Sesame Street Blog

Sesame Family Robinson – From making Muppets to Raising Moppets

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Hospital Days

Number of the day: 4

Time to inducing—4 days and counting.   

Meanwhile, entertaining myself in the hospital is not easy. The TV is so far away, it gives me a headache. The food? Lacking in all ways, especially since Marty has been cooking such wonderful meals for me. I also keep wondering why they’re giving me cookies and pudding for dessert when I have gestational diabetes. I have a small cold which isn’t helpful, making me cough and feel lousy. Nurses come and go, changing shifts, which makes the entire event feel like purgatory. I try to keep people laughing to entertain myself. When Marty is here, we have fun making silly, hospital movies with Telly Monster. Staff keep visiting our room to meet the “Sesame Street” people, which is lovely sometimes and interrupts shots other times.   Thank goodness for the computer. I write this blog and write skits to keep my mind occupied when I’m alone. I’m about to become a mother and it is a bit overwhelming. I’m afraid of what’s coming up, wishing I could somehow go back to life without these strange creatures inside me that are about to utterly alter my existence. I’m in no-babies-yet land as time ticks onward. 5-4-3-2-1—ACTION!

Grandpa, Uncle Jamey and Aunt Catherine

Curriculum of the day – Pretending

I had a tough day. My dad, my brother Jamey, and his wife Catherine came for their first visit to meet the babies and check out an assisted living facility. My dad had a massive stroke 20 years ago and is still with us. My mother passed away last May, leaving Jamey and I with the responsibility of my dad’s care. I’ve been caretaking and paying their bills for years since my mom also had issues which kept her from running the household. Caring for your elderly parents is like having yet another job, along with my job as mother, Sesame Street writer … and let’s not forget, wife and family bill-payer. Now, try doing all those jobs on a hormone rollercoaster, no wonder I want to crawl into bed and stay there. I read recently that people such as myself are called “The Sandwich Generation.”  We’re sandwiched with the care of our children and our parents. Some people must be pastrami on rye; I’m more of a ham and cheese with mayo on white bread.
I pretended everything was fine. I curled my hair. Actually washed. Family Robinson was all ready when Jamey and Catherine arrived with Dad. It was lovely to put the girls in Dad’s arms. Watch him get all teary. It’s a shame that my Mom didn’t live to see them.

We left the girls with Marty and went to look at a nearby assisted living facility for Dad. It seemed like a big hotel. I could tell Dad wasn’t crazy about it. However, this is a route we must follow since my brother and I can’t keep trying to take care of his house on Long Island. He has someone coming in everyday for all his meals and to put him to bed. Still, it’s dangerous to leave him without someone for so many hours a day. We can’t afford more care and Jamey and I can’t keep going out there all the time to clean up the messes, grocery shop, pay his caregiver, etc. Hard stuff.

I started to get vertigo in the facility and kept sitting down. Is it hormones? Blood pressure? I’m not sure if they noticed I’m such a mess. I was grateful to wave good-bye at the end of the visit and crawl into bed.

Uncle and Aunty with a babe.
Uncle and Aunty with a babe.

Grandpa and baby.
Grandpa and baby.

Picture of Annie's Dad.
It’s great to see Dad looking so happy.

Blog Meeting

Curriculum of the Day:  Teamwork

I have to take a moment of pause to reflect on today’s date. It’s hard to believe that eight years have gone by since my friend Barbara and I started walking up Broadway, joining the massive crowds migrating north from downtown. We got to 112th and the Bank Street School to find out Barbara’s husband Steve had already picked-up their daughter safely several hours earlier. We went to a Mexican Restaurant and drowned ourselves in margaritas while watching Giuliani on CNN. They still didn’t know how many people had perished and they were throwing out huge numbers—20,000, I think—of potential deaths. Giuliani said something about the losses being unfathomable. Even 3,000 are unfathomable.

I went to the Red Cross the next day and got my gig driving the van to and from Ground Zero for the next few weeks. Another story to be told over margaritas.

We met with Sesame Digital Media today. They know SO much more about the Internet and the blog world it makes me feel like a doofus.    

Marty just found out that Telly had been mentioned on the Dooce Blog back on August 14th. She talked about how her family loves his neurotic ways. We were all very proud that dear, nutty Telly Monster made it onto her site since the whole team is a big fan. 

Before My Very Eyes

Word of the Day:  Awe

I feel like I blinked and the girls are crawling and pulling themselves up.

I’ve been very good about letting go of my developmental worries lately. I haven’t even read the chapter on 8-month-olds in the baby book yet. So, it was quite a surprise to see them take such huge leaps in such a short amount of time.   

They also became extremely skilled at crawling over our pillow barriers on the floor in the TV room. A new play area solution was needed fast, so we created the play corral.

The girls in deep play concentration

The girls in deep play concentration.

With several playpen fences and alphabet pads, they can now have crawling races and pull themselves up on something I trust won’t fall over on them. Until we finish shooting and have time for serious baby-proofing, this feels safe for all concerned.

 Ripley standing.

"Ripley, look, I'm standing!"

We find we just crawl around on the pads with them, pointing out alphabet letters along the way. I even do my crunches while the girls pile on top of me.  

 Babies on the boppies.
The boppies still come in handy.

What is so astonishing is we didn’t teach them to put one knee in front of the other, or to grab onto an object and haul themselves upward. It just happened. The great universal mother seems be saying to me, “Love them with all your heart, feed them well (my kids eat MUCH better than I do), and get out of their way.”


Invasion of the Mommy Bloggers

Curriculum of the Day: Sharing

They came, they saw, they blogged about it.

Twenty mommy, aunt, father and uncle bloggers came to Sesame Street to tour the set, watch some of the shoot, and have lunch while they learned about the Sesame Street website. The webmasters of the Workshop have been hard at work making the children’s site extremely kid-friendly, and educational to boot. I had no idea how much a website could do—games, videos, themed playlists and video queues, printable activities, parenting tips—you name it! There are even games for toddlers where all the child needs to do to play is press any key on the keyboard to make something happen! They also introduced another new element to the Parents site—our Sesame Family Robinson blog! So, Marty, the girls, and I were there to answer questions and/or look cute.

Everyone was in high-spirits. Parents always enjoy visits to the set more than actual children. Shooting is very boring to a 4-year-old, but adults can appreciate all the hard work, and get nostalgic taking pictures in Big Bird’s nest or beside Oscar’s trash can. Hopefully, they’ll share their Sesame Street experience on their blogs, which will in turn bring some traffic to our website and blog. As a parting gift, we gave them a flash drive with one of Marty’s HandyMan films—"HandyMan Goes to Work." May they all post it on their sites and send it sailing through the web waves.

Marty, Grover and the bloggers.
Marty, Grover, and the bloggers.

Mommy bloggers sitting on a couch at Sesame Street.

See what some of them have already said about our blog and Sesame Street! We were mentioned on Mom in the City, INO Mommy, Fits and Giggles, A Frugal Friend, Babyrific, and Primetime Parenting.

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Mail Box

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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