Help interpret direction

Not very often that I knit a baby cardigan but usually I can figure it out. This is a very cute one that I like to make but I came across a roadblock.

At the point of Separate Sleeves From Body: I have the appropriate number of stitches but when I work the next row (RS) as follows it doesn’t make sense and it doesn’t count the right number.

Please help with explanation. Here’s the pattern. Thank you.
Leaves for Elena

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Did you cast on 3 sts at each underarm when you put the sleeve sts on holders? That numbers add up when the extra 6sts are added in.

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Oh! I thought the co 3 sts mean cast off. So I did the opposite, no wonder it’s not coming out.
Thank you so much!!!