Two boys and a tree

The oldest muppet is gaining more independence on a daily bases. He is now allowed to play around the compound with his friends only if he comes home and tells me what he is doing and where he is going. All of the children on the compound are on Eid Break this week, the weather is at a nice temperature so everyone is outside!

The other day the oldest muppets asked to go to his friends house just two villa’s down. About an hour later he came in to check in and get Kool-Aid for him and his friend. “We are climbing a tree Mum!” He said his face lit up with joy “It is so much fun!” I was wondering which tree they were climbing since most of the trees in our compound are quite small, but I just handed him the Kool-Aid and told him to have fun and be careful.

I didn’t see him or his friend for another hour and a half so I decided that I should go and see if they needed  snack and make sure they were still alive. I walked down the street looking in the trees as I past. I heard giggling coming from one of the tall trees. Up in the branches sat two boys laughing and talking, it took them a few moments to notice me. I asked them if they wanted to come down for lunch or have a snack, the both replied quickly that they were not hungry and wanted to stay up in the tree all day long. I could not figure out what was so great about sitting up in a tree for hours at a time, but I agreed and told them to come down and get something to eat when they were hungry.

A few hours later I went looking for the oldest muppet, again I found him and his friend in the same tree still smiling and laughing. I walked back to the house with the oldest muppet galloping along beside me. “That was such a great day Mum, I had so much fun in the tree” It was a great day for him, no video games, no toys just two boys and a tree. Doesn’t get much better then that!

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Eid Sheep

At the Wholesale Market in Doha

Today is a holiday for many people in Qatar, most of the city is preparing for Eid al-Adha which is a religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide to honour the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son Ishmael as an act of obedience to God. It is the larger celebration of the 2 Eids and the three muppets got to learn and experience a bit of the traditions and culture this week at school.

As one of the class room mums for the middle muppets kindergarden class it was our job to prepare an Eid Party for the last day of the week. My self a Canadian and my class room mum partner an American had no clue where to begin. Both of us had lived in Qatar for 2 years but neither of us actually knew why Eid was celebrated or what any of the traditions were. Thankfully in our class there was a handful of other mothers who are muslim and were very eager to teach us and the children what they did to celebrate Eid al-Adha.

The party started off with a little talk about Eid the children ate snacks and listened to some of the muslim children talk about what they do at Edi. The muslim mothers brought henna in to decorate the girls hands and feet a tradition of Eid. Each little girl whether she was from, North America, New Zealand, Europe or the Middle East giggled excitedly as she had her hands painted with intricate designs. The boys cut out a picture of a Mosque and glued it on a sunset background, they each proudly drew a crescent moon and decorated with glitter then all of them learned to write their names in Arabic.

The middle muppets kindergarden teacher spoke about traditional food that she as an American would eat at Thanksgiving, the other children in the class who celebrated this holiday named off some of their favourite foods for Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving. The muslim children spoke of the meals that they would be having over the next few days which included lamb, beef and lots of sweets and cakes. The children and adults get dressed in their best clothes and visit family and friends, at each of the houses children are given small gifts of new money and there is always lots of food to share. There is a huge expectation of giving to those who have none and the sharing of meals with those less fortunate. All of these traditions were familiar to me, I celebrated them on a different day of the year but the meaning and the thought behind it all was the same.

I watched all the children in the kindergarden class listen to each others traditions and beliefs, each of them eager to share and even more eager to ask questions and learn. I was right there on the carpet with them absorbing everything thing. On our way home after school each muppet had a tale to tell about their day what they had learned at their Eid celebrations. It was great to hear them talking about all the traditions they spoke of and foods that they ate that morning.

As we pulled up to the stop light there were three pick up trucks, in the back of each truck there were 4 sheep. “Look!!” said the middle muppet excitedly “Those are very lucky sheep Mummy, they are Eid sheep and they get to be apart of the celebrations this weekend!” I just nodded and agreed with him, I don’t know if he understood that those sheep were not going to be in party hats enjoying the celebrations, but someones dinner.

I am very glad that we got to learn more about the culture we are living in this week. To my muslim friends Eid Mubārak hope you have a happy and blessed Eid al-Adha.

Puppy vs Puppy

Puppy on Safari with us in Tanzania

 

I made the mistake of taking the youngest muppet shopping with me today for a birthday present. I really should have learned by now that this almost always ends in tears and me dragging children from the store kicking and screaming. But then again it is nice that they have some say in what they buy their friends.

Today the youngest muppet had to pick out a gift for our one year old friend. After prying him out of all the little motorized vehicles and convincing him that our friend was not quite old enough for Lego Star Wars we proceeded to the section of the store that had toys for 6 months – 36 months. As I was moving up and down the isles the smallest muppet came running up to me with a big green box that had a big green puppy in it.

“Dis” he says to me “Leo needs dis puppy, he has no puppy and must be sad” he continued on for a good five minutes about how happy his puppy made him and that he wanted Leo to be happy on his birthday with his puppy. He looked up at me with his little puppy eyes and I knew that I was not going to be leaving the store with any other toy.

When we got home he ran up to his bed and grabbed his puppy. “You wrap dis one up mummy and I get dat one in da box” he says to me. I explained to him that our friend was going to get the new puppy. His face fell and his bottom lip began to tremble. I picked up his puppy and put the youngest muppet on my lap, I told him the story about where his puppy came from. Santa had brought him to the youngest muppet for his first Christmas and he has slept with him ever since that night. He had gone everywhere with our family, to the lake at Nana’s and Papa’s, moved with us to Doha, safaried with us in Africa, flown with us to Cyprus and traveled all through Canada. I told the youngest muppet that his puppy was so special, it had all his memories and his stories in him and now maybe our one year old friend could start an adventure with his new puppy.

The smallest muppet gave his puppy a squeeze hoped off my lap and smiled. “I have the most special puppy in da world”  I would have to agree with him, and I hope that puppy has many more adventures with our family in the future.

Thinking of you

This week at school the oldest and middle muppet had a book fair. It is exciting for them for two reasons. Number one there is not a chapters or a really good book store out here that sells a good selection of children’s books and second they get to shop at the book fair with out mummy!

The middle muppet got to go on the first day of the book fair, his class was also going to visit the pumpkin patch later that day where they could buy an assortment of halloween treats and little trinkets to support the high schools prom. I gave him 30 Qatar riyals which is equivalent to about 10 dollars Canadian. When I picked him up from school he was ridiculously excited about his book purchase, his new vampire teeth and other loot from the pumpkin patch. The smallest muppet was very upset that he did not get any vampire teeth and made a point of having a huge fit about it outside in the school parking lot. After repeatedly promising the youngest muppet that I would find him some vampire teeth we set off for home.

The following day the oldest muppet got to go to the book fair, he was able to visit the pumpkin patch on his own since being in grade one he is allowed to walk anywhere in the Elementary school that he wants. I picked them up at 3 o’clock with a very cranky little muppet in my arms. The oldest was out first and walked over to me with a huge grin on his face. He said to the youngest “I have a surprise for you” the youngest scrambled out of my arms quickly and stood waiting in front of the oldest muppet. He pulled out a pair of vampire teeth from behind his back, the smallest muppets face spread in to a huge smile and he jumped up and hugged the biggest muppet saying over and over “Mank you, mank you!”

Later that evening as I was getting all the muppets ready for bed I thanked the oldest muppet for thinking of his younger brother. He said to me nonchalantly “No problem mum, I really didn’t want him to be sad again today.” Proud Mama moment for me!

I guess even if they fight like cats and dogs most of the time at least I know that I am doing a few things right.

I’m Little Bear!

The middle muppet went through a phase when he was around two and a half, he would choose a character in the morning and that was the only name that he would answer to for the rest of the day. His favourites included Little Bear, Little Foot, Spike and Alicia (Go Diego Go’s Sister). The oldest muppet would get so angry when the middle guy would choose to be Alicia. “That is a girl!” he would say in horror “You can’t be a girl!” The middle guy would just ignore him and continue on his merry way, he didn’t care what the oldest thought.

I would go to a playgroup with friends on cold winter mornings in Canada to keep the kids busy and maintain my sanity. At the end of the playgroup my girlfriend and I would try to round up all the children that we came with. As we wrestled everyone in to snow suits, boots and car seat carriers the middle muppet would usually be straggling behind. If I couldn’t remember what character he was that day I was screwed… there was no way he would listen to me.

This morning the youngest muppet came running up to me with a blanket and a light sabre. With out even asking what he wanted I tied the blanked around his head like a hooded cape. He stood in front of me light sabre drawn and said “I’m Ahsoka!!” he quickly ran off and started battling the middle muppet who was a bad guy from what I gathered. For those of you that don’t have children who are completely obsessed with Star Wars,  Ahsoka is a girl Jedi from the Clone Wars television show and I’m pretty sure that the smallest muppet has a huge crush on her.

Soon the oldest muppet joined in the fight which usually means the game changes to meet his rules and regulations. I hear him tell the youngest muppet that he can not be Ahsoka because she is a girl and he is a boy, that he would have to choose a different character (preferably one pre approved by the oldest) or leave the game. I was about to step in and tell the biggest muppet off but then a wonderful thing happened. The middle muppet decided to change the game, he told the youngest that he was now Aniken Skywalker and him and Ahsoka were going to take on the evil General (which I think in both their minds was the oldest muppet) They continued their game making the General conform to their rules!

It was a great sight to see since the oldest boy is so incredibly bossy, I really have no idea where he gets that from. Surprisingly they all enjoyed the new game that the middle guy had come up with and muppet number one even commented on how much fun he was having. Sometimes we older siblings need our younger ones to shake things up a little but and keep us on our toes!!