The middle muppet is our animal guy. He knew the name of every dinosaur by the time he was two and would run up to any dog big or small just to give him a hug. Whether it is the neighbourhood sketchy cats or the horses at the ranch he approaches animals so calmly and with such care that we think he might have a future as a Vet, he on the other hand wants to own a Zoo!
The other night when it was time to head home from the playground I had loaded the youngest muppet and his friend in to the truck when the middle and oldest muppet decided that they wanted to walk home. The oldest walked one way and the middle guy decided to walk the other way to see which way was faster. The youngest and I pulled up to the house and the middle muppet was sitting on the step. “You won’t believe what I saw on the way home Mum!” He said excitedly “A Rabbit!!” Now in Canada we got used to seeing the rabbits out side my parents house and sometimes you would see the odd jack rabbit hopping down the street but it is not a normal sight in Doha.
The middle muppet told us his story that he saw the little bunny sitting by the tree eating grass. He must have been some ones pet because he let the middle guy go up to him and pet him. The middle muppet was so excited that every day this week we have had to walk home from the playground the way he went in hopes of seeing the bunny again. Tonight as we walked though the streets the middle muppet started to whisper excitedly that he saw his rabbit friend by the tree. The three muppets gathered around him moving in slowly closer and closer until the youngest muppet shouted “BOO!!!” The bunny darted out from the tree almost getting hit by a car and over to the next front yard. The youngest and oldest were in hysterics but the middle guy was not pleased and told them that they could walk the other way from now on! He would walk by himself and enjoy the peace and quiet with his bunny!
I stood in the American School Elementary cafeteria at a PTA welcome coffee morning. I don’t remember much about the meeting except for this woman who I was introduced to, she shook my hand with a bight shining smile on her face as she introduced herself. Making new friends is apart of the expat life and I was sure that I wanted to be friends with this woman. The days and weeks past, we caught each other in the hallways at the school, waved driving through the compound and spoke a few times at the pool. One morning my door bell rang, it was her she invited me for coffee and a quick browse through the shops as she put it. I had no other plans so I decided to take a chance and make a new friend. Little did I know that I had met one of my best friends. From that day on she was my exercise partner, coffee date, shopping buddy, emergency contact, a shoulder to cry on and a true friend.
I fell in love with her family and gained two daughters and another son, the muppets enjoyed the days when they had the two girls in the truck with them on the way to school and loved playing with them at the pool or at the play ground in our compound. For the past two years we have been blessed to have this amazing family in our lives. At home in July I received a message from my friend that they would be heading back to Australia in the fall. We all know that our lives here are not permeant but it was still devastating to hear that they were really going. I cried for most of the morning, finally told my self to “Suck it up!” and then cried a little more because it was something that she would say to me all the time.
When we returned home to Qatar I told the muppets that our friends were going to be moving at the end of the month and because the country that they were returning to was their home country all three muppets assumed that they were just going on a visit for a while and that they would be back. We had picked up the girls from school and brought them back to our place for a snack, after I told them to go and round up all their friends on the compound so that they could say goodbye at the playground. We arrived to an over flow of kids playing tag, swinging on swings, laughing and shouting. When final goodbyes were said, my girlfriend looked at me “I can’t do this today, I’ll see you tomorrow at school pick up. I don’t want to say goodbye”
So there we stood half way between Elementary and Middle School we had our brave faces on since we had sworn that we were not going to cry. All the things that needed to be said had been said except that dreaded last word. We had both done this before, packed our belongings, left or friends and family. We had taken a leap in to the unknown and know how hard a goodbye is. We waved to each other yelling “See you later” as if we would run in to each other at the mall or compound like we did every other day. I walked with tears streaming down my face and the middle muppets hand grasping tightly to mine. I looked down at him and saw he had a sad look on his face, “Are you going to miss Scarlett?” I asked him gently he just nodded and I knew like me he was trying not to cry. We walked to the truck talking about the day off that the boys had the next day, life would go on as it has just with a few sad moments in it. Not seeing their smiling faces everyday will be difficult but our family is so excited for their next adventure. This is not a goodbye, this is a thank you. Thank you for coming in to our lives and bringing us such joy and love. Thank you for all the memories and laughter that we will cherish forever. But most of all thank you for sharing a part of your family with us, we couldn’t ask for more amazing friends.
The middle muppet came home the second day of school and told me that he needed to create a piece of art. “Mum this can’t be just any old piece of art” he explained to me. He wanted to create a masterpiece to be entered in to the schools framed art show. I remembered from the previous year walking through the halls admiring all of the art work from different grade levels. So we began the creative process of deciding what this masterpiece was going to be. For those of you that don’t know the middle muppet is a perfectionist and wants things to be just right, he gets very frustrated if there is something that he can’t do so I was a little leery about beginning this project with him. He decided that he wanted to paint a sea monster in the ocean, so we got a book out on sea dinosaurs and started to draw, I was really proud of how patient he was about drawing his dinosaur, he had trouble getting the fins just right but after a little guidance he was ok. He painted his canvas and sea monster and sea weed and we glued everything on together (this process took about a week because things needed to dry) Once everything was pasted on he stood back and looked at his masterpiece… “There is something missing” he said “there is no bottom to the ocean, we need sand!” I told him that I would look for some brown paint later that day but of course I couldn’t find it. While baking muffins the next day I asked the middle muppet to get the oatmeal out of the cupboard for me. He opened it for me and I poured it in to the mixture. “This stuff looks like sand” the middle guy said. I looked in to the container, it did kinda look like sand so we decided to try and glue the oatmeal to the picture. He walked proudly in to the school to deliver his masterpiece to his art teacher. Later that day the oldest muppet came running out of the school yelling that he saw the middle guys painting hanging in the hall. We all walked in to the school and I saw the middle guys face light up with excitement when he saw his art work hanging in the hallway for the school to see. We may have a little Michelangelo on our hands!
The youngest muppet wants to do whatever his brothers are doing so as soon as he saw the middle guy painting he wanted to join in. I asked him what he wanted to paint and he said one word loudly “DINOSAURS” It was either that or sharks and thankfully I had just bought a new dinosaur stencil that he was dying to try. I taped the stencil down to the paper and told him to go at it. He happily painted away using every colour that we had and then I told him that we needed to let them dry and we could glue them on the next day. He started to have a tantrum and the middle guy stopped him and said “You can’t make a masterpiece in a day you know, it takes time!” And with those words the crying ceased and he moved on. The day that he saw his painting hanging in the hallway he was so happy. His smile was as wide as would be and he proudly posed to get his photo taken and pointed it out to his brothers and their friends.
The oldest muppet seems to be my easy going guy right now, after I had completed the art projects with the other two I asked him if he wanted to do one as well. He had seen this painting on Art Attack ( a show out here) and he said he wanted to try and create it. After he gave me a list of materials he needed he took all of the paint colours out and asked me to tape lines all over the canvas, then he painted with all the different colours. After the paint dried we pulled off the paint and he had made a really cool design! It was wonderful watching him create something that was in his mind. Every day this week he has walked in to the school past his art work and smiled. I love that all three muppets enjoy creating as much as I do whether it be with Lego, painting or making up games, their imaginations amaze me everyday!
The three muppets can be the best of friends and worst enemies on any given day. They switch sides and gang up on each other as siblings do but they will defend one another and form their own little group that sometimes excludes others with out them realizing. At the airport in Amsterdam there was a little boy that was bothering the muppets at the play ground. I watched as he would push and try to join in the game that they were playing not understanding the complexity of the little world that the three of them had created. I called the middle muppet over and told him that I thought the little boy might want to play with them, he responded stating that the boy was annoying them and he was being mean. I explained to the middle guy that maybe he just didn’t know what they were playing and that if they showed him how to play with them he would join in and be fun instead of annoying. I told him to remember that not all kids are lucky enough to have siblings to play with and I think the boy was lonely, so off he went and soon the four of them were playing like old friends.
Today the oldest muppet was invited to a special play date at a hotel pool, their were tears from the middle muppet who didn’t want him to go. He relies on the oldest muppet as a playmate since him and the youngest can’t seem to agree about much these days. We arrived home after school and after the biggest guy left on his afternoon of brother free time I tried to encourage the other two to play together. Everything I suggested was dumb, cars, dinosaurs, lego nothing was good with out the oldest muppet. I gave up and went about my jobs for the afternoon one of which included making muffins. The youngest came in to the kitchen and asked if he could help, I gave him the whisk and told him to beat the eggs and soon after that the middle guy wanted to help too!
Three mixing bowls, four spoons and two measuring cups later we had a tin full of muffin mix and the middle guy and the youngest muppet were laughing and happily making plans to play together. I guess they just needed a little bonding time baking before playtime. The rest of the afternoon passed with out a hitch and the oldest muppet came home to find his brothers freshly bathed and full of stories. The middle muppet was happy to be reunited with his big bro and best bud. It was good for both of them to have their own space and time. With the older muppet gaining more independence I am sure we will have more experiences like this and maybe the middle and youngest muppet will form a special little friendship.
The oldest muppet will celebrate his 8th birthday tomorrow. He has reminded me every morning since the beginning of the week that there were only this many days until his birthday. When I asked him what he wanted to do for his special day he told me that he wanted to go bowling with his family and then play at the pool with his friends. It touched my heart that he really wanted to celebrate with his family which is something that we have been trying to instil in the boys every birthday.
Our biggest muppet has always made us laugh and smile, when he was learning to talk he had his own little language which his father and I had dubbed Rhyslish. He insisted that you repeat everything he said to you and if you didn’t know what he was talking about he would get very frustrated. We had to make a translation list for family members who looked after him. Although he is not the most adventurous child, he is always the first to make a new friend, join in a game and try to make you laugh. He has always loved cars, taking things apart and finding out how things work. He amazes me every day with his Lego creations, his knowledge of animals and his incredible imagination. His brothers think that he is a god and I watch them mimic his good moves and bad every day!
As I tucked him in to bed tonight he asked if I remembered how old I was when we moved to Doha. I answered him and he said to me ” I was only four Mum, that was so long ago and I have done so much since then!” I agreed with him, his life here has been one adventure after another and he has gone from my babbling spiky haired baby to an amazing young boy who makes me proud every day! Happy Birthday little man you have brought joy, laughter and surprises to our lives the past eight years and always kept us on our toes! I am so blessed to be sharing in your life adventure!