Grit Blogs > Transitional Traditions

From Mother to Daughter: To My Big Girl

Elly and dandelions

I had hoped to launch this post exactly on your birthday, Elly, but I will settle for a quiet evening at home a few days late.

In the last year, you have come so far. When you turned two, you were just blossoming into a little girl, with a good vocabulary and very independent thoughts about how to go about your day. Below, you figure out how to blow out candles!

Elly at two blowing out candles

You made it through a summer and autumn here on the farm, learning how to help in the garden and successfully pick eggs without cracking them. You boldly fed chickens and walked in the midst of those birds that are nearly as tall as you are!

You watched as Daddy started milking cows and started calling all our bovines “Char-cow” (pronounced sharr-cow) after the first one we named Charlotte. You fed them hay in the mangers, deciding after time that an animal five times your size won’t hurt you if you are feeding them. (And they are safely behind bars!)

You watched as a baby brother grew into a real person who could crawl and then toddle after you. Much to your dismay, this small boy was able to knock down your best towers and scatter your dollhouse contents within seconds. He did not get to this masterpiece below before I captured it on film. You built this amazing castle almost 6 months ago!

The tower that Elly built

But you lovingly adjusted, bringing him other toys to distract while you hastily built your next tower higher up and out of reach.

Elly and Ethan in the hammock

You developed complex thinking, comparing colors and sounds situations to those you’d experienced before. We are continually blown away by your ability to comprehend events and put two and two together. Or stuff small toys through the button holes of your clothes...

Elly with toys in button holes

You developed a sort of patience for Mommy ... kindly waiting on her to read you a book or “play play-dough”; a sort of adult acknowledgment that Mommy has two home businesses to help run and a house to maintain.

This year, you started on your journey to being “Daddy’s Girl.”

Elly and Daddy

A long time coming, I know that Daddy is delighted to have you accompany him to the barn or to the field or even on errand running from time to time.

Elly and Andy feed the chickens

In fact, this night you are spending some needed Daddy-Daughter time with Pops, out fixing cell phones and giving wellness presentations.

I love that you understand the general concept of words but don’t quite know how to put them into a phrase. Our favorite from you so far came when you were stuck facing the setting sun in a car seat. There was no relief for you so you stated in frustration:

“No, sun! Don’t bright my eyes!”

Every day you make us laugh with comments and phrases like that. And you amaze us with your observations on life. Just last week, we needed to butcher a dozen roosters that had overstayed their welcome on the farm. You are very familiar with chickens as animals and accept the concept of chicken as meat. But when you came in from playing and saw the featherless, lifeless birds being processed on our kitchen counter, a horrified sadness swept over your face. Like a train wreck, you couldn’t look away, and I could see your big heart breaking. Tears in your eyes, you asked with a wavery voice, “Why are the chickens naked and dead looking? Daddy, why are you taking their legs off?”

I admit, we had not intended for you to see this scene. It was an oversight of mine, but I now do not regret the experience. We were able to talk you down and explain how the animals died to give us food and that many animals are wonderful companions and then give their lives for people. We told you how these roosters had not hurt much in their death and that now we would be able to feed people. By the end of the processing you blew me away again. You walked past the table and paused.

“That chicken looks yummy! I want to eat it all gone in my tummy!”

And so, the circle had been completed in your mind. What a bright little one you have become!

Your father would say you have an amazing ear for the beat of music. We have a big keyboard piano that you and Ethan play on.

Elly and Ethan play on keyboard

But just recently you got some sort of background beat going on that machine and successfully added music to the beat for a good 3 minutes. Your daddy actually had to stop what he was doing to be sure it was indeed you playing and not another beat added to the original. We are going to watch this part of you and see what comes of it.

Because you love to sing. And improvise songs. And make up new words to the songs. And take old song verses and make the tune different. You sing stories instead of telling them. And you sing to us.

You are becoming my little gardening girl this season. I look forward to spending much time in the dirt with you and your clever observations (and your willingness to eat anything we harvest together!).

Elly in the garden

You give the best hugs ever! And your small kisses are one of the most precious gifts you give me. You comfort your brother ... and your dolly ... and the kittens. Your heart for people often gets overshadowed by your aversion to the limelight. Or people being in your personal space. (See poor Haiden trying to break through that tough Elly exterior!)

Haiden tries to hug Elly

But those that you know best have gotten to see the soft side of Elly-belly.

You are such a funny girl, too! With faces and stories and the ability to laugh at your mistakes ...

Elly makes faces

Elly laughs with Ethan

Elly smiles on the playground

You are turning into a warm, intelligent and graceful Big Girl. I can’t wait for the next year to unfold. You don’t know how excited I am to be able to share every moment with you!

Elly at three with Becky



Rebekah Sell lives on a small plot of land with her husband, Andy, on which they are hoping to build a sustainable homestead. With a small business and four kids, life is always interesting as Becky and Andy live fully the idea that the journey is the reward. Find her on .