The Setting: Wegman's, Monday morning.
Cast of Characters: Long-suffering and slightly distracted Mom, Sarah; Big Brother, Theo, in shopping cart, Little Brother, Amos, in backpack.
So, as I'm pushing Theo and carrying Amos through the grocery store, everyone--everyone
--coos over Amos. He is the epitome of cute babyhood, even if I say so myself. He kicks, he smiles, he laughs, he blinks his big blue eyes, and the world sighs happily.
Theo rarely misses the opportunity to share the spotlight. This usually involves tickling his brother to make him laugh, yanking on one or both of us, making baby noises, offering disinterested commentary ("He's a happy baby, isn't he?"), or causing the sort of injury and squalling that makes us all the center of attention. (It is his favorite place to be, after all.)
This morning, in particular, Amos and Theo were En Forme
. Amos kicked and played in the backpack, receiving the adulation of some twenty shoppers, stockers, and sweepers, while Theo played the role of Doting Big Brother to perfection.
Then we went to the dairy aisle, where the young man stocking the shredded cheese had other things on his mind than cooing over adorable babies.
I passed him, and he politely moved out of the way.
I paused, a few feet beyond, to get some yogurt.
Theo popped his head around me and said, with a convincing note of authority and expectation, "Amos is a cute baby, isn't he
?" :dramatically-raised eyebrows:
The young gentleman laughed, answered in the affirmative, and cast about for something else to say. (He was clearly at a loss how to meet Theo's expectations.) "You . . . uh . . . you must like him a lot!"
Theo then permitted me to move on. He did ask, a few feet later, in a stage whisper, "Is there something wrong with that man, Mommy? He didn't say very much about Amos."
I tried to explain that some people just don't say a lot, in general, but that was not a concept that Theo could quite grasp.