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`SESAME' GREETS GABRIELA

America's preschoolers have a new sister: Gabriela, born Friday to Luis and Maria on "Sesame Street."

The blessed event, eagerly awaited throughout the television series' 20th season, was fairly uneventful. Muppet and human characters gathered around Maria's bed to be introduced to the infant."Welcome to Sesame Street and the world!" said Big Bird.

Not everything went smoothly. When it was time to go to the hospital for the delivery, Luis and Maria found that their car had been towed. Oscar the Grouch drove them to the hospital, occasioning much hand-wringing on his part.

"I'm a grouch," he explained, and grouches are not supposed to do nice things or be happy about events like the birth of a baby.

The marriage of Maria and Luis was the finale for last season. Sonia Manzano, who plays Maria, became a mother 13 months ago, and her real-life daughter will eventually play her television daughter.