Slippery Slope

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Last year we had friends of ours bring over ice skates for all of the muppets. At the time it seemed like a good idea to put them all in skating lessons but like all good ideas it some how got lost on the long list of all the things we want to for our children and the list of things that our children want to do. The latest obsession with hockey in my household has only gotten worse. The oldest muppet is constantly watching highlights of the games and changes his favourite team as much as he changes his underwear. So when I mentioned that we would be going ice skating for a friends birthday this weekend the muppets were a little excited!

We arrived at the rink which is in one of the malls in Doha, we were early and the oldest muppet was talking about how he knew everything about skating. He was saying that he was going to skate like a goalie and up the ice like a really hockey player. It was at that moment that I felt the need to remind him that he had never skated before in his life. He shrugged his shoulders saying he had skated with his crocs before and that it wouldn’t be any different. I broke out in to hysterics which I knew I shouldn’t do and told him flat out that just because he was born a Canadian doesn’t mean he was born knowing how to skate, so  he needed to wrap his head around the fact that he was going to fall over and it is going to be hard for a while until he get the hang of it!!”

As I tied the three muppets skates I had a flash back to my father doing up my figure skates when I was about the oldest muppets age. In Canada learning to skate is a life skill like walking or running. There were not that many children who were over the age of six living in Canada that had never been on the ice. The oldest went on the ice first with his plastic seal for balance, the middle one followed and I watched over the boards as I tied the youngest skates up. They were wobbling around on the slick ice but getting the hang of it. I got my skates done up and realized that it had been over 8 years since I had skates on my feet and was a little nervous about getting in the ice. The youngest guy was totally unsure about the situation and decided his best bet was going to be sitting on the seal while I pushed him around and I was not upset at all about this because it allowed me to get my skating legs back in order.

I watched the middle and oldest muppet skate around, fall, get back up and try again. The oldest spouted off all of his knowledge about the lines on the ice, the goal crease and where they did the face off for the hockey teams. He said to me, “Skating is fun Mum” I told him I thought so too but it was kinda tricky until you got the hang of it “Tricky!!?” he said “It is really hard!!!” he was happy and the smile on his face made me laugh, he was thrilled by the challenge. The middle guy was the same and skated by me multiple times totally whipping out and getting up again laughing, when I said it was going to be time to go soon the two older muppets complained and told me that they wanted to stay out there all day!  By the end of the party I had to drag the oldest off the ice, he was begging me to tell him when we could come back. “Tomorrow, tomorrow we don’t have school, we can spend the day here!” my truly Canadian child. It makes me wish just for a second that it would be cold enough here so that I could flood our back garden then he could skate until his legs didn’t work any more!

A new and fabulous skill for the muppets to master, lord knows I can’t have them growing up Canadian with out knowing how to skate!

The Outer Space

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Last night as I tucked the muppets in to bed the youngest muppet said to me. “Mama, when I am bigger can make me a space suit with a helmet and everything so I can go to the outer space?” I told him that I could do that but only if I could come with him. He was happy with that and I kissed him goodnight and he cuddled his puppy and rolled over to sleep. This morning As I was making breakfast he came racing down the stairs, he had a frantic look on his face. “Mummy!” he said breathless, “I decided that I don’t really want to go to the outer space, ’cause there are black holes and stuff and if I go in one of those I will be dead FOREVER!” I told him that it was ok, maybe he could go to outer space another day, he looked at me like I was a crazy person. “No, not unless the black holes are covered up or coloured white or somefing, that sounds like scary stuff!”

I guess I won’t be sending that one off to NASA!

The Day it Rained

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This morning I woke up to three boys bouncing on my bed, they were all talking at once and from what I could gather they were excited because it was raining out side. The rain comes to Doha about 3-5 days a year and the last rain fall we had here was in May so you can say that the city was very excited this morning. The DJ on the only english radio station in Doha told everyone to drive safely and enjoy the cool wet weather. Sometimes with the rain fall the traffic can be madness, so like an Albertan on the first snow fall of the year I was dreading the drive in to school this morning. Surprisingly it went quite smooth and the muppets skipped off to school donning their hoodies and dodging puddles.

This morning I worked at the school and watched the rain continue to drizzle through out the early part of the day. An announcement came on over the loud speaker around mid morning, it was the assistant principal letting the students know that the rain had let up so there would be out door recess. I snickered under my breath that no Canadian kid would ever be told that they couldn’t go outside because of a few drops of rain. Soon after I had this thought it was lunch time and I made my way down to the lower elementary to pick up the youngest muppet from his class. As I walked though the out door walk way I noticed that the rain had decided to continue and it drizzled down slowly. The assistant principal made another announcement that it was raining too hard for there to be lunch time recess so the children would have to stay in doors.

I stood under the canopy at the front of the school with the other mothers who were fretting about jackets and umbrellas, wondering if their child’s shoes would be alright in the wet rain. These are things that we never really have to think about here! The youngest muppet came out of the school and I helped him in to his hoodie, I was just about to tell him to watch out for the big puddle when I heard from behind me a huge “SPLASH” There stood the youngest muppet soaked from the waist down with a huge grin on his face. “I love puddles Mummy!” he said laughing and stomping a few more times just to make sure he was good and wet. He had also made a few other kids good and wet in the process. After I dried him off and he had a little rest we went and picked up his brothers, by this time it was raining harder and the older two muppets groaned about not being able to go to the park. As we pulled in to the compound they saw two of their friends running through the puddles, “Can we do that?” asked the oldest muppet I said yes and told them they needed to get Crocs on at least and they were not to set foot inside the house until they were done playing!

The three muppets ran up and down the street laughing and playing with their friends, splashing in the puddles and spraying each other with the water. Completely soaked from head to toe they stood on the front step ready for dry clothes. As the three of them sat on the couch the youngest muppet said to the others “Do you guys remember the day that it rained and we splashed in the puddles?” the oldest muppet laughed “Ya that was like ten minutes ago!” the youngest joined in with the oldest laughing “Oh ya” he said “That was such a great day!”

Looks like the rain will be here for a few days so we will enjoy it while it lasts!

Today We are Elephants

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In Canada the month of November brings with it snow flurries, mustaches and a day of remembrance. When I was in Elementary School the teachers would read us stories, recite poems and together we would sing special songs about Remembrance Day. We were taught about the meaning of this day and heard about the sacrifices made for our freedom from local Veterans. On November 11th there was a special Remembrance Day ceremony that the whole school and some of the community took part in. Always on that day every man, woman and child had a poppy pinned to their shirt and we all understood why we wore it.

Living in Doha we miss out on things like Remembrance Day because it is not observed here by the masses, suddenly the day goes by and you realize you have completely missed it. This year I decided that the muppets were old enough to understand about Remembrance Day and it’s meaning. Since this was kind of a sad and scary topic I didn’t really know how to begin the conversation. Luckily I discovered a book that I thought would help called Proud as a Peacock, Brave as a Lion, and at dinner last night I told them that I had a special story to share with them about Remembrance Day.

During dinner we talked about the war, the soldiers and bombs, all things that little boys seem to love and want to play at. I told them of the soldiers that didn’t make it home, the families that lost fathers and sons and that some of them were not much older then our neighbors son a young boy of seventeen. The oldest muppet looked shocked that something like that could actually happen, and the other two were speechless.

We sat together on the couch and I read the story Proud as a Peacock, Brave as a Lion, we joined a little boy who was helping his grandfather get ready for an annual Remembrance Day Ceremony. His grandfather told him that he was as proud as a peacock in his army uniform when he was a young lad but when he was scared of the things that were happening around him he had to be as brave as a lion. As the story continues the little boy joins his grandfather at the service where he is as quiet as a mouse and when he sees his grandfather crying he holds his hand and tells him that we must be like elephants because elephants never forget.

When we were finished the book I told them about the poppy and how it was a symbol for us to remember those who sacrificed for our freedom. It was something to remind us never to bring a war like that to the world again. The oldest muppet looked at me confused, “There are still wars going on today Mum, there is unrest all around us and countries are still fighting each other and people are still dying” he said. I told him that sometimes people are slow to learn from the mistakes of the past and that perhaps someday, hopefully he can say to his children that there is peace in the Middle East and across the globe.

Today we remember the fallen, the brave, the loved ones who are no longer with us. We remember the cost of freedom, and pray that some day soon the whole world will come to know what peace on earth is.

Today we are elephants, we will never forget.

Truly Canadian Boys

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Growing up in Canada if you don’t play hockey, watch hockey or at least know of a hockey team you are probably not considered Canadian. When I was a little girl my dad used to take me to Flames games with my cousin and my uncle. The dads would get to enjoy the game while my cousin and I enjoyed the malts, people watching and of course whenever the team scored! Hockey was never a huge part of my life but I knew who the rival team was for our city, I knew the players on the team and I knew how much my dad loved hockey. My fondest memory of going to those hockey games with my father was walking back to our parking spot after the game hand in hand with my dad as we talked about the goals that were scored we always walked by this big building where they made bread and at that time of night that smell always filled the cool night air. It was  always my favourite part of the night.

When I met Dave and found out he was a fan of the hockey team which rivalled my own I was a little scared to introduce him to my parents 😉 When we had the first muppet he was gifted with hockey jerseys, mini sticks and sleepers from both teams. The rivalry continued when we had the middle muppet and by the time we had the third muppet and enough boys for a front line up we had so much hockey paraphernalia we could have set up a fan store for both teams! Dave and I decided early on that it would be impossible to have three boys in hockey in Central Alberta and not be divorced! With him working shift work our weekends would have been filled with running muppets to different places in the province for games, practices and tournaments. When we moved to Qatar I figured that this would be easier to accomplish since in Canada most little boys play the sport. Living here they have not been exposed hockey at all. Dave would have to watch all the games online so the muppets had never seen a game and didn’t even know the NHL existed, but this fall everything changed when we brought an Apple TV box back from Canada.

My girlfriend groaned to me one day at the playground that hockey was back in her house. She is Canadian also and had bought an Apple TV. Now her husband had taken over the television watching games and her son was now wanting to sit and watch as well. One afternoon I came home to my husband sitting on the couch with a smile on his face, he had figured out the NHL channel for the Apple TV and sat happily watching hockey on a normal size screen for the first time in 3 years. The oldest muppet took a seat next to him and within five minutes I knew I had lost him to the sport!! For the next week it was hockey this and hockey that, the nets were brought out and sticks were found. The other two muppets quickly caught on to the hockey madness, they were picking their favourite teams talking about players and wanting to watch hockey before bed instead of Peppa Pig! It was if something was suddenly awakened with in them, something that was lying dormant in their blood all these years and suddenly they realized that they were truly Canadian boys.

Last weekend I watched the oldest muppet set the nets up on the road in front of our house, it started off as just him and the other two muppets. Soon another boy came along, and another, neighbours were coming out of their houses to play and watch and then there was a game of five on five in the street. Boys and some girls happily played together, the older ones showing the younger kids how to hold the stick properly and they were cheering and high five-ing each other when the teams scored. Dave came out of the house ready to leave for work, we stood watching the muppets play with their friends and he said to me “My dream has come true, I always wanted them to play road hockey, I can’t wait to play with them.”  I am sure that we will have many more memories involving the muppets and hockey. Hockey has entered the Wilson household and I don’t think it will be leaving anytime soon. I could be a hockey Mum yet.