Audra got detailed monthly updates, each month. Percentiles measured, progress noted, special stickers purchased to give her something special to mark out every step we took towards one.
Ellie gets a hurried couple of blurry photos each month. Lately she's likely to still be wearing a onesie with zucchini bits from dinner stuck to it. Her sister's foot has about a sixty percent chance of being in the frame, because God forbid that looking at Ellie ever causes us, for even the barest second, to stop looking at Audra, too.
At least they love each other.
Ellie's expression is routinely one of abject adoration whenever Audra speaks to her. A half-smile will become a full beam, and then suddenly my mostly-quiet infant is shrieking happily right back at the older sister who is shouting about things she loves (she will often spend this time declaring how much she loves her Ellie) less than three inches from her younger sister's face.
Sometimes, Audra gives her a hug, and Ellie melts into joy.
Then Audra piles toys up until I can no longer see my child and we have to go rescue her from Audra's enthusiastic sense of how one plays with babies, which is apparently to gently suffocate them with your affection.
I can tell you that ten months in, Ellie says "uh-oh" and waves hello and goodbye, that she replies to my repeated requests to say "mama" by stubbornly and joyfully shouting "da-da" at the top of her lungs.
I cannot tell you when she began to do these things, because they all occurred alongside our chaotic race to keep up with the destruction and havoc wreaked on us by the daughters we adore.
I can tell you that she loves discovering new foods but they don't always make it into her mouth, that she has begun purposefully feeding what she doesn't like to the dog when she thinks we aren't paying attention.
If she can't see you but she can hear you talking, she will crane herself in every direction trying to look.
She and the dog routinely lie down on the floor together, back to back, just quietly soaking up each other's presence.
I think he likes that she is quieter than Audra ever was.
I can tell you that putting her in the clothes that her sister once wore, that seemed so tiny then, continues to choke me up a little bit as I realize how quickly I am losing this time with my second baby, and how often I am too distracted to realize how much time has already passed.
I can also tell you that sometimes waiting out her naptime protests before she finally falls into the sleep she so desperately needs makes every single second drag and drag because all I want to do is whisk her up and away to some new adventure.
She likes to sit on the floor to play with her toys, and today she almost started to crawl to reach a toy that was too far away. Then she gave up, sat back, and made angry faces at me, because damn it, toy acquisition and retrival is supposed to be my job.
She has fallen head over heels in love with a stuffed owl.
For all that she doesn't even move yet, I can barely keep up with her.
I don't know how often I'll miss the dates of things or decide that a quick once-over with a wipe will have to replace the leisurely afternoon bath I would have given her older sister at this age. How many times Jason and I will decide that a onesie is a good enough outfit because there simply isn't time to put pants on her.
But I can tell you Ellie Rose is ten months old, and her first word is "uh-oh", she's about to crawl, and her red hair is starting to turn blonde.
I can tell you she is so loved.
I can tell you that sometimes she simply cannot sleep until she has spent a half-hour in the bedroom with one of us, simply rolling around and laughing and soaking up this temporary world in which she is the only child being looked at right now.
(The other parent is busy reading seventeen books, and three at least twice, and most of them are about dinosaurs or sentient animals.)