April 12, 2012 03:00 PM

David E. Steele/Disney/ABC

Full-time daddy duty? Ioan Gruffudd is already signed up!

With his wife Alice Evans off filming The Vampire Diaries in Atlanta, the actor is quickly learning how to be a hands-on dad to the couple’s daughter, Ella Betsi Janet.

“The last time [Alice was in Atlanta], she was there for 10 days. So I had Ella the entire time, playing superdad,” the Ringer star, 38, says during a Thursday visit to the Rachael Ray Show.

“It’s very exciting. I love it. I can’t get over what great company they can be.”

Adding a new twist to the father-daughter relationship is that the 2½-year-old has learned to express herself.

“Now she’s able to communicate and starting to form full sentences and that evolution is just beautiful to us,” he shares.

But, according to the first-time father, the toddler’s way with words has also allowed her to make her needs — and wants — quite clear to her parents.

“She’s very, very strong. She’s like her mother,” Gruffudd admits. “I’ve got my work cut out for me at home.”

To prove his point, he shares that not only is Ella “insistent on not going in her bed right now,” but she also lays down the law when it comes to visiting her dad on set.

Despite the playroom costar Sarah Michelle Gellar has set up for the children, Ella much prefers to skip the socializing and head for Gruffudd’s stomping grounds.

“My daughter comes to set and she’s like, ‘No, no Daddy. Trailer, Daddy’s trailer,'” she says. “She wants to play in the trailer.”

— Anya Leon

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