Baby Alma was cradled into my left arm and Nora gave us a push. The swinging of the hammock almost always puts Alma to sleep.
Nora’s seventy pound body was wedged into Alma’s stroller. (Partly because she thinks it’s funny and partly because I broke her lawn chair a few weeks ago when she made it part of an obstacle course and was timing me to run it.)
Nora was giggling, I can’t remember if it was from the book, or sitting in the stroller or what. But suddenly there was a baby laugh in my left ear.
The first baby laugh.
Alma smiles all the time. She smiles more easily and joyfully than Nora did. But so far, her giggle has not quite been there.
I looked down. Her eyes were closed.
She was giggling in her half-sleep state.
“Nora, do you hear that?” I said, “She’s sleep-laughing!”
This made Nora laugh more, which made Alma laugh more, and now she was awake. It was obvious: her big sister’s laugh delighted her.
Nora crawled in the hammock, licking my arm to make me shriek, which made her laugh, which made Alma giggle.
It was one of those moments — right when it’s happening, you know it will evaporate at any second.
I wanted it to last forever. Like when I was a kid and my mom would tickle me with her long fingernails and I could barely stand it — but would beg for more if she stopped.
Finally, the giggling subsided, with Nora and I lying back, happy drunk on the baby’s laughter.