Spring is--achoo!--here, and Greg's sneezes shake the roof and rattle the floorboards. The only upside to his allergies is the tiny voice that follows each explosive emission: Baby C's "Oddbessoo".

Bessoo, too, sweet pea. Always and forever.

Head, Shoulders, Knees and. . . .

Head, mouth, ears, legs, arms, tummy, toes: Baby C's been able to name and point to most of the elementary body parts for a while now. It was time to expand our vocabulary. Baby C quickly learned her knees, so I went on. "These are your elbows," I said, pointing to her elbows.

"Elmo!" she said, enraptured, waiting for her favorite character to appear on her arm.

"No, honey--elBows, not ElMo."

"Bow," she said, and pointed to the bow in her hair.

"Yes, b-b-b-bows in your hair and el-el-el-elbows in your arms. Got it?"

She looked at her arms again. No Muppets appeared, but she was not deterred. "Elmos."

Fair enough. We have fingers, we have wrists, and Baby C, at least, has Elmos.

A Suburban American Take on Semena Santa

Three years ago, Greg and I traded overcast and chilly Munich for sunny Seville, Spain. We wanted to see the Semena Santa (Holy Week) processions and celebrate Easter in good Hemingway fashion with a bullfight. (And get out of overcast and chilly Munich.)

The processions stunned me. Pilgrims walked through the stone streets to the cathedral as they had for centuries. The particularly devout trod barefoot. Everyone wore hooded capes and carried candles that stood taller than me. Knowing that tourism was a motivating factor for continuing the tradition did not stop me from feeling a bit voyeuristic as I watched from the sidewalk.

Well, today I took part in my own Good Friday act of self-flagellation. I went to Wegmans. It’s a huge grocery store 20 minutes away. I’d heard it was wonderland. I’d heard the prices were great. I’d heard it was so huge that it never felt crowded. Umm, that last part? That was wrong.

It was vast, but it was packed. The multi-acre parking lot was full at 10:00 a.m. We ventured inside to find masses of people pushing carts into each other. (Apparently, Wegmans changed their grocery cart dimensions recently, and folks misjudged the necessary turning clearance.) I needed a GPS in that place and had to repeatedly ask for directions.

Bruised and battered, we made our way to the butcher counter. The lady in front of me asked for the two pieces of lamb I’d been eyeing. Figures. When it was my turn, I distractedly ordered, then pried a jar of mint jelly out of Baby C’s grasp. The woman who had been in front of me came back and said, “Where’s my second piece?” The butcher, who had just passed over my package, said, “You wanted both pieces? I just gave it to her.” The lady looked at me. Of course, I offered the lamb back to her, but she very nicely let me keep it. I groveled in thanks and continued to try to check off my shopping list.

Over an hour later, we staggered to the check out counter with a few key ingredients still missing. Baby C had mutinied and I couldn’t take it any longer. If Wegmans had fresh rosemary, it was beyond my abilities to find it. As we rolled out to the parking lot, a car immediately started following me. Fine. They would have to wait through a backseat diaper change and an improvised snack for the wailing Baby C.

A good ten minutes later, I backed out, smiling icily at the car who had stalked us. It had been a nightmarish shopping experience, and I was grumpy. As we drove away, I remembered the kindness and patience demonstrated by the lady in front of me at the butcher counter, and started to feel a little guilty at my parking lot snottiness. All of a sudden it dawned on me that, thanks to her, I would be serving sacrificed lamb for Easter. I can only hope that, wherever she is, she got the last of the rosemary.

A Hypothetical

If a purely fictitious Mother A bathed purely fictitious Baby B... er, C, and Baby C subsequently emptied a bowl of applesauce over her head, can Mother A get away with swabbing the mess with a damp paper towel, or must she bathe Baby C again? These are the questions I ponder as I dodge the flying food.

Boring Isn't All Bad

As I've mentioned, swimming with Baby C is Greg's thing. Baby C LOVES it. Nearly every morning, she wakes up and asks, "Bading suit? Daddy?" Every day except Saturday, she's disappointed when I tell her it's not a bathing suit day, and she's stuck with her mama while Daddy goes off to work.

Last week, fully expecting her to reply "bading suit!", I asked Baby C what she wore in the swimming pool with daddy.

"Pee pee," she said.

Thus eradicating any slight jealousy felt by boring, old landlubber me.