Help with shaping the neck

So I’m knitting my first sweater ever and chose this child’s jumper pattern. I read through it to see if I knew how to do everything, and was good with it. The problem I’ve ran into is where it says to shape the neck of the sweater… It tells me to knit 26 sts and place the middle 8 onto a stitch holder… When I finished the back and the front I did what it told me to which was to cast off 20 stitches on either side so I’m left with 20 out of 60 stitches for both pieces. Can anyone please explain how I’m supposed to miraculously have 26 stitches in this pattern?

After working the front to 32 cm it’s no longer the same as working the back.

[I]Shape neck: knit 26 (27, 29) sts, and work centre 8 (10, 10) sts onto a holder. [/I]

You’ll knit 26 sts and move 8 to a holder. There are then some decreases to work for more shaping in the front.

The cast off of 20 sts both sides is for the back only.

Ok that makes more sense lol. So regarding the stitches on the holder, I still knit them along with the rest of the front?

Leave the stitches just hanging out on the holder for now. Later they’re used to do the neck ribbing. Look at the Finishing part of the pattern, it’s there.

Getting this far on your first sweater pattern is great. It’s going to be really cute.