“Can I hold her?” Squish asks.
Manchild suddenly loses interest in the book he was reading: “No, I want to hold her!”
“I want to hold her first,” Squish says.
“My hands are clean. You need to go wash yours.” Manchild edges his way onto the couch while Squish wipes his hands on his shirt, then drags a chair to the bathroom so he can wash them properly.
Manchild cradles her in his arms, makes sure he’s supporting her head, and “rocks” her back and forth, back and forth with an intensity that says he’s going to get her to sleep in record time – if faster rocking means faster sleeping.
“My turn!” Squish declares as he comes out of the bathroom, hands still wet. And with that, Manchild loses interest in his sister as quickly as he lost interest in his book. He practically throws her at me as he jumps off the couch.
Squish climbs up next to me and grabs his sister before he is settled into his seat. I hover. I move his arm under her head. “Oh, oh! Careful!” I say more than once as he wiggles and squirms and settles in, unaware of how his movements move her.
Her face squinches and puckers. Her mouth opens wide and round, but no sound comes out. “Hi Baby. I’m your brother. I love you, Baby.” He “rocks” her. He kisses her. He wraps his arms around her tighter. “I love you, Baby,” he says again. I relax a little bit.
It’s a little rocky and a little rough. But I think we’re going to be just fine.