Sesame Street Blog

Sesame Family Robinson – From making Muppets to Raising Moppets

Thanksgiving Grace

Word of the Day: Thankful

Eleven adults and two babies were seated at our dinner table in front of our mismatched plates, silverware, cloth napkins, wine and water glasses (our household has always been more eclectic than elegant). The turkey, vegetable dishes, stuffing, gravy and sweet potatoes were already being spooned out. We were just waiting for Marty to finish with the mashed potatoes. Finally, he took his seat in between Ripley and Lyra’s high chairs. I immediately tapped on my wine glass with a fork to get everyone’s attention. It was time for the traditional moment of thanks. Since Marty was the main cook and seated at the head of the table, I whispered it was his job to say the grace. He humbly agreed and started to welcome everyone to our feast. Ripley and Lyra, sensing the spotlight, joined him. Ripley did her very loud soprano: “Ahhhahhhahhhhahhahh.” Lyra put her thumb in her mouth and began to warble: “Babblebabblebabblebabble.” Marty instantly ceded the floor to the girls and we listened with amused awe. Obviously, Annie was wrong. Grace was meant to be said by our daughters. Once they finished their Thanksgiving musings, we all dug into our full plates with full hearts.

The Macy’s Day Parade – Muppet view 2009

A view looking downtown from the top of the Sesame Street float.

A view looking downtown from the top of the Sesame Street float.

Telly’s own personal uptown view from the float.

Telly’s own personal uptown view from the float.

“What are all you people doing here? Don’t you have turkeys to cook?” sayeth Telly Monster

“What are all you people doing here? Don’t you have turkeys to cook?” saith Telly Monster

Telly and his bottom half.

Telly and his bottom half.

“They’re packed in like sardines!”

“They’re packed in like sardines!”  



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Turkey Time Once Again

Curriculum of the Day: Holidays

Thanksgiving for “Sesame Family Robinson” always has to revolve, well, around Sesame Street. While most families have that day off to prepare for their big feast, Marty has a standing gig at the Macy’s Day Parade. Yes, there are real puppeteers on that Sesame Street float, and one of them is Marty with Telly singing and waving to the crowds.

Marty really enjoys this job. Although it requires him to be at the float by 7 a.m., it’s always full of high energy and good spirits. (Even when it’s freezing cold and raining! One year, it was so cold that we had hot potatoes in our coat pockets.) Back when I still had my apartment in New York, we’d stay over on Wednesday night, often going to 80th Street with the crowds to watch the balloons being blown up.  I’ve gone several times with Marty in the early morning to wish everyone well and wave as the float heads off down Central Park West. One time, a big gaggle of high school cheerleaders jogged by the float and caught a glimpse of Bob practicing his dance steps.  

“BOB!!! IT’S BOB!!!” All these enthusiastic gals in short skirts and ponytails rushed the float to shake hands and take pictures with Bob. It was adorable.

Our cast and friends practicing their moves before the float starts its parade journey.
Our cast and friends practicing their moves before the float starts its parade journey.

Two years ago, they introduced the Abby Cadabby balloon. Leslie Carrara (Abby’s puppeteer) was over the moon with joy.

Leslie and Abby with the Abby balloon and handlers.
Leslie and Abby with the Abby balloon and handlers.

Marty always calls his mom while inside the float so she can watch the TV broadcast while listening to it live on Marty’s phone. He’s very sweet to his mommy.

Marty Robinson at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
That wild and crazy Thanksgiving guy.

Once the float starts down the long road to 34th Street and 6th Avenue and the Macy’s building, I usually go back to my apartment and watch the events unfold on TV. The last few years, we stayed at our friend’s house up on 147th Street, so I’d wait for Marty at a nice breakfast place closer to midtown. This year, with 9-month-old babies, I’m staying home and Marty will just have to get up very early to make his way to NYC by 7 a.m. This is the first year we’re going to host a Thanksgiving dinner on the actual day since we’ve been together. Usually, after the parade, we’d head to Long Island to have the big meal with my parents and brother. Now, with Dad living up here at his new assisted living facility (see June 27th post), everyone is coming to our place to celebrate.

The cook in this household is Marty, so the turkey will have to be ready to go before he leaves. I am capable of turning on the oven at the appropriate time. Most of the side dishes will be made on Wednesday. I’m in charge of dessert so, of course, I’ve ordered pies from the local bakery. As an ex-New Yorker, I’m great at ordering. My friend Catherine and her boyfriend MartyMath (He’s a math teacher, and we call him that so we don’t get the two Marty’s confused) are bringing several classic dishes as well. My brother and his wife are staying over and heading to Cape Cod the next day for Thanksgiving again. I don’t know what they’re bringing; it will be a surprise. Bryant Young, the back end of Mr. Snuffleupagus, is also going to be a guest. It’s a new paradigm with Dad up in here in CT and new babies in our midst. I’m looking forward to hosting Turkey Day with great thanks in my heart.

A Lonely, Lone Ball

Curriculum of the Day: Emotions: Lonely

For those who have been following my musing about the billiard balls, I’m sad to say there is still only one, blue ball left. (If you’re intrigued, you can quickly catch up with these past posts: 9/26, 10/2, 10/15)

There it is, stuck back in the woods, as if peeking out into the world and mourning its big yellow girlfriend, or twin.

I’ve decided I will go into the driveway with babies and a camera over the Thanksgiving holidays to finally ask, “What‘s up with the balls?”

The Passing of Postpartum Depression

Word of the Day: Well-balanced

If you’ve had a chance to click deeper into our “Sesame Family Robinson” site, you might have noticed that March was a tough month for me.  After I gave birth, my hormones went on a rollercoaster dive unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I was a prime candidate for a massive crash. I’d gone through three failed IVFs (in vitro fertilizations) over three years. When I became pregnant with twins, my body went into hormone overdrive. At 36 weeks, I got preeclampsia, which gave me high blood pressure. I failed to be induced, so I had a C-section.   And if that wasn’t enough, I hemorrhaged, so I had to have a blood transfusion. At this point, my body didn’t know which way was up or down. Can you blame it for getting very, very depressed?

Well I did, for a little while. I had twins; I didn’t have time for Postpartum Depression. The good news is there are many enlightened people in the world who have shown us very publicly this happens and you just need to get help. I was on blood pressure medication for three months after I gave birth, and recently weaned myself off the antidepressant I was given to help with the PPD.

I can happily say that it really is all behind me now. When I was in the lower depths back in March, I could only see the dark mold on the tree bark, forget even attempting a forest. It took awhile to get my chemicals back in balance, but I’d been confusing them for many years, so they just needed time.

I think it’s important to know how many women talked to me about their own postpartum depression. Not a just a few women, about 40 have cornered me to say they had some kind of PPD, mild or severe. I think it’s perfectly normal for all women after giving birth and utterly changing their lives to have some major highs and lows. And if you need help, go and get it. No judgments.

I can also proudly say I surprised my hypertension doctor last week. He felt certain I’d have to stay on blood pressure medication indefinitely because of the preeclampsia. But I really wanted off it and let my body try to return to normal on its own. I’ve had the same 110/60-ish pressure since early May. I say, “Ha!” For me, the answer is—exercise. It seems to be the answer to a lot of things.

The trouble is finding the time to exercise!
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Like your family we have twins, boy/girl, that turned three last month. I saw your blog entry for January and it looks like we have something in common, potty training twins. Like one of your girls, my son WILL NOT pee in the potty but his sister was doing well until she caught on to "Bubbie" not trying. I was just letting things run their course but our local pre-schools/mommy day out programs require the children to be potty trained and this mommy needs a day out. Bribery isn't working. Have you had any success?


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How often is the telly puppet renewed or replaced?

Katherine Sydney, Australia

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I read in 40 Years of Life on the Street about an incident involving Snuffy's puppet where a sombrero caused the wood frame to collapse on you and Bryant Young. Did they rebuild the puppet after that or did they just make a new one?


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I just wanted to say thanks for the blog. My daughter Kylie (who just turned two yesterday) loves to ask if we are going to see "the babies." Thank you so much to you and Marty for bringing the joy of Sesame Street into our lives every day.

Kendal and Kylie Montreal, Canada

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I've noticed that there are fewer Muppets and people in an episode now than there were twenty years ago. Does everyone show up on the set for filming days or only certain ones? Who decides who gets to play the Anything Muppets? There are some voices I hear more than others.


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