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Sesame Family Robinson – From making Muppets to Raising Moppets

Entries with tag tagdevelopment .

Developmental Fears


Curriculum of the day:    Curriculum!

I am constantly checking the Baby’s First Year book to see where the twins should be developmentally at this time. Are they lifting their heads enough yet? Cooing enough yet?   Drinking the right amount of formula? Grasping hands yet? It's enough to drive you crazy.    "Compare, despair," as they say. The girls' pediatrician says they’re doing marvelously, but I still look at the other babies I see, wonder how old they are, and if they can do more than my babies. I probe other parents I’m working with at Sesame Street about what their babies did at 2 months. Did they play with toys yet? Mine show no interest. Did they scan? Smile? Mine just do that 7-mile stare. WHERE’S THE FEEDBACK?! I practically have a degree in Child Development after 15 years at Sesame Street; and I want my kids to be ahead of the curve! But you can’t push them! But you should be talking to them constantly so they hear language. And giving them stimulation, stimulation, stimulation! But when I try to stimulate them, they fall asleep. They’re blobs! How will I get them into Brown if they’re blobs?

This way lies madness.


The nose-biting phase of child development.


Nerdle Wear by Leslie Carrara (Abby Cadaby).

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.

The Emergence of Lyra


Curriculum of the Day:  Self-esteem

My daughter Lyra came into the world at 5 pounds, 15 oz. They brought her around for me to see, and then whisked her off to the Neonatal Unit to endure all the appropriate tests for a babe born at 36 weeks. Marty and I spent the next week at the hospital, in between my scary post-surgery blood transfusions and breast pumping, feeding her every three hours. It was quickly made clear that Lyra was a sleeper. She basically never woke up and was classified as a reluctant feeder. Even back at home for the first four weeks, Lyra slept. She seemed to be a personality-less larva that cried every two hours and slowly sucked formula she would later burp up. We still rarely saw her eyes.  

And then 40 weeks from their conception arrived and she was born again. It was March 10—her official due date. Suddenly, eyes were staying open more than three minutes. She started to do the great kicking game like her sister where she lies on her mat madly kicking at nothing. She started to squeal and stare at the lighted window, or ceiling fan, or mirror above her swing. She started to notice us, however briefly, until the overhead beams became more interesting again. My daughter was arriving. And we were so happy to see her.  

A month later, she is still quieter than her sister. She still takes longer to eat and longer to burp. But she has truly joined the family with her sweet antics. It’s a great lesson for us that these twins will develop differently, accomplishing different benchmarks at different times. We’re grateful she’s different than her sister who still sleeps only three hours before she’s demanding a bottle again. Lyra clocked in seven hours last night. What a champ! And she’s got a wide-open grin that will break your heart.


What a happy girl!


A tongue-y smile!

RIP Roaring Ripley


Word of the Day:  Spunky

My daughter Ripley was born at 4 pounds, 9 ounces. She fooled the ultrasound computer into saying she was 6 pounds because she was very long. Marty watched her being lifted out of my uterus. Her eyes were wide open, greeting the world with her inquisitive stare the moment she arrived. All I heard when she was pulled out was, “Oh, she’s much smaller.” She was quickly shown to me and then rushed off to be put on the respirator. Everyone was sure she’d need it for at least a day or two. She was off it in an hour. She sucked down a bottle of formula not long afterwards. This is Ripley. She’s named after the Sigourney Weaver character in the Aliens movies. She was well named indeed.

For the week in the NICU, she constantly proved to be the character of the group. Always staring out at the world, she’d make faces that would have impressed Soupy Sales. When she was eating, she’d make cute little, “ump, amp” sounds as if she was trying to talk with her mouth full. Being so small, she was wrinkled and had little fat on her face so she looked like Marty will when he’s 100 years old.

At home, she’s been the one who sleeps less and whimpers more because of her aching intestines. We finally moved the girls into their one big crib in the nursery because Ripley has been keeping us awake with her grunts and groans. But she’s also the main actress in many of our Handyman films because she’s just that much more alert and doesn’t get as fussy as fast as Lyra. She’s also still a champion formula sucker. She’s already caught up to Lyra in weight to the applause of our pediatrician.

And, she gave us the first real, recognizable smile. I’ve thought I had glimpses, but this one definitely was for real, responding to Mom’s morning “puzz” on her tummy. I hope she follows in her namesake’s fictional footsteps, protecting little Newts and saving humanity from aliens with acid for blood.


Such a good little napper.

Turning Over


Curriculum of the Day: Front/Back

We have turn over!

Lyra turned over several times in the past few days. It’s amazing to watch her little body twist as she arches her back and lifts her arm so she can flop over to her tummy. She’s very proud of herself. She’ll even lift her head up as much as she can to look us straight in the eye and smile. Ripley hasn’t yet shown us this new skill, but she’s attempting the back arch. She looks over at Lyra playing on her stomach with what appears to be envy, but it could also be gas. These small milestones are amazing.   

There’s always a catch though—now Lyra turns over to sleep on her stomach, which immediately sends up my SIDS red flag.

The pediatrician said not to worry. I don’t have to stay awake all night turning her back over onto her tummy. If she’s that active, she can move her head to keep her breathing clear. Still, I check her on my nighttime bathroom runs and have taken all blankets and toys out of the crib. Worrywart.

Mostly, I am able to bask in my girls’ baby steps forward. Everyone says it all goes by so fast. Before I blink, we’ll be breaking out the mitts for our first game of catch.


No more babies hanging out on the jungle matt on the kitchen table.   Rolling babies go on the floor or into the playpen.


I’ve noticed we have a lot of pictures of us snoozing. I guess it’s because we’re not moving for a change, so one of us can actually take a moment to snap a photo. Otherwise, we’re up and going, going, going.

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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?

Sommer

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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?

Edward

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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.

Glenda

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