The Oma on the Bus Goes …


Meridian loves the song “The Wheels on the Bus,” and we happen to have a board book edition of Raffi’s version of it.  The book is wonderful, because the illustrations are detailed, including little “side plots” that allow me to ask her questions above and beyond the actual story line.  Separate from this, Dawn has added at least a dozen new verses, because Meridian keeps asking for “more, more” when the song ends. 

So, now cousin Kaitlynn “on the bus goes ‘arts and crafts,’ ‘arts and crafts,’ ‘arts and crafts,’” and Papi (me) “on the bus goes ‘Ich liebe dich’ [I love you]” and so on, for other family members.

I was reading to Meridian from the book the other day, translating as I went, thankful that the lyrics just happen to jibe well enough, rhythm-wise, in German.  In one of the illustrations, an old woman sits near the mother whose baby goes “wah, wah, wah,” and Meridian pointed and said, “Oma!”  She did this repeatedly.

In response, therefore, I began:  “Die Oma auf dem Bus sagt—” and paused, because, honestly, what does the Oma say?  I figured “I love you” was safe enough, so:  “Die Oma auf dem Bus sagt, ‘Ich liebe dich,’” and Meridian reached out and—this shocked me—pinched my cheek!  It didn’t hurt, but I was baffled.

Well, suddenly it became clear.  According to Dawn’s ad hoc verse, old ladies pinch babies’ cheeks.  That makes sense.  This was Meridian’s way of letting me know that.  The song, after all, relies on hand motions.  Without skipping a beat, I continued the verse and pinched my daughter back.  She grinned at me, which only made her cheeks bigger.

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