The children are old enough to adore and imitate each other. And mostly, they do.
They play in the bath together, a warm afternoon bath on a frigid day, while I type away here beside them, fat with a third baby. They play and annoy each other, but mostly play. Helen is still petite and plump with rolls and dimples that by next winter will have faded. She plays wildly, decidedly, and with all her heart. Reed has the long, lean body of a young boy, and seems built for long walks and good books. Helen has a way of “cracking puzzles” that frustrates Reed, and the boy will be obtrusive now and again when his sister is trying to do something. But one gets the impression when talking with Reed and flipping through old pictures that, in his mind, life didn’t really begin until Helen was a part of it.
The children now. In the bath. Discussing elephants. “This is a trunk. A trunk.” Filling canteens and pouring them out. Singing a little. Babbling along. Hugging an alligator. “Chomp chomp chop.” The elephant drinks from the canteen.