I walked down the stairs carrying him in my arms. A baby only five months old, and yet almost the same weight as the boy. He was heavy in that floppy way a baby is before he is able to sit up. His neck was strong but his back still wasn't straight.
The boy stood at the bottom of the stairs, pointing at me from the other side of the baby gate. Do you see a baby? I asked him. Ye-ah! he said. Do you want to hold the baby? I asked him. Ye-ah! he said.
The last time I held a baby the boy cried and cried. I imagined he was thinking Mom, what are you doing? I am your baby! This time he was fine with me holding this baby on my lap. But he was happier when he was holding the baby.
I placed the baby on the boy's lap and he wrapped his arms around him. He gave him a hug. That lasted for half a minute before the girl was demanding her turn. I placed the baby on the girl's lap and she wrapped her arms around him. She rocked him from side to side and started to sing. Until her brother demanded another turn.
Back and forth the baby went from lap to lap. He was hugged and kissed and rocked. The whole time he smiled. The kids were thrilled to have a real live baby to play with.
I kept wondering where my babies went.