or two) I think you’ll move into size two tot clothes.
We were going to try potty training you again recently, but when I broke my ankle, we put it on hold.
Ironically, the ankle break has allowed us to see another facet of your personality. While you’ve always been close with me, you hadn’t done much in the way of mimicking me. But when I sit down with my broken leg elevated and a blanket over me, you insist on doing the same. You demonstrate empathy when you kiss my cast because that’s the response you know to give when someone has an owie. We watched your mind puzzle out my wheel chair and my walker as you visually and then used your hands to explore each of them. You elected to call my wheelchair a bicycle after observing the wheels and seeing that I sat in it. The walker confounded you as you circled it, eventually standing with your hands on it with one foot in the air, the way I use it. You identify my cast and understand it’s an owie. When I initially broke it, you wanted to stick to my side like glue, as it was one of the first times you can probably remember me crying. Sadly, it also gave you some of the first nightmares I can recall you having, with you ending up in our bed more than once.
The thing about the break is that it seems like a turning point. Maybe it’s just me finally picking up on it, but I hadn’t realized how much of the world you were processing and trying to make sense of on your own. I’m incredibly impressed, and I look forward to your new revelations (yesterday you burped and then told me you’d burped…I didn’t even know you knew the word burped, much less what it meant).
Your ability to sequence is getting better. You can get to twenty, and the only regular mistake you make is that you count either 15 or 16, but not both. I wonder if they sound too much alike to you. Within the last week we counted to 50 together (I’d say the number, you’d repeat it). Your alphabet is also coming together…there are times when you get it flawlessly, but often you forget the T-U-V sequence.
We’ve begun to ask you regularly what your name is. Depending on the day you say Ellie or Ellie-NOOOR (the way you emphasize and stretch out the last syllable cracks me up). I can be calling you Elanor and you’ll correct me to call you ELLIE in an exasperated tone as if I’d been told thousands of times before (even if you’d told me it was Elanor moments before).
The less charming parts of being two are also part of our lives. I hear NOOOOOOOOOO approximately 20,000 times a day. NOOOOOO you don’t want to get put down. NOOOOO you don’t want a diaper change. NOOOOOOO it’s not time for bed. The problem is that while the whine is irritating, the way you hang onto the “O” and the way you keep your mouth in that shape even after you’ve stopped making sound are funny and it’s all I can do some days not to laugh in your face.
You hate hearing 1 and 2 because you know the time out is coming. If I tell you you’ve been naughty, you plead “NO naughty!” to change my mind. I’d really rather prefer that you just stop doing whatever it is that is causing me to invoke the N word in the first place…just sayin.
I love you turtle