This morning started like any other Monday. There were waffles and eggs for breakfast, laughter and giggles as backpacks were packed and wrestling as Muppets got dressed. The youngest Muppet needed to use the toilet while the other two were brushing their teeth so he went into the guest bathroom down the hall. I was downstairs packing my bag when I heard him yell down that he needed toilet paper and I yelled up to his brothers to give him a hand. The next thing he yelled down changed our regular Monday morning routine. “Mama? Kung Fu Panda isn’t moving!” (For those of you who don’t know Kung Fu Panda is our pet turtle who lives in the guest bathtub) I rolled my eyes and made my way upstairs yelling to the youngest Muppet that he was probably just sleeping and to leave him alone. When I entered the bathroom and looked at him I knew at once that he was NOT sleeping. “Is he dead?” asked the youngest Muppet. I gave him a little poke and he stayed in his starfish position and replied “Yup… I think that he is dead!” At this point the other two Muppet’s had joined us in the bathroom, the shock of the dead turtle in the bathtub quickly turned to tears and then questions about what we were going to do with him.
I looked at my watch it was 10 minutes past the time we were suppose to leave, with traffic as bad as it was I was not going to make it to work on time. I made the decision that we would wait for the evening when Daddy was home to figure out what to do with Kung Fu and started to move children from the bathroom downstairs so that we could head to school. The middle Muppet struggled down the stairs and I pulled him aside for a little cuddle. Tears stained his face and he could not seem to find the words to say what he wanted to say. I reminded him that Kung Fu was now in a better place with the 3 small turtles from the souk that didn’t make it, our dog Jack and both sets of grandparents dogs. I assured him that he had all the shrimp he wanted to eat and was probably very happy. The middle muppet nodded and we made our way out the door. The drive to school was unusually quiet and when we got to school the boys went straight to their classes to start their day.
When after school activities were done we made our way to the mall, the oldest Muppet had hockey in a few hours and it was easier to have dinner and complete homework there then it was to drive all the way home and fight traffic coming back. As we drove to the mall the questions started coming… “What if Kung Fu Panda is not really dead and he is just paralyzed? Do you think Kung Fu made it to heaven already or does it take a while to get there? What if he turns into a zombie turtle, will he come and eat our brains? Can we keep his skeleton on display? What if Lucy pees on the grave?” After twenty minutes of non stop questioning my head was about to explode. I told the Muppet’s that when we got home we would bury the turtle in the garden and say some nice things about him. I also reassured them that I did not expect any zombie attacking turtles in the near future and that if the dog peed on the grave it would be alright.
The rest of the evening went well, and when hockey was finished and we made our way home, it had been a long day already and we still had a turtle funeral to plan. My husband was home before us and we told him the plan to bury our friend in the garden. With shovel in hand he dug a small hole, the Muppet’s sat with me on the front step and the youngest started crying. He didn’t want to see his turtle buried, I cuddled him on my lap and asked him if he wanted to pick some flowers from our plants to put on his grave. The youngest shook his head “No” and the other two Muppet’s helped me gather flowers. When Kung Fu was in the ground we walked together into the back yard, we watched as my husband piled the final dump of dirt on the grave. I placed a brick down to serve as the headstone and as tears were starting to flow I began saying my favorite thing about our pet turtle. I placed the flowers on his grave and asked the Muppet’s if they wanted to say anything. To my surprise the youngest stepped forward first, “You were the best pet turtle ever” he choked out between tears “And I will miss you.” I pulled him in close along with the middle Muppet who was to teary to speak. The oldest was next to say his piece and place his flower on the grave and then my husband said the final words. Together we walked into the house laughing about all of the crazy places he used hide and scare us, how fast he could move around the house when he wanted to and the time he bit the middle Muppet.
We tucked the Muppet’s in to bed giving extra hugs and kisses a wiping away stray tears, everyone was exhausted and I hoped they would fall asleep quickly. About ten minutes later my husband and I heard the door open from the kids room, we both knew it would be the middle Muppet. He came downstairs and crawled into his dad’s lap. “I can’t think of anything good or happy to help me sleep” he said sadly. His dad started to tell him to think about all the fun times we had with Kung Fu Panda but I knew that this was only going to make him sadder. “Have you tried thinking about unicorns who fart rainbows?” I asked smiling. A little giggle escaped his mouth, “No” he said “And I don’t think that will help” he pouted. I gave him a few more funny idea’s as we walked back up the stairs and as I tucked him in he said “I will think about unicorns who fart rainbows bouncing on a bouncy castle with Kung Fu.” I smiled at him and told him that I was sure Kung Fu would love to play on a bouncy castle with a unicorn and kissed him goodnight.
Today we lost a good turtle, it was a pet that I never thought we would ever have and probably won’t ever have again. He brought a lot of joy and laughter to our lives for the past 5 years and he will be greatly missed. Godspeed Kung Fu Panda.
All of our muppets are fond of reading, we have always tried to read as a family most nights before bed and sometimes we even make up our own stories. The youngest muppet loves to be read to, flip through books and to tell his own stories. Sometimes these stories are so close to the truth that people completely believe him and we are trying to figure out how we can still encourage his little imagination but also teach him about being honest and telling the truth. The youngest muppets kindergarten teacher is the sweetest woman, the middle guy also had her as a teacher and I absolutely adore her. Every morning she has some funny little story about the youngest guy. I always hold my breath waiting for her to tell me that he has been inappropriate or done something bad, but for the most part they are just silly things.
The other day in class they were talking about what kinds of pets each student had if any. When she asked if anyone had a rabbit he raised his hand, he also raised his hand to say that he had a dog,cat and turtle. She told me that she was trying to explain to him that he didn’t have all of these pets, but he completely disagreed with her and was convinced that he had all of these pets. When we sat down to talk about it he told me that we had a bunny at Nana’s house, Gracie and Charlie at Grandma’s, the kitties outside my office and of course Kung Fu Panda. These were all true, there was a rabbit that the boys fed outside my moms place and the muppets like to help look after the dogs at Grandma’s house. Every morning they all help me feed the cats that live outside my office window so the are sort of like pets. We talked about what having a pet really meant and he smiled and nodded but I am pretty sure it went in one ear and out the other.
Yesterday I was sitting in the lunch room chatting with the youngest guys teacher, we were talking about the upcoming Eid break and what plans we had made. She said the youngest guy seemed a bit off today and I explained that we were out late the night before because of the oldest guys hockey practice. We were stuck in the mall parking lot for 20 mins before we even got out on to the street so it took us a while to get home and in to bed. The youngest was tired and he didn’t want to play outside in the morning saying it was too hot. I explained to her that he was not really an outdoor kid and that unlike his older brothers preferred to be indoors more than out. I told her I thought maybe it was because he grew up here where we had to spend so much time indoors but mostly I figured it was just his personality. Then she asked me if he remembered much of his time growing up in Brazil. I corrected her, “You mean Canada right? We have never lived in Brazil” She had a look of shock on her face, the youngest guy had completely convinced her that he had been born in Brazil!! When they were talking in class the youngest had discovered he had two friends who were born in Brazil and their parents were Brazilian, the teacher had explained to the youngest that even though he was born there he was still Canadian and that had only lived in Brazil. We both started laughing, she could not believe that the youngest guy had totally convinced her of this and I told her that I was pretty sure that this wouldn’t be the last time that this happened.
When we came home in the afternoon I sat down on the couch with the youngest guy. I asked him why he told his teacher that he had been born in Brazil, he looked up to me with his big brown eyes and said “Because I was born in Brazil Mummy” I grabbed the ipad and pulled up Google Earth, I showed him where Brazil was and where Canada was. We zoomed in on Alberta and I pointed to the city where he was born, I explained to him that we had visited lost of different countries but we have only lived in Qatar and Canada. He was thoughtful for a minute and then said “I was confused mummy because I didn’t have the right water bottle that day” I giggled a little and asked him if he said that he was born in Brazil because he wanted to be like his friends. He nodded “Maybe Mummy and I really wanted to go to Brazil” I told him that maybe one day we would go there to visit, and explained that it was important that when the teacher is asking us real questions about ourselves that we need to be truthful and not make up stories. “Next time” he said “I will tell her that when I was in Canada we went on Papa’s boat and it is as big as a house” I rolled my eyes and we cuddled up and looked at places we wanted to visit on the map.
Living here we seem to always focus on how people are different from us. The muppets are exposed to different cultures, religions, foods and also different ways of dressing. I sometimes fear that growing up here the muppets will not have that feeling of being “from” somewhere. For us it is a fine balance between what we are giving up living here and what were are gaining. The muppets story is an original one, no one else will have it, and I am sure that every day expats around the world have the same fears that I do. The youngest muppet loves to tell stories and I know that one day when he figures out the difference between fiction and non-fiction he is going to be a great story teller, and one day when he is older perhaps he will have some amazing stories to share with the world.
The middle muppet is my animal guy, I am pretty sure if we were able to he would have 2 dogs, 4 cats a horse and a couple dozen chickens. This summer in Canada he has been in his glory because everyone we visit lives on a farm, ranch or acreage and they have animals. The other day we went to visit one of my husbands old co workers who lives in Central Alberta. The muppets were thrilled the minute they stepped out of our over packed car to see two giant black dogs greeting us. After short introductions the three made fast friends with the little boy that lived there and they were off exploring.
The excitedly bounced on trampolines, drove battery operated jeeps, swung on swings and watch the cows and donkeys in the field. The middle muppet came to find me on the deck and I offered him a burger to eat. “I can’t eat now Mummy” he said catching his breath “There are kittens in the garage, really little tiny almost just born kittens!!” He asked me follow him so that he could show me where they were. We entered the dark garage and I saw the two big dogs sitting on either side of the place the kittens hid, “Don’t worry Mum” the middle guy said “They are just protecting the kitties while the Mama Cat hunts!” He comfortably walked past the big puppies, knelt down and carefully picked up one of the kittens and cradled it in his arms. “This one is Grey Paw” he said handing the small bundle to me and picking out another “We have named most of them, they are still too young to leave their mother tho so we can’t take one home yet, maybe tomorrow they will be ready.”
My heart broke a little knowing that this was not going to happen but I let him live in his dream world a little while longer. The little boy who owned the kittens came in to the garage and I asked him what they would do with the kittens once they were old enough to be away from their mom. He shrugged his shoulders and said “Don’t know, sometimes they just grow up and disappear!” I hid a chuckle thinking that sometimes that happens living on a farm, a coyote might get them, or they just wander off never to be seen again. The middle guy looked at the boy in horror, he whispered to me “Mum we need to rescue these cats before they disappear!” I gently told him that they would probably find the kittens good homes but we could not take one with us back to Doha. His bottom lip quivered and he explained that he didn’t want to leave them and that since they were so little they would not take up that much room and only make me a little allergic. I hugged him and told him again that it was jut not possible but he could play with them all he wanted that day.
The next morning the middle muppet woke up and as soon as he was dressed he was down playing with the kittens. The three went down to the barn with their dad and collected eggs for breakfast and thought it was super awesome that we got to eat the eggs that they had collected. They chased the baby calfs and fed the horses, and soon it was time to go. I found the middle guy in the garage with the kittens, he was giving each one a hug and a kiss goodbye. “Can you take a picture of them mummy so I can remember them in Doha?” I smiled and told him to get his brothers and we would take a photo together.
With all the goodbyes said we piled in to the car, I buckled the middle guy in to his seat and he said “That was pretty special hey mummy, being able to play with those kitties that were so small and cute” I agreed with him and said that maybe one day he could have a farm full of animals to care for. He smiled, got that gleam in his eye and said “I think I am going to need a lot of land Mummy, because I love so many different animals!”
Every so often something becomes an obsession in my household with the muppets. We have gone through a Thomas the Train phase, Bob the Builder, Lightning McQueen, Dinosaurs, Go Diego Go, Ben 10 and even Peppa Pig. The one thing the muppets never get tired of is animals. They will sit and watch, read or explore any thing about animals. One afternoon we accidentally discovered the television show Wild Kratts and a new obsession was born! The show combines adventure, super powers and a whole lot of information about animals. The muppets were hooked and every thing they have been playing has revolved around animal adventure this week.
This morning the muppets woke up with an idea to make a creature power suit like they have in the show. The oldest and middle muppet came up with a plan and drew it out for me.
Then they found a card board box and we got started. After I did all the cutting the three muppets decided that they needed to decorate the wings of their falcon suits.
We added some string and a few final touches and the muppets vision was done!
It is day one of spring break and my creative little muppets have me on my toes. Who knows what else they will get in to this week!
The muppets are really in to non fiction books at the moment they love learning about animals and dinosaurs the most but are also interested in space, weather, sports and the world around them. We have not read a fiction book in months, and it has made choosing a book a favourite character for the middle muppet to dress up as for reading week difficult. He wants to dress as his hero Steve Irwin. All the books he reads and loves are about animal conservation and well Steve was one of the biggest animal conservationist around so it does make sense.
At 5 o’clock this morning even before the man in the mosque started shouting the oldest came bounding in to my room. “Mum” he shouted “We found a lizard in our bedroom do you want to come and see it?” My first response was “No, do you have any idea what time it is?” But then I saw the excitement on his face and got up. I walked in to the bedroom to find the youngest muppet on the floor examining something with a magnifying glass. “Guess what Mum” the middle muppet gushed “The lizard dropped its tail, look can you see it right there” he pointed to a small tail wiggling on the ground. “The lizard must be some sort of gecko” he continued “They drop their tails when they feel threatened and the tail keeps moving tricking the predator so that the gecko can get away” This was a lot of information for me at five in the morning but I was glad that the information that he was reading was actually sticking in his brain. The lizard sat in the corner very still probably scared out of his wits, he was no bigger than my pinky finger. I told the muppets just to observe and not to touch him and to maybe leave him alone because he was obviously scared.
They watched the lizard for a few more minute and decided to play a different game. The middle muppet hugged me good morning and said “It is pretty cool when you see nature in real life isn’t it mum!” I agreed with him but only wished we didn’t have to wake so early to experience it, what a way to start our Friday.