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Sesame Family Robinson – From making Muppets to Raising Moppets

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Tummy Mountain


Curriculum of the day:  Creative Play

Marty and I are natural born goofballs. This is probably why we’ve both ended up at Sesame Street. Play has always been at the center of our lives. We’ve attempted several times to see if one or the other of us could get through the day without using some kind of silly voice. I can’t get beyond 20 minutes.

Our children are playing in my bursting tummy as I write. In an ultrasound, Baby B had her feet way over her head and a look on her face like a determined Nadia Comaneci about to do a tumbling routine. Baby B also had her fingers laced together once in what was clearly an attempt at “Here’s the church, here’s the steeple.” …


Our first good look at Ripley Patricia Evans Robinson.

And we as their waiting parents are playing with them as well. We’ll never know if they are aware of our antics, but it doesn’t stop us from our exploits on “Tummy Mountain.” Hopefully, we’ll keep improving our mental and physical health playing with our children until they beg us to stop since we’re so embarrassing.


Tummy Mountain.

A Short Cervix

Curriculum of the day:  Patience

I have a short cervix. Actually, the correct term is “dynamic.” You’d think that being dynamic was a good thing, but when it comes to a pregnant cervix, it is a recipe for premature labor. During one ultrasound, we saw Baby A hiccupping and bouncing off it like a mini-trampoline. It is hard to tell her at this stage that this is not helping the situation. So, like many women who are expecting twins, I have been put on “house arrest.” That means in bed with permission to use the toilet, take a shower and use the stairs once a day. This is very limiting in a triplex-style house.

Bedrest is NOT restful. It is frustrating, uncomfortable and stressful—particularly for someone like me who multitasks while she is multitasking. Friends who are not on bedrest look at it as some kind of nirvana. These are statements by people who really just need a vacation. Someone on “doctor ordered bedrest” is constantly desperate to get OUT of bed for that one piece of paper with the insurance phone number on it so you can call and check something off your list! Before a trip to the bathroom, you must chart your course of the few nearby places you can stop to gather vital objects—a book, a working pen, a charged phone, tissues—and calculate whether those items exceed your five-pound lifting limit. Is it worth getting up for that apple your husband left across the room and risk your cervix calling it quits?

The curriculum goal of patience is used often on Sesame Street.   Your average 3-year-old wants everything NOW! My blankie NOW! My bottle NOW! Patience is good counsel for me as well, because this WILL be over one day. At 40 weeks to be exact. 

 
Bedrest with our now deceased bunny in my bedroom lair. Note the table that Marty built for me to hold my computer, meals, etc. Nell is always a doggie presence.

Help


Word of the day:   Dependency

It is not a failure to ask for help.  The Protestant work ethic drilled into me by my father makes me FEEL like it is while I struggle to just turn off the alarm clock. So, if life is a classroom, this is a good one for me to write on the chalkboard. It’s okay to need help. I have been accused in the past of trying to get an “A” with God. This situation will not ruin my report card!   

Asking for help is also very positive in many ways. My relationship with Marty has gotten deeper as our roles are merging and shifting. I get my own breakfast, but Marty brings me my other meals and snacks. If he is at the studio shooting the show, he lines small meals up along the window to keep them cool, and I retrieve them on a return trip from the bathroom.

He says he enjoys taking care of me, finding files and scripts I need, picking up everything I knock over behind the bed. He claims to like hearing “honey pie” echoing down from our bedroom, so I should believe him, right? Still, dependency is very hard for me to accept. I’m used to being the one who gets everything done, keeps all household systems go. Now, I’m a child having children!     


Nell, Beary and Ruby hoping for a bite of oatmeal Marty brought me for breakfast.


My dear sweet husband at play.

Virus


Curriculum of the day:   Emotion: Anger

The last thing I needed on bedrest was to get a stomach virus! Marty caught it either from a colleague in karate class or his brother but in his kindly efforts taking care of my meals, I finally succumbed. It’s particularly frustrating when I’m so isolated from everyone and everything upstairs in bedrest land. You’d think I had much more of a chance of catching something from my dogs. I’d understand if I was riding subways grasping a city of germs on every pole. But no. So here I am with my short cervix and gestational diabetes—as if that isn’t enough to contend with carrying twins—and on comes a tsunami of my digestive system, all contents escaping as fast as it can out whichever direction gravity feels is best. Ever wonder if you did something in a past life that suddenly the universe starts to hurl flaming mud pies at you? Well, today I’m angry at the universe for throwing these flaming mud pies! Our little family didn’t need this!

I knew very quickly as every ounce of fluid I possessed seemed to be leaving my body and learned that bile really is a bright, almost Kermit green, that I needed to go to Labor and  Delivery before I was going to be going into labor and deliver. The wise caregivers at Danbury Hospital quickly had me on an IV for fluids, anti-contraction medicine and anti-nausea medicine. After an uncomfortable night on a bed that I guess is meant for birthing but could serve for water boarding, they sent me home. Two babies still inside and kicking and seemingly unperturbed by the event and cervix thin but still closed.

I am still angry though. And in the world according to Sesame Street, it’s okay to be angry, if you’re 3 or 46.


This is later in my pregnancy but they did this a bunch of times when I was in for the evil invader virus.

Setting up the Nursery


Curriculum of the Day:  Frustration

Setting up the nursery. The rite of passage most mothers, I suspect, look forward to. Organizing all those shower gifts of cute clothing, diaper starter kits and breast pump equipment while awaiting our babies’ arrival seems to be one of those clichés that is most definitely based in truth.

However, when you’re on bedrest YOU CAN’T DO IT. You can’t even supervise unless you move a couch into the room.  All our baby shopping has been online only. I set up a registry without the fun of actually seeing and touching possible cribs, blankets, or even those little, snuggly burrito-like baby wraps. If anything, it would have been a good laugh with my hubby. Luckily, our babies’ nursery will be very close to our bedroom through an attached bathroom (or maybe not so lucky, we’ll find out). So at least I could hear Marty and his brother moving my office furniture out and boxes from baby stores hauled in, hear the spackling and rolling of the  yellow paint we picked out—that is until the latex paint smell made me nervous and I moved to the downstairs pull-out couch. I feel this is yet again another ritual I’m missing because of my prescribed bedrest. Frustrating! Disappointing! Although he has done a lovely job now that it’s painted.


Telly helping out.
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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?

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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