Ike Fever
Those Moments Where You're Like, Yes, This. This Is Why.

In Which I'm Going To Make You All Totes Jelus Of My Toddler

Blergh. Blergh, I say!

So surprise, surprise, after three cooped-up days of wiping up toddler snot and getting my face coughed on, I came down with Ike's cold. And dear holy gods of Sudafed, what a cold it was. Is. I'm still not fully over it. 

*stares at wall in foggy-headed stupor for 20 minutes*

*loses train of thought*

*CANDY CRUSSSSSH!!!1!!11one!*

So that's been the last few days, more or less. 

My in-laws visited over the weekend to celebrate Christmas with the boys and spoil them completely no-good down-and-dirty rotten

My plan for Ike's Christmas gifts were to dig out some of the preschooler toys I packed up last winter in preparation for the Big Move That Never Happened, then wrap them up and present them as new and exciting. And then maybe buy him one new Elmo/Grover-ish item, since Sesame Street Fever skipped my first two almost entirely and we don't have much from that toy category, which now infects my youngest at near-Beatlemania levels. 

My mother-in-law, on the other hand, decided to take my hand-me-down idea, cross it with Ike's love of Sesame Street, then mix in some ninja-like eBay skillz (and more patience and devotion than I will ever have for anything, ever)...and assemble an entire vintage 1976 Fisher Price Little People Sesame Street Clubhouse set for Ike, complete with all the characters, in near-mint condition. 

Ikes clubhouse

(She actually still has Jason's Clubhouse, though the tire swing broke and a few characters have gone missing. But I don't actually think that's why she chose to buy Ike an entirely different set; she just doesn't want to part with the one she has, and I can't say I blame her.)

She spent MONTHS putting this gift together. Apparently this is quite the hot little item, especially in such good condition, but she had to purchase almost all of the characters and accessories separately, which resulted in hours of haggling and auction-watching. I can't even imagine how much it ended up costing her, despite her patience and eye for bargains. So if you've got one of these lying around, by the way, sell that shit. Hire a babysitter and go to a strip club. TREAT YO SELF.

(I ALSO had this set as a child. But at some point I displayed some really excellent judgment and sold it at a yard sale to my next-door neighbor for a quarter. A quarter that I then gave back to him so he could buy one of the other toys I was selling. We repeated this transaction all afternoon until I proudly went inside my house to report that I had successfully sold every toy. For a quarter each! This quarter! This single, solitary quarter. This...oh.)

(I believe that must have been the moment my parents realized I was not Ivy League material and adjusted my college savings plan accordingly.)

But the set is giving me TERRIBLE stewardship anxiety. The Grover figurine alone required her to message a seller and convince her to pull it from a big ASSORTED LOT-type listing and sell it individually. Then to save on the shipping she had a relative drive to meet the seller at an IHOP parking lot, then she drove to visit said relative for a weekend MOSTLY PLANNED AROUND PROCURING THE DAMN GROVER. 

Guess which figurine I already cannot fucking find, you guys. GUESS. 

My boys are not rough with their toys, actually. Rough with each other, kinda, and our couch is little more than a piece of gymnastics equipment to them, but they are actually really at not breaking their toys. But keeping toy pieces and sets and accessories TOGETHER, on the other hand...not so much. 

We start off pretty good — we have labeled baskets and bins and grand plans for toy categorization, but sooner or later the sets get combined in non-logical ways (see figure 1, below, SMURFS IN SPACE) or the toys migrate around the house — or worse, taken out in the CAR, which has only EVER ended in toys getting lost and yet EVERY TIME, they beg and plead and assure me that they will be careful because they looooove this toy and it's their favvvvvvorite and then 30 seconds after we've all buckled up, the Harry Potter minifigure has lost his hair and it's disappeared forever into a weird crevice and everybody's crying. 

smurfs in space

Figure 1, In Which Things Aren't Looking Good For Papa Smurf

Of course, my MIL assured me that she assembled the set for the boys to PLAY WITH and ENJOY, and that most of the sellers she interacted with were thrilled to hear the toys were being bought for an actual child and not a collector. 

And Ike the Actual Child could not be more thrilled with his awesome Christmas present and hasn't stopped playing with it since.

Photo 1 (7)

(Though he also keeps asking "Where Gwover? Where Gwover go?")




Try Noah's Ark. Wasn't your wedding band lost there for like 2 years or something?


your MIL is amazing and patient.

I am now spending every ounce of energy I have to NOT go looking for this set for Avery. I spent enough time *almost* buying all the Fisher Price Sesame Street crap for her birthday.


Grover is in Ike's bed.


Wait, there's supposed to be a yellow slide too?!? I bought a not-so-great condition one a few years ago on ebay and my older one still loves it. I am so impressed your MIL got all the characters and the accessories!


You have an amazing MIL - that is one awesome gift! I wish I had the patience and time to do the same for my daughter - she is Sesame obsessed and would love this. Love the smile on Ike's sweet face!


oh! what a flashback...I had this as a kid and loved it too! bet my mom has it in the attic and I should find it for my 17 month old for next xmas!


Lift up the toy building. That's where Grover is.


That is pure love.


Oooh! We had this set as a little kid, and most of the other Little People sets (holla for the garage, airplane, circus train, camper, A-Frame, barn, house, school). Mom got them out, painstakingly reassembled them and let our three-year-olds at them last Christmas. They kept coming back to the Sesame Street Clubhouse, and basically ignored the rest!


my MIL pulled one out of the attic at Thanksgiving. the only figure left was Big Bird, but it was also a big hit. And also a toy that Gran is keeping at her house.


This parenthetical wins it for the entire post (although it was a pretty stellar post):

"I believe that must have been the moment my parents realized I was not Ivy League material and adjusted my college savings plan accordingly."


My MIL kepts all my husband's toys. I love it when she pulls them from the attic to give to my boy. While he's still to young to play with the Little People, he does enjoy all the other toys, more so than anything I've bought him.

BTW, can I just say that I think the new Little People just suck ass? They are just weird pudgy people. Like all the Little People went in a spaceship and got fat and lazy like in Walle. And there's no details in the sets...just lumpy plastic.


I actually teared up, thinking about all the work & effort she put in to finding all the pieces for this wonderful gift.

I also got the DTs over the mention of Harry Potter's hair disappearing into a crevice in the minivan, because yes, we've had that same meltdown.


Any chance you've checked in the tree for the MIA Grover? The only reason I ask is because my kids seem to think it's like some really big toy accessory. So far this season I have found one plastic eagle, two Skylanders, one lego transformer guy and three misc animals of the non-stable variety.


How sweet! And totally worth all of the eBay hunting and haggling.


ohmygod I AM jealous. I LOVED my Sesame St Little People play set. I've been looking for toys like it for MY kid but I guess everything is different now, sigh. Have Fun Ike! Check under the chairs for Grover...alternately he MAY be at the end of this book.


That Grover be special.



Is it sad that I'm a little jealous of your toddler? Gah! I wish so much that my mother had saved ANYTHING from my childhood. I had that exact set. With a few Grovers, because he was my favorite.


I'm now lost in a vintage ebay hole. BUT THEY HAVE MY STRABERRY SHORTCAKE HOUSE!!!


Odds are Gwover's gonna show up when you've given up looking for him. Like, under your heal in the middle of the night. I love this story. Let him play with it and send her lots of pictures.


His FACE. It's too precious. And yay for dedicated grandmas. This is awesome. My well-meaning MIL constantly buys our son really noisy flashy toys (which he has zero interest in, he's a kitchen set and wooden block kinda kid) and my parents rarely buy toys (they like glass keepsakes that he can't touch, oddly enough) so it's on us to find the cool toys. So jealous, we need to find ours something like this!


JenVegas...he *is* at the end of the book! My favorite kids'book ever!

Lynda M Otvos

Land of Lost Toys overflows - my stuffed St Bernard is there somewhere, he wasn't allowed to move to Florida cuz I was "too big for that monstrosity". Well, let me tell you, moving is bad enough, but to not let me bring "St." The pain I felt for months as I tried to get comfy sleeping...

Anyway, good job, Grandma, for bringing together the entire pile of Sesame Street glory and allowing His Incredible Ikeness to have his little critters to play with.


"most of the sellers she interacted with were thrilled to hear the toys were being bought for an actual child and not a collector"

For some reason, this part just gave me a good chuckle. Now I'm picturing Al in "Toy Story 2," indignant that a toy will be actually played with.


That is so sweet! Grandmas rule! I wonder why they don't make those awesome little people play sets anymore...the tree house, family camper, etc. There's really nothing like them.


Look in Jason's computer bag where your wedding ring ended up. Or in and around the beds. I bet it's in a bed, brought there to cuddle and talk to (all "George I love you George" style).


Yep. Jealous.
Funny about Sesame Street fever skipping the first two, because that happened with mine. My oldest doesn't care, but my one-year-old is obsessed and has taken all of her big sister's Elmo toys.


We once found a number of missing items (including a cell phone) inside a sealed up diaper box. Apparently the handle slots beckoned my son to shove things inside.


Awesome! My mom saved and passed to me our 1970's mint condition FP Schoolhouse and to my sister, our mint condition Farmhouse. Both complete with Grover and Sheep and other figurines.

I was at a second hand shop in Berlin a couple years ago and saw a perfect condition schoolhouse set for 200 Euros!


I didn't know there is such a toy! What have I been missing out on my whole life??? I MUST GET IT!!

Sarah C.

We had that! My favorite was always the castle, though. It had a trapdoor! To the dungeon! I may have to track one down, if only to look at it. And the farm! With the mooing doors!

We had ALL the little people toys - my grandparents kept some at their house, which we only visited a couple of times a year, and the rest came home with us. (My sister landed on the point of the a-frame house once and ended up with forehead stitches. She bears the scar proudly.)

My aunt (3 years older than me) had a KFC complete with little Col. Sanders. It wasn't official LP, but it was compatible and I was SO JEALOUS.

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