By 6, she is spent.
Her long day will be coming to an end. A day of crawling into every corner, edging along every piece of furniture, and intensely examining every object she can get her hands on. She will have wobbled over with laughter, animatedly preached to anyone who will listen to her untranslatable sermons, and danced the dance of a dozen demented head bangers.
She will reach up to me, and when accommodated, wrap her legs tightly around as much of my belly as she can span, and jig the jig of an over excited miniature jockey.
I recline in the chair, and on my thigh, she reclines into me. Together we will flick through her favourite songs, or watch video clips that make her laugh, or simply sit and babble back and forth.
Each equally, and irrelevantly, undecipherable to the other.
As another wave of fatigue swirls around her, she will raise her hand to my chin, and as if it were an apple on the branch, cup it, drawing it towards her. Once there she smiles sleep laden smiles as I place kiss after kiss after kiss on her cheek, her temple, her forehead.
Repeating it over and over, she drinks comfort from this exchange. Not knowing that it charges me infinitely more than it does her.
Lulled deep, the penultimate tide washes over her and without a thought she corkscrews, coming to kneel on my lap. With arms raised in surrender, she rests her face against my chest. Her final battle against sleep is played out in the form of her flopping from left cheek to right cheek and back again, before succumbing to her dreams and the warmth beneath.
The formalities of bedtime that follow seem almost unnecessary, and certainly unfair. On us both.
When by 6, she is spent.