There is no better way to end what is usually a hectic day at work, than coming home to the madness that my daughter has herself created in our household. Empty bottles with varying amounts of formula (yes, the breast milk done run dry) are littered around the place like poorly hidden Easter eggs. Her toys are lying strewn around the area rug, victims waiting for the crime scene detectives to come and trace their chalk outlines.
Penelope comes crawling after me frantically, humming and groaning more wildly than a hungry mongoose. She's hungry for my attention, and I am more than willing to feed her.
We cram more action into that 15 minutes than Bruce Willis crammed into four "Die Hard" movies. It's non-stop, edge-of-your-seat, side-splitting, gut-busting, depth-defying fun. Whether we're running around pretending to be a choo-choo train, giving piggyback rides, or chasing the dog around the coffee table, there are a thousand laughs a minute.
The crawling carnival doesn't stop when it's time to put her to sleep. I've worked her into such a frenzy, that it's impossible to lay her on the changing table without her rolling off. So we change her on the guest bed in her room. And with every step during the process, she tries to get away, and I pull her back. Repeat. Rinse. Repeat again.
She climbs the pillows as if she's playing a one-baby game of King of the Mountain, forever trying to get to the top. What she really wants to do is look at herself in the mirror. And when she least expects it, I grab her and pull her up, face-to-face with her silly self, and laugh at what a big kick she gets out of it all.
It's amazing how fast she calms down after our wild ride together. We're both sweaty, out of breath, and still high on the laughter. But when the lights go out and we settle in to that final bottle of the night, she knows it's time for bed. And she's ready. She's had her fix, and so have I. Not nearly enough, but at the same time, plenty.
My daughter has a way of making a bad day good, and a good day great, and all it takes her is 15 minutes.