Sesame Street Blog

Sesame Family Robinson – From making Muppets to Raising Moppets

Entries with tag tagapril2009 .

I Dream of Smiles

Curriculum of the Day:   Happy

Ripley smiled at me, I swear.

I know, everyone says it’s only gas when they smile at you at this young of an age. I don’t care, that smile was for me. Ripley has an uncanny way of looking at you with these wide eyes. Marty says it’s almost demonic with her little head and these big, ocean blue spheres. You get so little feedback at this time, you WANT that smile, that laugh, anything to make those 3 a.m. bottles worth it. I hear it and read it all the time, how hard it is during this larval phase because you’re beat and it looks like they’re just staring out at infinity. So yes, I understand I may be projecting a smile at Mommy. This occurred when I was burping her. Since they’re on formula, there’s a lot of burping and farting going on in our house. She let out a whopper. It was as loud as Marty after a swig of cold beer. She looked at me, surprised herself that she had made such a momentous sound. Then it came—the smile. Okay, it could have been a smile of relief sent out into the universe. But her eyes were focused on me. And since I’m a Mom who is beat from those 3 a.m. bottles, I needed that smile. It made my day.


The cat about to steal Ripley’s breath.

Everyone is tired here. Still waiting to snap a smile photo.

The Games we Play

Word of the day: Sneaky   

Ripley and Lyra are much sneakier than they let on. They appear to be innocents, just staring out into space. But secretly, we believe they are well aware of what they are doing. Perhaps their past life personas are still hanging on a little, asserting themselves at the perfect moment. Why else do they constantly catch us as we’re diapering them with a squirt of pee?  Last night, they got BOTH Marty and I at different times. Marty’s was at 2 a.m. with Ripley. A straight shot to the chest. If they’d been playing paintball, he’d have been dead. Lyra got me after I had bathed her and was just about to put a diaper under her little keister: “OH!  Lyra!” She looked at me blankly, as if to say “What?” Like she doesn’t know I have to start again, wiping her cute, little bottom, pulling out a fresh onesie, not to mention wasting a perfectly good diaper. She doesn’t care there’s a recession.   

Good thing they’re not boys, you may be thinking.

Yes, I know boys can shoot across the room. There are supposedly these little cones you can put on their wee-wee to protect yourself. Well, they don’t have little cones for girls, and I swear they can still hit you at least two feet away. We do try to foil their tricky ways, pulling that diaper out fast, lifting those two legs and whipping it into place. But invariably, the one time you’re off your stride, the diaper isn’t completely open, or you have to reach down to replenish the supply, they nail you. Sometimes, Marty and I change them together to avoid any uncovered moment. I’m sure they’re looking for a way to hit both Mom and Dad at the same time. They haven’t succeeded yet. But the game continues…

They may look innocent, but they’ve already got their next pee attack in the works.

Reflections on Poop

Curriculum of the day: Nature and natural phenomenon.

Every year, Sesame Street has an overall curriculum that we try to include in many of that season’s scripts.  This year, it is Science and Nature. This year’s Curriculum Seminar happened last week. The research department brought in experts to help us understand how pre-school children can best learn about science and nature. So, it makes sense that an entire conversation erupted at one point about children’s fascination with scat—a term I had never heard until now. Scat is poop. And as we know, all preschool kids find poop hilarious, along with farting and burping. We try to avoid potty humor on Sesame Street, and we won’t be doing any scripts about looking for animal poop, but it would definitely be a high-scorer in “eyes on screen” for preschoolers.

As our experts shared their funny stories of kids on hikes always in search of scat, I couldn’t help noting that Marty and I are also fascinated with poop. Our lives are centered around it.   

“Did Lyra have a poop?”

“Ripley pooped, write it down on the sheet.”

“Her poop is really yellow, should we call the pediatrician?”

“She’s constipated, put a teaspoon of prune juice in her bottle.”

“You should have seen the size of her poop today.”

“God bless the diaper genie!”

Our laughs during our short dinner moments often bring up a poop encounter of the day.  
I came upon Marty recently pushing Ripley up into a modified plow position to help her evacuate in a constipated moment. Lyra had an early a.m. sink bath recently when she squirted us with urine while letting go more number two. It sent us to our knees in laughter while trying to keep our daughter from slipping under the water. We were like, well, preschoolers, enthralled with nature taking its course.

The scene of many a sink accident.

Puppetry of the Baby

Curriculum of the day:  Parts of the body

We puppeteer our babies. How can we not, with Marty as their father? When they are stretched out on our knees with arms and legs flailing in the air, you just have to snatch them and start manipulating. Funny voices are also a must. I can’t imagine it’s doing any damage. When the girls see some of our baby puppet videos in the future, I’m sure we’ll get an earful, but it’s just too irresistible now. And aren’t we giving them love and attention, physical activity, warmth and all that important human contact experts say are a must? We also, I admit, have put our fingers below their little lips to do some lip-sync. I swear we’re getting some smiles, or at least they’re reacting to getting tickled.

I’m partial to puppeteering show tunes with the girls. Ripley does a smashing version of “Hey, Look Me Over.” I’ve done “Climb Every Mountain” with Lyra as well as moments from “Jesus Christ Superstar.” Marty does karate moves, with them usually giving him a knockout punch. According to the books, they still aren’t even aware of where their arms and legs actually are in space. I’d like to believe we’re helping them along in the journey of discovering their little fists. Especially when they’re giving Dad a good right cross!

Don’t you want to just grab those arms and start moving them around?

Waiting for the Burp

Curriculum of the day: Bodily functions

Did I mention that Lyra and Ripley are girls with gas? After every feeding, their little faces cramp up and their little bodies tense as they strain with the pain. Their tiny intestines must be killing them from the looks on their faces. Sometimes, they appear so pinched I just wish I could give them something, anything. Our pediatrician said we can use infant medicines, but they only help a little. It seems that this is just a rite of passage for a newborn. Your intestines are not always your friend. A lesson we humans have the pleasure to learn from the very start.   

The main solution as all newbie parents know is the burp. So, after every two ounces of formula, the hunt begins. We sit them up, hold their heads and pound those little backsides.    We put them over our shoulder, over our knee, bang, bang, bang—bring on the burp.  At times it’s right there, just dying to see the light of day. Other times, it’s like waiting for Godot. You can pound, twist, lean them forward, lean them back, upside-down, and that burp remains elusive. When you finally put them down in exhaustion, they immediately wail because that burp is still in there. It’s just hiding and causing massive distress to my child. If they’re lying down, they can end up snarfing up half the bottle out their mouth and nose. So, after a feeding you must hold out for another chunk of time while the burp takes its sweet time showing up. This is okay during the day when you want to hang out with your child and keep them awake. But at that 2 a.m. feeding, you just want to put them back in the crib as soon as that bottle is empty and crawl back into bed. However, it always spells disaster if you don’t allow for the burp. Half an hour later, you’re up changing clothes because they’ve finally released the bubble along with a gusher of milk. The elusive burp has also upped our laundry detergent bill.

There’s been many a 2 a.m. with Marty and I in rockers patting a backside with the dogs at our feet. A lovely family portrait I won’t mourn when burping disappears with age.

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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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