Happy 2nd Birthday, Ariane Bourdain

By Karen

But who’s counting? Life’s about to get even more interesting for Anthony and Ottavia Bourdain because daughter Ariane turns “Terrible 2” today. I don’t know if they’re throwing her a party, but a combo-bash to celebrate Ariane’s birthday and their wedding anniversary later this month would be nice.

Tony once revealed when Ariane was about 18 months old that she was showing a preference for sour and salty things like olives and capers, so a conventional gooey-sweet birthday cake might be wasted on her.

Not having children myself, I wouldn’t know what to expect from a 2-year-old, so I found this interesting prognostication and tips at Kids Growth. It’s edited here for length and relevance, but the heading alone says volumes:

“Miss Independent”

The 2-year-old is difficult, if not impossible, to reason with, but still extremely lovable. She will assert independence at mealtime, bedtime, and during attempts at toilet training. Two-year-olds typically do not know what they want, except they are sure they do not want to do what you want them to do. She will struggle before going into the bathtub, then once in the tub, struggle when it’s time to get out. At times, the toddler will be a “handful.”

Parenting and Behavioral

  • Playmates are important, so allow your child to play with peers. Do not expect sharing at this age.
  • Limit television viewing. Watch children’s programs with the child when possible. Turn the TV off during meals.
  • Do not worry if your child becomes curious about body parts. This is normal at this age. It is best to use the correct terms for genitals.
  • Keep family outings with a 2-year-old short and simple. The child this age has a short attention span.


  • Do not waste your time and breath arguing or reasoning with a 2-year-old. Long explanations are completely useless. “Because I said so!” should be enough for now.
  • Encourage your 2-year-old to make choices whenever possible, but they should be limited to those you can live with (“red shirt or green shirt?”). Never ask a 2-year-old an open question (“Do you want to take a bath?”) unless you are willing to accept the answer.
  • Avoid power struggles. No one wins! The 2-year-old still uses temper tantrums as a weapon.


  • Climbs up steps alone, one step at a time holding the stair rail or the parent’s hand.
  • Opens doors.
  • Can wash and dry hands.
  • Climbs on furniture.
  • Uses a spoon and cup well.
  • Asks frequent questions: “What is that?”
  • Enjoys imitating adult activities.
  • Most 2-year-olds have a vocabulary of 50 or more words, although this varies (girls speak more than boys)… or if two languages are spoken in the house.


  • The 2-year-old will eat barely enough to keep a bird alive. Appetite is finicky and will vary from meal to meal and day to day.
  • Let your child’s appetite be your guide and let her (within reason) choose what foods to eat.
  • The child can name foods and tell parents her likes and dislikes.
  • The 2-year-old frequently wants the same thing day in and day out.

I’m seeing plenty here to keep Tony hopping to stay one step ahead of his darling daughter. All I can say is, the guy’s got guts to be taking her on at his age.

Cats Working wishes Ariane a very Happy Birthday!

12 Responses to Happy 2nd Birthday, Ariane Bourdain

  1. Bob says:

    Good Luck Tony and Ottavia, Happy Birthday Ariane!!

    I remember my daughters twos very clearly, they started when she was 1 and a half..

    Its all part of the growing process,, as I see parenting, its not the art of owning a person but its the fine art of slowly letting go..

    Letting your little one to develop into her own person is the hard part..

    Happy Birthday/Good Luck


  2. catsworking says:

    As Ariane grows into her own little person, if she turns out anything like Dad (or feisty Mom, for that matter), heaven help Tony. What she eats is going to be the least of his worries.

  3. James says:

    The age of two can be terrible but it can also be lovely.
    Anyhow, it was worse at Rome…

  4. catsworking says:

    Interesting link, James. I’m not sure who did what to whom at the age of 2 there, but they certainly were ruthless.

  5. Adele says:

    I suspect that Ariane is already highly verbal and bilingual. So in that spirit, I say Happy Birthday and Buon Compleanno.

  6. catsworking says:

    Adele, I think you’re probably right, although Tony doesn’t seem to have quoted Ariane anywhere. But it’s only a matter of time.

  7. MorganLF says:

    Actually he has quoted her when he revealed what she says when she is enjoying food, it was the Philippines episode and he discovered the sound was actually a Philippine word, probably taught by her Filippina nanny.

    Happy B’day Arianne, as a fellow redheaded 1/2 Italian I wish you all good things. You have great parents and will undoubtedly life a life of fun and adventure, not to mention you the brilliant genetic mix. It’s clear to all with eyes that daddy dotes on you, just watch out though, he will have extremely high expectations of you and it will kill you to disappoint him. I’m guessing that mom will see to it you stay on track. Lucky kid!!

  8. catsworking says:

    Maybe one day Ariane will Google herself and find all our birthday wishes here. She’ll probably be surprised to find that she’s had a little fan club at Cats Working since birth.

  9. Petunia says:

    This is slightly off topic, although maybe not so much. I was watching a repeat episode of NR (in Los Angeles) and I caught Tony saying something like “It made me cry like a twelve year old girl.” I’ve noticed him making this kind of comment many times. It is an incredibly sexist thing to say–what, 12 year old boys don’t cry? girls are inherently weak?–and I think for the sake of his daughter he should consider what he says in this regard. You would think that in 2009 we would be beyond this kind of casual, everyday, accepted kind of denigration. Have a little respect for females, Tony!

  10. catsworking says:

    Not off-topic at all, Petunia. I have no doubt Bourdain will be thinking twice before using ANY little-girl references because from now on he’ll have to answer for them at home. If Ariane is anything like her father (or her mother, for that matter), she won’t be letting anything slide when she’s old enough to start reading and watching his work. He may find his pwn daughter to be a crueler taskmaster with higher standards for him than any of his previous employers. 😉

  11. Evelyn Trinidad says:

    I am a viewer of ” No Reservation ” As I was it there s also a curiousity in me regarding the life of the host f he’s a family man or not It was satisfied when out of the blue i have read in the net regarding his status! I think it is the way it should be He has a wife and dotter ! He must be a dotting husband and daddy to them! I wonder f they bring them along in his travel! Once while watching, I thought what f he will come to my country and feature in his program some of our delicacies And indeed it happened ! Isn’t it a joy watching on tv something u r familiar with? Well that was what I felt when I saw lechon of Cebu and other filipino delicacies I not from Cebu but I’m a filipina Thanks! Welcome back to the Philippines anytime!

  12. catsworking says:

    Welcome, Evelyn!

    Yes, Anthony Bourdain is a husband and father, and his daughter turns 4 years old in April. He says he likes to take her and his wife along when he goes to nice places where they will be comfortable while he’s working. They were in Vienna with him, but never shown on camera.

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