Insane and Screen Free

no-ipad-for-youLast Thursday the oldest Muppet pulled out a slip of paper for me to sign quickly before he went to class. Between signing daily planners, homework reports and behavioral check in’s that kid could give me anything and I would sign my life away. I quickly glanced at the sheet and noticed that it was a contract to stay screen free for the whole weekend. Last year they did the screen free thing for one day and it was hard enough on me, so the thought of not having screens for the whole weekend made me cringe. I reluctantly signed the paper and encouraged him to take the other challenge of decreasing screen time and sent him on his way.

On Friday morning I was woken up at 6 o’clock by the youngest Muppet, he crawled in to my bed and whispered in my ear “Mama can I play on electronics?” I groaned yes from under the covers and hoped that it would buy me another hour of sleep. Five minutes later the yelling started, the oldest was fighting with the youngest about being screen free for the weekend. I reluctantly rolled out of bed and made my way to where the screaming match was happening. I calmed down the oldest Muppet who was feeling incredibly passionate about his views on how this weekend was going to go.

I explained to him that we would have to make a compromise with the younger Muppet’s and possibly go the decreased amount of screen time route with them. The oldest Muppet and I came to a compromise that there would be an hour of screen time allowed for the morning and then screens would be put away for the day. The youngest Muppet was not impressed with this decision and I knew that the middle guy wouldn’t be either but for the moment I had put out one fire.

The oldest Muppet sat on the couch reading while the youngest and I made pancakes, once breakfast was done the youngest started asking when he could go to a friends house. It was 7 o’clock in the morning and I explained that we still had two hours before it was an appropriate time to be ringing door bells. By 7:30am the two of them were bored out of their trees and I hadn’t even finished my coffee. I read them a story, played hockey, drew pictures, played play doh, built Lego and even gave them a bath. At 8:30am I was about ready to send them out in to the world and deal with disgruntled neighbors later. Finally 9 o’clock rolled around and I kicked the youngest Muppet outside and told him to go bother some one else.

The rest of the day was fine, we enjoyed the Thia Culture Day and lazed by the pool for the remainder of the afternoon. The next day I could not keep track of who was on what electronic at what time. The oldest Muppet continued his ban on electronics even forsaking his NHL network for the weekend. On Saturday night he came to me and asked if he could play on his iPad for an hour. He told me that he had read 2 big books over the weekend and really enjoyed it. I told him that I was proud that he made it through the weekend screen free. He smiled proudly and said “You know Mum I think I will read more books now and play less on my iPad, try and balance it out” I gave him a hug and told him that that is what the screen free weekend was all about, realizing how much we rely on screens for work, school, entertainment and fun.

I am glad that the oldest Muppet took some responsibility and pride in being screen free and hopefully in the future he will be a little bit more aware of his screen time. Until next year we will try and watch how often we are on screens and maybe next year the challenge will be a little easier.
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Let Me Tell You A Secret

IMG_6873The youngest Muppet was very excited all week last week, not only was his class getting ready to celebrate the 100th day of kindergarten they were also preparing a Valentines Tea for the parents. The youngest and I were in the kitchen on Wednesday morning, he was helping me make breakfast and grabbed the milk out of the fridge for me. “Mummy?” he asked “Are you coming to my class tomorrow?” I told him that I would be coming to his Valentines Tea and I was very excited to join him. “Did you write me a letter Mummy?” he asked batting his long eye lashes. I smiled and told him that I had written him a secret letter and that we could read it together at the party. He was very excited and he happily sat at the breakfast table and told his brothers that I had written him a love letter.

The two older Muppets had both done the Valentine’s Tea in kindergarten; this tea would be my third and my last. I enjoy all these little activities with the Muppets classes and I know that as they get older there will be fewer if any.

We walked to my office on Valentines Day morning and the youngest Muppet helped me feed the office kitties. As he filled the bowl full of food he said “You know mummy I have a surprise for you today.” I replied and told him that I couldn’t wait to see the surprise. “Well…” he said “I could tell you what it is” I smiled at him and told him that the whole point of a surprise was not to know so that the person could be surprised! He nodded his head and placed the cat food outside the door. “Well…” he said “I made you a card and it is pink your favorite color and it has a heart on it and I am going to give it to you today!” I laughed at his inability to keep a secret and told him that I was excited to see his card. He looked like he had more to tell me and as I walked him to class he said “I also wrote you a letter, do you want me to tell you what it says?” I told him that I would rather be surprised and have him read it to me. His little face fell after I said that I stopped him on the path way and asked him to tell me what he wrote in his card. He smiled at me and said “Dear Mummy comma I love you very much period” I gave him a hug and thanked him and as we walked to the class I told him how I was very excited to come and have tea with him.

Later that day I sat with the youngest Muppet on my lap, he cuddled in close and proudly showed me his card. I gave him a big squeeze and I gave him my letter, he read it to me with out any help. After he was done reading he said “What was the best part of my surprise Mummy” I kissed him on the cheek and said that the best part of the surprise was that he read the letter that I wrote him all by his self. He smiled proudly back at me and then asked me politely if I would like a cup of tea. We sat together me with my tea and chocolate cake and him with his juice and cupcake. I shared a few bites of my cake with him and he offered me a bite of his cupcake. When the party ended I gave him a hug and told him that I had to go back to work. He walked me to the door and said “You know what my favorite part of the surprise was?” he had a cheeky grin on his face as I asked him what it was “Eating your chocolate cake!” I laughed and gave him a high five then watched as he skipped off to join his friends.

My last Valentines Tea with the youngest Muppet was a memorable one, even if he told me about all of his little surprises.

Little Farm on the… Desert?

The Middle Muppet's Class at the Farm

It was an incredibly exciting week for the middle Muppet who not only had his 2nd Grade Musical but also a field trip to a local families farm. When I first heard about the field trip to the farm I wondered what exactly they grew in the desert and what kinds of animals would be living there. In Canada you will find all sorts of “Farm” animals on local farms from chickens to cows, horses and pigs. I didn’t think that they would be able to have cows grazing in the desert fields and I knew that there defiantly wasn’t going to be any pigs. I had heard stories about local families keeping cheetahs and even lions as pets so I was kinda excited when I was asked to accompany the grade two classes to the AlFardan Farm.

This morning we arrived at school bright and early so that we could make sure everything was organized for the trip. After a long ride with a bus full of seven year olds we arrived at the farms location. I was relieved when I was finally able to step off the bus and took in the amount of greenery that surrounded us. As we walked to the area we would have a snack we watched the gazelles jump around in one of the enclosures. The middle Muppet pointed out the big cows being walked down the path way and he told me that this was his friends farm and that he had his own playground!

We ate our snack and set off to explore, our first stop was the green houses where they were garden plants, tomatoes and cucumber. The students shouted out their knowledge about how plants were able to survive and we looked for parts of the plant like the roots and the stem. As we walked down the paved pathway lined with mature trees I remarked to one of the other parents that it didn’t even feel like we were in Qatar. We soon arrived at the bird sanctuary where we found parrots, peacock, flamingos and guinea fowl. The middle muppet made me laugh when he said that he could not believe that his friend had all of these animals for pets.

The class took the bus to our next stop, the garden area of the farm. We walked through rows of corn, cactus, tomatoes, eggplant and cabbage. As we looked for clues to the scavenger hunt provided we saw the middle Muppets teacher and her group looking at something. She called out that they had found a baby duckling and she was trying to get it in to a wooden crate with out touching it. We managed to rescue the lost duckling and call the lady in charge to come and take it to her vet who was on site. All the kids were so excited to see the scared little duckling up close and the middle Muppet suggested to me that maybe we could take it home and it could live with us since his friend seem to have an overabundance of birds. I laughed and told him that we already had a turtle living in our bath tub and I didn’t think Kung Fu would enjoy the company.

We were nearing the end of our tour and everyone was getting hot and tired. The teacher told them we were going to see the animals now, the middle Muppet jumped with excitement. We walked though the series of animal enclosures together as a group. We did not find any horses or chickens but we did find some Arabian Oryx, Camels, Emus a Wallaby and lots of different sheep and goats. They had a giant cage full of bunnies which the middle guy thought was the best thing every and several Lammas and an Ostrich. My animal loving muppet was in his glory and continued to ask the vet who was walking with us questions about all the animals he cared for.

After lunch and a quick play on the family’s massive playground we made our way back to the busses. The family’s daughter with a tractor full of fresh vegetables greeted us; there was enough food for each student and adult to take one or two items and then some! We loaded up the bus with all the beautiful vegetables and traveled back to the school. At the end of the day the middle Muppet came to my office with a cauliflower, an eggplant and three tomatoes. He gave me a hug and told me that he had the best day ever, I kissed his head and told him that I had a great day as well. “You know mum” he said as he grabbed a snack out of my bag “When I grown up I am going to have a place like that farm, so that I can take care of sick animals and help them return to the wild.” I told him that is was a great idea and that I am sure his brothers would love to help him. “It could be The Wilson Farm” he said smiling “And it will be so cool!”

I have no doubt that the middle guy with work with animals some day, maybe he will just rescue 6 cats, 2 dogs and a parrot or maybe he will have his dream of a farm. Either way his compassion for these creatures makes me proud every day, I was glad that I got to share a new experience with him our first Desert farm trip!