I run six inches of water in the main-level master bathtub.
In the kitchen, I find the littlest girl left moments before quietly eating a plate of eggs, now sitting in the middle of the table stirring a milky omelet cocktail.
Stripped down and into the tub, I turn to the open closet for a diaper.
Seconds only and the entire rack of towels now lay steeped in the the tub.
Amazing how much water a stack of towels can absorb. Six inches, at the least.
She stands on the edge all pink and pudgy and wet. Lifting her down, I fish for the remaining dry towel and wrap her, then turn to wring water from the soaked set.
Hoping to avoid drippage, I rush them around the corner to the open and waiting washer.
The pattering of feet behind me tells me that "pink and pudgy and wet" is off again and I'd best be quick.
Not quick enough before the contents of a bottle of Soft Scrub is being used to finger paint a leather chair.
Thank heavens for leather.
Thank heavens for bleach-less cleanser.
Hoping leather can withstand the Scrub long enough for a diaper, I grab and nail the squirmer down to slap that sucker on.
About that chair ...
"Mom" Eliza breaks into my concentration as I wipe away with rags, "Can we do a craft?"
"We sure can," I say rushing to add these rags to those towels already in the wash.
Little feet have beaten us to the punch.
The craft cabinet contents lay scattered across the kitchen floor.
We shove it all back inside the doors. No rhyme, no reason, just cram it in so the kitchen's not a land mine.
The small diapered person blankly observes our efforts, hands behind her back.
Minds on our task and seemingly unnoticed, she reveals an uncapped marker. Laughingly quick as lightening, she brandishes it like a sword running down the hall while wounding the wall every second swipe.
The last sword stroke is mesmerizing and stops her long enough to turn it into a genuine spider.
Imprisoning the weapon born hand, I see self inflicted stripes of ink across her bare midriff.
The offending marker hits the trash can and we kneel in the closet and rummage for clothes.
She skitters as my search allows time to hide behind a nearby towel hanging.
I'm game for a peek-a-boo moment but she pulls the towel down with a squeal of surprise before I can even commence the search.
There's purple goop around her mouth and I mentally kick myself for not having checked the other hand for a glue stick gone chap stick.
The glue-chapstick joins it's marker-sword friend in the trash, and I scrub at her lips as the little girl writhes.
Feet on the floor once again, I bend to hang the towel, but she's gone lickety split.
She's already in the kitchen using two retired slices of breakfast french toast from the garbage as "rags" to clean the floor.
My arms swoop her up, sticky and all and I perch her on the edge of the sink.
"Drink!!!" she says with a giant tooth gapped smile.
I'm stunned speechless as weeks of work turning screaming confusion into words of want have just actualized before my very eyes.
I reach for her cup on the countertop aside and she claps and bobs.
"Yank yew," her eyes squint tight as that gappy grin expresses words of appreciation we've tried to pry from those lips time and again.
My eyes sweep to the kitchen clock above her head.
9:17 am on a January Thursday.
A moment in time to neither forget nor to miss.
And we laugh and we clap in a ring-a-round-the-rosy, for the accomplishing promise of a day. No better time to be present.