Grover’s “Toy Story” Adventures and Treasured Moments with My Little Girl

Playing games, reading and painting activities at home. Fun trips to the park and zoo, countless restaurants, and of course, Sesame Place. Grover has seen so much and been through so much in his five years with my daughter, Quinn. When we went to see “Toy Story 4,” along with Grover as one of Quinn’s companions, it made me think about all of the treasured moments my six year old and Grover have had together.

Grover entered her life around one years old as a surprise gift when her father and I had our first date night where she spent the night at my mother’s house for the first time. I wanted to give her something special when we returned, and when I saw Grover at the local toy store in Peddlers Village, I was immediately drawn to him and knew he would be perfect for her. Plus, Grover was always one of my favorite Sesame Street characters.

Quinn loved Grover from day one. He offered her comfort at night and during naps. She even made a Grover pumpkin for Halloween one year. Even now, he can often be found either on her lap or on the passenger seat next to her when we’re going on a car ride somewhere. In his five years, my heart raced as we scrambled around the zoo in search of Grover who was somehow left at the picnic bench. One time, we had to retrieve him from the local Marshall’s store from the front desk after I asked the question I’ve posed hundreds of times or that Quinn asked me, “Where’s Grover?!”

From his years of being loved so much, he’s endured several machine washings and three “eye” surgeries to restore his sight from his pupils wearing away. Even though his lip is busted some, he still smiles alongside Quinn knowing that Elmo and a plethora of other stuffed animals have failed to take his place.

Sadly, both Grover and I know that his days are numbered as Quinn gets older and continues to become more interested in her American Girl doll, but for now, she still loves him so much and still includes him in tea parties and outings. Grover has a special place in my heart too. He has allowed me to see how affectionate Quinn can be, and with her being an only child, she finds comfort in having him as her near and dear friend.

If only Grover could talk, the stories he’d tell! I hope he’s enjoying being a part of our family as much as we enjoy having him be a part of ours.

All the best,

Tanya

Grateful to Grover: Easing the Transition of Preschool for My Little Girl

2016-09-10-19-50-55“Please, Mommy! Don’t Go!” my three year old cried out. My chest tensed up, and I could feel a tear or two welling up in my eyes as I pried my daughter’s hand off of my arm while struggling to comfort her as I left her with the teacher who was trying to console and distract her with an activity or toy as I left for work. What a difference a week makes! Quinn went from being excited the first week to adamantly voicing her dislike of being left at school by her father and me in the second week. We’ve explained how fun school is and how it’s great to meet new friends and learn from the teacher, but she is still somewhat resistant, especially considering that this is her first school experience.

Actually, she mainly cries for us not to go during the initial drop-off, and the teacher has reassured us that she is smiling, having fun and interacting with the other children for the rest of the day. So, we’ve been trying to come up with a way to help with the transition from home-life to school life in the morning.

Apparently, Quinn had the answer all along; it was me who was not receptive to the idea because I wasn’t sure if it would be acceptable by the teacher. “Can Grover please come with me, Mommy?” Quinn would ask in such a sweet yet desperate voice. I suggested that she could bring him for show and tell to which she quipped, “Mommy, Grover is my friend, not a toy. We bring toys for show and tell, not friends.”

On this past Friday, we had a talk in the car before heading into the preschool building, and she seemed to be doing okay. She asked again if Grover could come with her, and I said that he could but needed to stay in her book bag, and I’d ask the teacher if it was okay for Quinn to nap with him. Quinn was fine with this compromise, but as I hung up her book bag and little jacket, tears began to form in her eyes.

As I gave her a hug and tried to console her, the teacher saw that Quinn was visibly upset and asked, “Where’s Grover, Quinn?” I was surprised at this inquiry. How did she know about Grover? Maybe Quinn mentioned him during nap time or when they were talking about friends or toys at some point. I asked, “Is it okay that she has Grover?” The teacher smiled and nodded, “Of course, she can have Grover!” She then looked at Quinn as I handed Grover to her from the book bag, “Your friend Grover can spend a little time with you this morning, and then you’ll be able to put him away in your book bag until nap time. Okay, Quinn.” Her tears subsided, and she smiled and clung to Grover. Quinn was going to be okay. I later found out that my husband allowed Quinn to bring Grover on that Thursday but just didn’t tell me.

While some people may think children should not be permitted to have “security blankets,” such as a binkie, favorite toy or an actual favorite blanket that provides comfort, I think it is sometimes necessary to get them through a major change or transition. I am so grateful to Grover, for he has provided my daughter with some comfort during this major change, and when I picked her up, she immediately informed me, “Grover and I had a fun day at school Mommy!” Hearing her say this really made my day because it truly did upset me to see her so distraught.

All the best,

Tanya

What Would We Do Without It Wednesdays: Learning with Grover. The Student Becoming the Teacher

“We have to buckle Grover up in the shopping cart for safety, Mommy!” my three year old insisted. To which I responded, “Sure honey. Let’s make sure he’s in his seat securely.” Grover (from Sesame Street) has been her best friend since she was just one years old, and he usually goes everywhere she goes. Grover has seen and been through a lot with Quinn and even appeared in her second and third birthday photos. Though he needs a good cleaning every once in a while and disappears occasionally sending my little girl until a panic, I love having him tag along not just to keep her company but because I’m able to see if my daughter is not just observing and listening to what she is being taught but that she is emulating the behaviors and actions of her father and me too.

For instance, she will tell Grover to hold onto the rail when they are coming down the stairs and that he needs to wear his seatbelt in the car. I’ve even heard her tell Grover, “We have to look both ways when we’re crossing the street to be safe.” Of course, she does try to be clever and will inform me, “Mommy, this snack is for me. Grover would like a snack too please.” One of the best ways to know if my daughter is learning basic life skills is to observe her interacting with Grover and caring for him as I care for her. What would we do without him?!

All the best,

Tanya

On the Seventh Day of Christmas My Toddler Gave to Me…Christmas Fun with My Little One

2015-12-19 14.27.45-1Selected and decorated the perfect tree, put up festive and fun decorations, partied, visited Santa: the count down has begun! While these are some of our favorite things about the holiday season, going on a special outing today with my daughter to see the special holiday shows, parade, and friends of Sesame Place put the “star” on top of the Christmas tree. This actually was our second time going because it just was extremely packed on Black Friday because it was 70 degrees, and we only saw the parade, but today it was in the low 40s but felt like the 30s at times. (I’m so happy we have a season pass and did not have to pay additional money for our second visit)  As we waited in line out in the cold for about twenty minutes, I thought to myself, “I’d rather not stay” and then tell Quinn, “Baby, it’s cold outside,” but she was just so excited, dancing around and saying, “We’re going to see the Elmo Christmas show, Mommy!” I sure was glad that show was indoors and happily put my two and half year old on my lap to warm up my frozen fingers.  If Quinn was cold, she  must have been so overcome with excitement that it did not bother her as she hugged Bert and Ernie and watched her favorite Sesame Street character, Grover, perform, “Run Rudolph.” Even after the parade, it took a lot of cajoling to get her to leave Sesame Place willingly. If I had to guess, I’d say one of my daughter’s Christmas wishes was fulfilled today, and that makes enduring the cold weather worth it!

All the best,

Tanya

 

 

Blue is the New Red: Move Over Elmo! It’s Super Grover to the Rescue!

2014-12-25 14.58.52

Quinn with Her Best Friend Grover

Who’s red, furry and loves you? Elmo, that’s who! What toddler or preschooler who has watched or is familiar with Sesame Street does not know who Elmo is? When I was a little girl, Elmo was not a member of Sesame Street. My favorite characters were Big Bird, Ernie and Bert, Cookie Monster and Oscar the Grouch. Now, most of these characters have been pushed aside while Elmo has stolen the limelight. Since my little girl started watching Sesame Street and even visited Sesame Place a few times, I figured I’d have to face reality; my little girl would follow the masses and prefer Elmo too.

Actually, this is not the case at all. When it is time for a nap or to go to sleep, Quinn will ask for Grover instead of Elmo. Even when we play with the plush Sesame Street characters, she prefers Grover or Cookie Monster. Though she will happily play with Elmo, if Grover is available, she will immediately put Elmo down to grab Grover. Of course, she does not know that Elmo is typically the favorite of most young children, but it puts a smile on my face that she actually prefers the characters who are not as popular. Quinn has some time before she is in grade school; nevertheless, I hope this is an indication of how she will make friends. Instead of automatically wanting to befriend who’s most popular, be friends with those whom she genuinely likes and has built a bond with.

All the best,

Tanya