I like my time off and need my time off, and the best of it comes in toddler time. I'm just a sucker for the enthusiasm and vigor with which Harriet engages and plays with me. Some time in the past few weeks, I have naturally stopped calling her "baby"---with the onset of walking, we are clearly in toddler territory, emphasized even more so by her enthusiastic adoption of "Yeah!" and "No!" My day ends sharply at 4pm every day (at least when I'm in town), when I go and I pick her up from day care. When we get home, I keep meaning to go try to meet up with the neighbors who have little kids, but instead I just end up hanging out in the living room with Harriet, sitting on the floor while she jumps on me or puts things in my pocket or runs and snuggles and puts things in stacks or baskets.
Little humans are so damned endearing, once you get used to them: they are a microcosm of our grown up world, played fast and open in kaleidoscopic intensity. Frowning in concentration, then laughing her evil laugh, angry and bitter cries when she can't get something she's put in my pocket back out of it, crafty smiles and sidelong glances to see if I'll let her get way with her ambitions.
That period of grace in the early evening, between when Harriet and I arrive home and when I start to make dinner or Ananya returns or whatever else can break our bubble, is my toddler break, and it's something I dearly look forward to.