Three Little Pumpkins

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Our first year in Doha we had just got settled in our villa and Halloween was suddenly here, we had little or no decorations mainly because I couldn’t find the box they had been packed in and the kids costumes were the only costumes on the rack in a grocery store. The costumes that we brought were made for Canadian Halloween all fleecy and warm so that even in -20 you would survive you trip around the block and were not going to be great in +28 degree weather. We didn’t carve pumpkins or even hand out candy. We joined friends of ours in their compound for a kids halloween party and it is pretty much a blur now.

This year the youngest muppet has been talking about halloween since the second week of school. I am not sure where he picked it up from but he can not wait until pumpkin day and is obsessed with anything to do with Halloween. We sat as a family and watched The Nightmare Before Christmas a movie that I have been waiting to watch with them for years. After that the littlest muppet went on a rant about needing a scarecrow out front in the yard, a grave yard and of course pumpkins! “Halloween needs pumpkins mummy or else it can’t be Halloween” he explained to me the other day over chocolate milk and cookies.

Now finding pumpkins in Canada is easy, you go to any grocery store and they are there for five dollars, a huge assortment of them easy as pie! In Doha you can go to the grocery store and by a pumpkin for thirty to one hundred dollars and that is me low balling it, last year the muppets and I saw one for 1045 QR the equivalent of almost $300 Canadian!! So for the past two years my wonderful neighbour has done a pumpkin run to the Vegetable Souq where they sell them much cheaper. As I was strolling through the supermarket yesterday and I saw a pile of little pumpkins for sale, they were a decent price so I grabbed three one for each muppet and today after school we carved them in to Jack O Lanterns!

Normally this is a daddy job but the poor guy was at work so I instructed the muppets to scoop the insides out with their hands and put it in the bowl. All three reached their hands in and were instantly disgusted. “It is so slimy” said the oldest “Gross” said the middle “Yucky” said the youngest. I told them it wasn’t that bad and reached my hand in and grabbed a handful of seeds and pumpkin insides! “It it like brains” I told them laughing they looked at me in shock that I would do something so gross, I could not believe that they were not loving the pumpkin brains! I got each of them a spoon and we cleaned them all out, craved them up and sat them on our doorstep. “Now we are ready for Halloween!!” said the youngest muppet!

Bring it on, Halloween number four in the desert!

Peace Dove

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At the beginning of the school year each muppet came home with art homework. This was the first time I had experience homework in this subject for the muppets. The school is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year and decided the wall art in the walk way between the lower elementary and upper elementary was to be replaced in honour of the silver anniversary. Each child was to create a dove, that symbolized what they thought peace was. The homework sheet asked questions like “What do you think peace looks like? What do your parents think peace looks like? and What does peace look like in your home country?” Then they had to brainstorm why they wanted to draw on their dove and draw out rough draft.

The next four weeks the muppets excitedly told me what they had done to their doves in class and then one day on our way to the high school cafeteria we noticed that they had put the new peace doves up in the hallway. We stood in the hallway for 20 minutes trying to find each of the muppets doves but with hundreds covering the walls our search was not easy and ended in tears. For three weeks we looked at the walls searching for the middle muppets peace dove. His younger brother claimed every second one as his own and the oldest had lost interest in the whole process. Today as we made our way through the walk way the middle muppet looked up and down the walls and as we approached the end I saw it. A dove with a red belly and a lightning bolt on it, he was so happy to have finally found it! The youngest muppet danced in joy and then pointed to the one above the middle guys saying it was his and then we danced some more.

The middle muppet told me that their doves get to stay on the wall for a long time, maybe 25 years he said. I told him that it was pretty neat to have a little bit of your art apart of the school. Then he said “Mum when I am like 23 I can come back here and find my dove on the wall! It will be so cool!” I agreed with him, I just hope that he can find the darn thing again!!

Beautiful, Awesome, Tragic

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Eid break comes with a lot of activities to do around Doha, it all depends on whether you feel like braving the crowds, traffic and madness to enjoy them. Yesterday afternoon we decided to take in the newest art exhibit at the Museum of Islamic Art. They regularly have new artists shows and most of the time they are totally free which you would not find in any other country. The artist that was featured was Damien Hirst, and death is a central theme in most of his works. I was a little bit hesitant about taking the muppets to see his show but I thought that it might be interesting, gross and intriguing for the three of them.

We arrived at the Museum and the muppets were greeted in the lobby by hanging skeletons, the youngest was instantly asking questions like “Who were all these people and how did they die?” I explained that they were models and not real skeletons and he sort of looked disappointed. We went over our Museum etiquette and marched the three muppets through the metal detectors and in to the exhibit. They were greeted by a 14 foot tiger shark in formaldehyde, and all three excitedly rambled on about the fins, gills and the stripes that made it a tiger shark. We continued through canvases painted with circles of colours in to a room full of pharmaceutical drugs which was appropriately named “Pharmacy” my girlfriend whispered to me under her breath that she was getting the feeling that she could be an artist as well with her very own medicine cabinet. The next room was shocking, a real cows head with live flies in a box, it showed the life cycle of the flies as you saw them hatch, live to feed and die by a bug zapper. The oldest muppet who is learning about life cycles in school found it very interesting and the youngest muppet and his friend were really impressed by the blood all over the floor and the fact that the cows tongue was hanging out!

As we continued through the exhibit the muppets encountered a basking shark and a great white shark also in formaldehyde. Several farm animals including cows and sheep cut in two, and canvases full of butterflies. It was weird, intriguing and some of it just made you shake your head and wonder why the person that created this “artwork” was not in an asylum! The muppets were interested, asked great questions and made their own assumptions about the art that they were seeing. As we stood beside a statue of a man who was skinless the middle muppet asked me about the tools in is hands and what was draped over his arm. As I looked at the statue I told the middle guy that I thought he was holding a long piece of cloth, the oldest muppet tapped me on the shoulder “That’s not a cloth Mum, it is his skin, he has sliced his skin off.” I had a closer look and the oldest was right. “What does that mean Mummy” asked the middle muppet. I thought for a moment as said that maybe the artist was trying to show freedom, by cutting himself out of his own skin he was free to be what every he wanted to be. Little faces of confusion stared back at me and I realized that I had gone over their heads. Then Daddy gave them a better interpretation, he asked them if they had fun when they got to run around the house naked and all three nodded smiling and giggling in agreement, that is probably the feeling that the artist is trying to show.

The muppets walked through the rest of the museum and at the end wanted to go back at see the Basking Shark one last time. The oldest muppet dragged me through the exhibit to the shark. “Isn’t it awesome mum” he said with a gleam in his eye, “It is awesome but also sad because the shark is dead” I nodded my head in agreement and said “I guess that is just life, we are born we live and we die, everything in life can be beautiful and tragic at the same time. ” He smiled at me and said “I think that is what the artist was trying to show us Mum, but not beautiful and tragic, awesome and tragic!”

Art thought the eyes of an eight year old awesome yet tragic!

What are you thankful for?

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Today at sunset marks the start of the celebration of Eid al-Adha here in the Middle East and across the globe. The muppets spent most of last week learning in their classrooms about Eid and ended the week off with a big Eid party. Each muppet came home with art work and stories about what they had learned about Eid al-Adha, and the middle muppet said it best when he told me that it was a time for family and friends to get together and eat lots of food and share funny stories. It made me remember that a Canadian holiday was quickly approaching, Thanksgiving.

Since moving to Qatar we have yet to really celebrate a Thanksgiving, I always have good intentions about having friends over for a big turkey feast and it always ends up not happening for some reason or another. Since being at the American school the muppets celebrate American Thanksgiving in their classrooms and the oldest was appalled last year when on American Thanksgiving weekend I was not cooking a turkey! So I promised him that next year we would do it… but today as I drove past the grocery stores over flowing with people doing their last minute shopping for Eid I decided that pizza seemed like a good idea for supper instead of spending an hour looking for a parking spot with the three muppets.

We sat at the table and talked about Canadian Thanksgiving, I told them that when I celebrated thanksgiving as a little girl we would go around the table and tell everyone what we were thankful for. The oldest muppet said that he was thankful that we had make your own pizza night rather than turkey and that he was thankful for his family and his trash packs. The middle muppet giggled at what the oldest muppet and told me that he was thankful for his stuffed animals “Is it ok to be thankful for that?” he asked me batting his big brown eyes. I told that it was more then ok, but he could also be thankful for his school, his family and his friends. He agreed that those things were also good. The youngest muppet was next and he was ready to add his two cents in, “I am fankful for me being the birfday boy and for my flip flops”  he giggled. We finished our pizza Thanksgiving dinner and the oldest asked me what I was thankful for…

I am thankful for the pitter patter of six little feet running through my house everyday. Even though our life is usually full of noise, craziness and chaos, it is also over flowing with a huge amount of love and laughter. I am forever thankful for our friends who are like family to us and our family who is always supportive of everything we do. For the life I have been blessed with and for the husband that I get to share all my adventures with. I hope that all you Canadians have a Happy Thanksgiving filled with love, laughter and of course turkey!!

Maybe we will be able to celebrate with the Americans!

Interview with Mr Bean

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I sat on the couch with the youngest muppet this afternoon, we were watching our usual Disney Junior shows complete with snack and Mama cuddle time. “It’s my birthday tomorrow!” He said looking up at me from his incredibly long eyelashes. “I am going to be five!” he smiled and rambled on about his presents that he was going to share with the oldest and middle muppet only and maybe mummy and I started asking him questions about how he felt about turning five and ended up giggling a lot so I thought I would share my little interview with you…

An Interview With an (Almost) Five Year Old

Mummy: So now that you are five what do you want to be when you grow up?
Little Muppet: I don’t want to grow up, I want to be small no, no I wanna be big but not grow up… maybe like Peter Pan.

Mummy: What happens if you slide down a rainbow?
Little Muppet: Oooh there is treasure, like pirate treasure, maybe I want to be a pirate.

Mummy: Why do you like girls?
Little Muppet: I don’t like girls! I like you only! Girls are kinda gross

Mummy: What do you want to drive when you grow up?
Little Muppet: A car, a race one, a fast one it has to be red… no green… no red I think.

Mummy: Who are you going to marry when you grow up?
Little Muppet: No!! I don’t want to marry… ever… EVER

Mummy: If you could fill the pool with anything in the world what would you fill it with?
Little Muppet: Garbage!
Mummy: What? Garbage? Why?
Little Muppet: ‘Cause I like garbage!
Mummy: Gross

Mummy: If you could be any animal what animal would you be?
Little Muppet: Hmm a Tiger… I mean a cheetah, no a leopard cause they run so fast and can climb trees.

Mummy: Where do crayons come from?
Little Muppet: Ummm Applebees
Mummy: How do they get there?
Little Muppet: They drive I guess, can we go to Applebees?

Mummy: Are you excited to be five tomorrow?
Little Muppet: Ya but I don’t want to be 100 or ever get married!!

Mummy: How old do you have to be to drive a car?
Little Muppet: 86
Mummy: So how old is mummy?
Little Muppet: Maybe 100
Mummy: And what about Daddy?
Little Muppet: He is 38

Mummy: When Grandma and Bampi baby sit you where do you think Mummy and Daddy are?
Little Muppet: At the zoo!

Mummy: Why do your brothers annoy you?
Little Muppet: Cause they are always kicking me in the butt

Mummy: Where is your favourite place to go?
Little Muppet: I don’t like to go anywhere I like to stay here… right here

Mummy: What is your favourite word right now?
Little Muppet: Fart! (Laughs) I just farted!
Mummy: All right this interview is over!

Tomorrow you will turn five little man and we will celebrate another year of your vibrant life. You are such a special little soul and you have made our lives incredibly interesting for the past five years! I hope you never loose your ridiculous sense of humour, your infinite wisdom about sharks and your passion and drive for life! We love you so much, happy birthday Mr Bean!