Turkey Day

thanksgiving wallpaper9

The youngest Muppet woke me up yesterday morning whispering four words.  “Happy turkey day Mama” he kissed me on the cheek and left the room. I got up and went down stairs to find the three Muppets on the couch. The three of them each greeted me me with a good morning and happy thanksgiving. Since moving to Doha we have adopted American Thanksgiving as our own. Canadian Thankgiving is in October and it is always a busy month for my husband at work and with the kids at the American School it was easier for us to celebrate in November. Plus we have some amazing friends who put on a great feast every year.

The youngest Muppet had been looking forward to turkey for the past few days. We had talked about Thanksgiving and the three Muppets had been learning about it  in their classes at school as well. Yesterday morning my door bell rang bright and early. It was our neighbor form across the street with a pumpkin pie in  each hand. Their oven had stopped working and they had two pies, two big turkeys and a bunch of other Thanksgiving food to cook. After a little reorganizing we we were able to find ovens around the neighborhood to cook all of the food and by 5 o’clock the fest was ready.

The youngest Muppet inhaled his first plate of turkey in record time, he came and asked for seconds before I had even filled my first plate. With full bellies we all sat around the table and enjoyed each others company as the kids played around us. Just before dessert our host gathered the kids together and we all said what we were thankful for this thanksgiving. Most of the answers were similar and what your would expect… family, food and friends but there was one more common thing we were all thankful for.

We were all thankful for the adopted family we had found in Doha. All of us live so far away from our family and it can make holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas hard.  These people have become our emergency contacts, our sisters and brothers, our children’s aunts and uncles and the people we can count on to be there in good times and bad. We are so lucky that we have found such an amazing group of friends here in Doha and I am truly thankful.

Advertisements

Rain Day

IMG_0533

The first year we moved to Doha the country received the most rain it had seen in years. It happened to be the week my parents came to visit and it also happened to be incredibly cold despite being 18 degrees outside. We drove to the beach with warm jackets and blankets, hung out for a few minutes so that my mother could say she put her toes in the Gulf and drove home. Over the years we have had our days of rain, but it is here and gone before the day is out.

Yesterday morning we rushed around the house as we usually do, the Muppets were yelling about missing library books, needing goggles for swimming and packing concert clothes. As I opened the door to go and pack the truck we were surprised to see the rain falling. My desert babies (the Middle and Youngest) immediately ran upstairs to change in to pants and the oldest and I packed up the truck. The Muppets mood was happy on the way to school and the three of them commented about how much they loved the rain and wished it would rain more often. By the time we had arrived at school we just had a light drizzle coming down on our heads. There was talk all day about parts of the region flooding because of extreme weather. We joked about the school being closed the following day but no one had their hopes too high considering the skies were blue and the sun was shining.

This morning I woke up and opened the curtains, it looked like it had rained a little over night since the back garden was still wet but nothing serious. We packed up for a busy day of school, the muppets had a pajama day, Thanksgiving Celebrations, movie day and hockey in the evening. I told the boys that I wanted a photo of them in their pi’s to send to grandparents and we made our way out to the front step to take the annual photo. The youngest opened the door first and shouted “OH MY GOSH LOOK AT THE RAIN” The four of us ran to the door way, it was coming down in buckets and I stood there for a moment trying to remember which cupboard the Canadian Rain coats were in and if we had any umbrella’s in this country.

I got all three boys and all of our gear in the truck with out getting completely soaked and we made our way out of the compound. The oldest Muppet started freaking out, “Mum this weather is terrible I don’t think we should be driving in this rain!” I told him that I had driven through much worse and that it was only a little rain. It was more than a little rain, the street next to the compound was already flooding and this country has no drainage system a downpour like this is a big problem. We drove out on to the main road and slowly made out way to school, the traffic wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be and we pulled in to the school super early.

Half the parking lot was already under water so I decided to park on higher ground and hope for the rain to stop before we had to enter the school. It started raining harder and I decided to try and drop the kids off right at the gate so that they wouldn’t be totally drenched! I stepped out of the truck on to a fast moving stream up to my calves, as I made my way up to the guard house one of the security guards told me we couldn’t be on campus yet for security reasons. I ran back to the truck as quickly as I could but I was already totally soaked. I threw off my drenched flats and we parked in the parking lot and waited to see what was going to happen. For a few minutes we watched as security, teachers and leadership staff assessed the situation. Then the text came school was cancelled due to unsafe conditions, it was officially a “Rain Day”.

The Muppets were ecstatic, however they quickly changed their tune after we had been stuck in traffic for 45 minutes. The who city was a mess, streets were underwater or closed and people were making their own detours through sanded areas. Pick up trucks were pushing small cars through the deep waters and police were out in full force trying to direct traffic.

When we finally arrived home the Muppets went straight inside and changed in to their Crocs. The three of them had their scooters out of the house in seconds and were racing up and down the street splashing through puddles. The day was spent changing from wet clothes to dry clothes, mopping floors and drying Muppets. By 6:00 PM the puddles had started to disappear, Lucy and I found the Muppets and their friends enjoying one of the last big puddles on the street. The neighborhood kids drove bikes and scooters through the mucky puddle, every one of them soaked from head to toe and enjoying the last few minutes before they would be called in for a bath. It would be back to school the next day for most of them but lucky for us it is Thanksgiving weekend.

As I walked my drowned rats home the youngest muppet told me how excited he was for turkey day tomorrow “You know what I am thankful for Mama” he said with his toothless grin “Rainy Days!” I agreed that even amongst the chaos and madness it was a pretty great day.  We have had a Sand Day and a Rain Day now living in the desert, nothing compared to the Snow Days in Canada but we will take it if it means an extra long weekend.

Public Speaking

  
The oldest muppet has been learning all about persuasive writing this month. To finish off the unit he has to write a persuasive argument and present it to the class. The oldest muppet decided to write his persuasive argument about why he thought he deserved a dog for a pet. He told his father and I that he was going to try and convince us to get him another dog. 

After many revisions and changes he was ready to present his argument to us. As he started his speak he told me how nervous he was to speak in front of many people. I told him that I felt the same way and that even at his aunts wedding I was shaking and scared when I got up to do my speech. I told him that I had written certain things to help me along the way on my speech. I wrote things like “slow down” “eye contact” and “smile”. The oldest thought is would be a great idea for him to do the same.  

We sat down and highlighted places for him to make hand gestures. I wrote the words “eye contact” on the second page since he forgot to do that as he was practicing. I also wrote don’t forget to smile and he made some notes of his own. After practicing a few times for his father and I he felt that get was ready to do his speech in front his class. He ended up being one of the last people to present his persuasive argument. 

I wished him luck the morning of his big presentation. At the end of the school day he told me he thought he did well and remembered all of his cues and was only a little nervous. Today he brought everything home for us to review. He showed us his progress from start to finish and as we got to the end he told me that he got all 4s on his project!! I told him how proud I was of him not only for getting the 4s but for how he handled his fear of public speaking. 

The little boy who sang with his back to the audience at his first Christmas concert presented himself as a strong and confident speaker. He smiled and gave me a hug, ” I couldn’t have done it with out your and dads help” he said. I gave him a squeeze back and felt my heart swell with pride. 

Hockey Week In Doha

f7e669d6e8112bef2d44397c51834715

When we travel home to Canada in the summer time we have a long list of things to bring back to Doha. This usually includes, cold medication, certain spices we can’t get here, books, Lego and many other things that are either hard to find here or are just better from Canada. One of the main things on our list this year was hockey equipment for the Middle and Youngest Muppet. After watching the oldest Muppet play all last year they were both eager to join in the fun. I had set the date in the calendar to register for the new hockey season thinking that with jet lag and starting work and school I was sure to forget. By the end of August the three boys were registered and ready to hit the ice. The oldest was placed on a new team this year and the other two would have to have a skating assessment to see where they would be placed.

When we arrived at the rink for the skating assessment the two younger Muppets were excited and ready to get on the ice. I was a little nervous since the two of them hadn’t been on skates for a few months and they were both a bit wobbly. The two of them shuffled around the rink slow and steady while the other kids did laps around them and the oldest Muppet was out there to encourage them to keep going. At the end of the assessment both Muppets were exhausted and ready for a break. They had done really well for not skating for so long but the coaches agreed that they would both need a bit more practice before they would be able to place them on a team. They suggested a few weeks of the learn to skate classes and then we could reassess them when we felt they were ready. I agreed that it was probably a good idea but I had two very disappointed Muppets on my hands.

I told the middle and youngest boy that we just needed to practice more so that they could keep up with the other children. The following day after school with skates, helmets and gloves in tow we went straight to the mall. Public skating was scheduled for 90 minutes and I wanted to find out more about the learn to skate program. Once I got the three boys on the ice I asked about signing the two younger guys up for a few weeks of lessons. The woman at the front desk informed me that they had been full since the beginning of August and that she would call me if they had a space open up. I knew that this was a phone call that I would never receive so I looked at the public skating schedule for the week and figured I would just have to bring them myself so they could just practice. For two weeks we went to the rink every day that we could after school, the Muppets were starting to get the hang of skating a little faster and both of them had more confidence on the ice.

The following week we went to continue our “skating lessons” only to find that they had changed the public skate timing and now had figure skating and the learn to skate program in it’s place. The only time the public skate was on was in the morning and early afternoon and then at 10:00pm, none of these times were going to work for us. Frustrated I begged the coordinator of the learn to skate program to take two more kids, I assured her that they would only need to be in the classes for a few weeks before they were strong enough to join hockey. I was told that it was impossible, I hopelessly pleaded with the learn to skate people to let me teach my own kids and that I would pay them to use the ice. To say I was desperate was an understatement.

We took the oldest to hockey later that week and I expressed my desperation to a few of the parents there. I wasn’t sure how I was going to be able to manage taking the Muppets to the rink across town a few times a week and maintain my sanity. Thankfully the Eid break was coming up and this meant that there would be public skating all day for at least a week. I vowed to take the kids as much as we could over the break and decided that after the holiday we  would ask for both of them to be reassessed and hopefully end my teaching children to skate madness.

The week we returned to school I ran in to one of the coaches at pick up time. He told me to bring the middle Muppet to skate with the team that Wednesday and he would see where he was at. Later that night we received an email inviting the youngest Muppet to join the Gecko team of Under 6 year olds. Since his birthday was before December 31st he was able to join that age group and I graciously accepted the spot.

Wednesday arrived quickly and after school we made our way to what was quickly becoming our third home. Once everyone was fed and homework completed I suggested to the middle Muppet that we should get his hockey gear on so that he was ready to go once the practice started. As I pulled on his jersey I noticed he looked a little nervous, I asked him if he was excited about skating in all of his hockey gear or if he was feeling a bit worried. “I am a bit nervous Mummy” he admitted with a shy smile “I am scared I will not be good enough and then I won’t get to play hockey”  at that point my heart broke for the middle muppet the last thing I wanted was for him to be disappointed again. I asked him if he thought his skating had improved over the past few weeks and he told me that he was proud of himself and that every time he went on the ice he got better and more confidant. I told him that it was alright to feel a bit scared but that if he went out tired his best and showed the coaches how hard he had worked that I was sure they would find a place on the team for him. I gave the middle Muppet a big hug and he cautiously made his way on to the ice.

At the end of the practice the middle Muppet skated off the ice with a huge smile on his face, “Mummy, I had so much fun!” he said “Hockey is great and I really want to do this again next week!” The coaches agreed that his skating had improved enough for him to join the team so now all three Wilson boys are in hockey. We travel to the rink two nights a week and we are there two days on the weekends, the security guards recognize me from a mile away and the lady at Mc Donalds knows our Saturday morning breakfast order before I say it. The Muppets absolutely love playing hockey so it makes all the running around worth it.

This year I am a mom of three hockey boys, three times the equipment, three times the practices and three times the games. I was never one that wanted to push my boys in to this sport but seeing how much fun they are having and the skills they are learning makes me glad that hockey chose them at the moment and I am sure that the Muppets will turn this princess in to a hockey Mom sooner or later.

The Do De Song

cuddle28129-1We sat at a restaurant in the mall on Monday night eating dinner, the Muppets were telling me about everything that had happened in the day. The oldest Muppet was excited about learning the xylophone from a Australian musician that was visiting the school and the middle guy had learned a new method of multiplication. The youngest Muppet sat quietly curled up in his chair his spaghetti untouched in front of him. I asked him if he wanted to share anything about his day, he frowned, shook his head and told me that he was cold. I moved his chair closer to mine and pulled out his jacket from the bag. It was going to be another long night for the Muppets, the oldest had hockey and they had been at school all day.

I began to feed the youngest guy praying that he was just tired and not coming down with something. After we finished dinner we made our way towards the ice rink. The middle Muppet told me that as a special treat his grade didn’t have homework but he still had to read and do a bit of math so we pulled up a table and the older two started on their homework. I pulled out the youngest boys writing book and asked if he was up to writing out a few words with me. He looked like he was going to fall over so I put everything away and just told him to come over and cuddle me. He quickly crawled in to my lap and I started rocking him slowly something that I do on instinct and don’t even thing about it. I could hear him quietly humming a song and I instantly recognized the tune. It was a song that I had sung to all of the Muppets… the do de song we call it.

By his humming I could tell he wanted me to sing it so I started and continued to rock him slowly. After a few minutes the youngest Muppet looked up and me “That song you sing Mummy, it always calms me down and makes me feel better” he said softly “Did you sing that to me when I was a baby too?” I told him that I had sung it to all the boys and that Grandma had taught Mummy the song. I explained that Grandma used to sing it to Daddy and Auntie Cerys when they were babies to help them relax and feel safe. He smiled at me gave me a big kiss and cuddled in closer.

It was at this moment that I realized we had been moving at warp speed for the past few weeks which was far too fast for the youngest guy. He needed me to slow down and do this more so that he had a chance to relax and feel safe. After about 10 minutes of cuddling we both felt better and the youngest guy told me he was ready to work on his homework. I kissed him on the head and thanked him for the cuddle. It was a gentle reminder that I need to slow down and relax with my kids so that we all fee human.

Today marks the end of a long few weeks of my husband working nonstop and me single parenting. We will find a new routine and our life will start to get back to normal, keeping in mind that we all need to slow down once in a while for a cuddle.