Tom Girl

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The Muppets sat at the dinner table tonight munching on pizza and chatting about their days. The middle Muppet had enjoyed his swimming day in PE, the youngest had a new bruise forming on his knee to share and the oldest was explaining what he had to do for homework.

We started talking about some of the High School and Middle School teams competing in a tournament at the school. The oldest was telling us that his teachers husband coached the basket ball, and that our Associate Principals wife was the assistant coach. The middle Muppet pipped in “Mrs. D is good at sports she is a Tom Girl.” His comment caught me off guard since I had never really used that term before and I asked him why he thought she was a Tom Girl. He smiled at me “Well mum, she is really, really good at sports and stuff.” I thought for a moment “What else makes you a Tom Girl?” I asked “Would Mummy be considered a Tom Girl?” The middle guy burst in to giggles “No Mum, you are not at all a Tom Girl, you don’t like sports and not to be rude but you like to sit on the couch a lot!” The other two Muppets joined in the giggle fest “Also Tom Girls don’t like floofy things or pink stuff” the Middle guy added.  “You know” began the oldest Muppet “Mum used to play cricket or base ball… or something… um Tee-Ball when she she was a kid, so she likes to play sports”

I smiled at the oldest guy, there was no point in trying to impress him at this point. “You know what Mummy’s favorite part about Tee-Ball was?” I asked. All three Muppets shrugged their shoulders. I told them that I liked the fact that our team was named the Flamingos and that our jerseys had pink on them. The middle Muppet laughed “So I was right!” he declared. “You are not a Tom Girl” I shook my head “Most defiantly not!”

I told them that I like things that are sparkly, fluffy and floofy, things that are pink and purple and smell nice. I am terrible at sports, completely uncoordinated and I don’t like getting dirty. All three Muppets were in a fit of giggles at this point, I told them that God had given me little boys so that I could learn to love sports, bugs, dinosaurs, mud and farts. Every day the Muppets surprise me with some strange fact about animals, bring me presents of bits of glass and rocks and amaze me with just how dirty they can get. Our lives are never dull and I wouldn’t trade my stinky hockey playing boys for all the tutus and tiara’s in the world.

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Rain Day

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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.

Hockey Week In Doha

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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 Art of a Quiet War

playing_soldiers_rexWith the end of October coming next week the weather is starting to feel a bit more manageable. The Muppets are getting outside usually once in the morning for recess and then they are able to play outside in the late afternoon. When they do they still come home covered in sweat because lets face it my boys don’t walk anywhere. This month in door play in our house has been restricted to quiet play, Lego, video games and watching movies. My husband has been on nights for the past few weeks so he is sleeping during the day. Our house is usually filled with boys running around, yelling, wrestling shooting guns at each other or slashing light sabers. It has been tough on the boys not to have this freedom but it has forced them to come up with some new games and to think about the volume of their voices.

This morning I came down stairs to make breakfast before hockey and found them having a full scale nerd war. Hockey nets were set up against walls for shelters, blankets fell over pulled out couches and tables and chairs made bearers for each person. Now normally I would hear the three of them get up and there was no way that I wouldn’t know that they had a Nerf battle going on, but there they were as quiet as could be sing hand signals and whispers to communicate. Needless to say I was impressed! The oldest looked up from his hiding place under the couch “Sorry Mum did we wake you?” I smiled and told him that I didn’t even hear them and thought that they were still sleeping. He beamed at me “Good” he said “I was hoping our quiet war wouldn’t wake you up.”

It has been a long few weeks for the five of us and it will hopefully come to an end soon but it is nice to see that the Muppets are old enough to adapt a little bit better to certain situations. I will continue to enjoy the silent wars for a little while longer. Our house will soon be filled with noise and chaos once more, and to be honest I like it that way too.

The Olden Days

  
We woke up yesterday morning to another rainy day. Since returning from the lake a few days ago the weather has been a bit wonky. The muppets were happy to see the rain falling and puddles forming on the roads however they were less impressed with the thunder and lighting storms, hail and cold temperatures that accompanied it. My mother and I looked at the forecast for the rest of the week and with sunshine predicted for the next day we decided that we needed to do something outdoors for our last full day in Canada. 
Tomorrow we will start our journey back to the heat, humidity and sand. The muppets had suggested going swimming at the lake, the water park or the Calgary Zoo. I reminded them that they had been swimming in a lake for two weeks straight and that when we get back to Doha that swimming would be the only activity we will be able to do outside for some time. I suggested that we did something new that we had not done in Calgary before and brought up Heritage Park. It was a place that I had only brought the muppets to once when they had turned the train there in to Thomas the Tank Engine and I am pretty sure there were only two of them at that point. I told the boys about the different things that were there and how we would be able to see how people lived years ago. 
The three muppets were very curious about what types of things they would see at Heritage Park. I hadn’t been there in years but told them about the steam engine that they could ride on as well as a candy shop they could visit. The oldest muppet thought it sounded interesting and the middle muppet agreed stating that riding on a train and going to a candy shop sounded like the perfect day. We continued to talk about the things I remembered from Heritage Park. I told the muppets about the bakery, the school house and that there was a house there that people thought was haunted. “Is the house really haunted Mum or are you just joking?” asked the middle muppet. I told him that people had seen lights in the third level of the house even though there was no electricity in the house. That their had been sightings of shadows in the windows, and there had even been a few people who had seen a woman in a flowered dress holding a child in her arms in one of the rooms but when they looked back she was no where to be found. The muppets sat in silence for a minute then the oldest boy spoke, “None of that will happen when we are there right Mum?” I assured him that ghosts would not bother him if he didn’t want to bothered, and that they were stories that other people had told and may not be true. 
The next day we made our way to Heritage Park, the muppets were super excited and each rambled on about what they wanted to see first. The oldest wanted to ride the train, the youngest wanted to find the haunted house and the middle guy of course wanted the candy shop. We made our way through the park enjoying the sights our tour guide the youngest muppet pointed out everything that he saw from “the olden days” He pointed out a box by the washroom. “Look mummy that is where you could buy a news paper in the olden days!” I giggled and told him that it was actually something that they used today to sell newspapers and that little boys used to sell newspapers on the side of the road back then. He laughed and assured me that they also used it in the olden days as well. We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the Park. The muppets learned how people used to ground wheat in to flour, saw an old school house, bought cookies at the bakery and decided that the “old fashioned” dentist was scarier than the dentist that they go to today. Throughout the whole afternoon the three of them prodded me with questions about the “haunted house” on the park. The oldest had come up with the idea that people had played a trick and that there were no such things as ghosts. The middle guy was certain that he was going to see a shadow when we got there and the youngest guy had not stopped talking about the ghost woman in the house. As we walked towards the Prince House I told the boys that they were going to be disappointed with the lack of huntedness the house was going to have. They all told me that they didn’t care and just wanted to see it so we made our way up the sidewalk to the house. 

Cautiously the three muppets stepped inside. They looked in each of the rooms on the main level and then decided to make their way to the second level. We looked in each of the rooms the three of them stopped in front of the nursery door. “This is where they saw the ghost woman” the youngest said, they stood completely silent. I broke the silence by tickling the middle muppet and saying “BOO!” All three muppets jumped, and the middle guy pushed me “Why would you do that Mum!” He yelled “You shouldn’t scare someone in a hunted house!” I laughed and apologized for scaring him and we walked down the stairs together. 
As we were walking out the front door the youngest muppet shouted “Where did the hat go!?” I looked at him confused. “There was a hat hanging on the hook when we came in, and now it is gone…” he explained as he pointed to the hooks by the front entrance. The middle muppet backed up his story saying that he had noticed the hat as well. “I think she took it” said the youngest. “Who?” I asked still not sure what he was talking about. “The lady in the flower dress mum, I am sure she took the hat!” He said completely sure of himself. We walked out of the house the youngest still jabbering away about the ghost woman. “That is kinda freaky” the middle guy said “It is kinda fun being a little scared like that, that house is totally haunted!” 
After a trip to the candy shop the five of us made our way back to the start of the park. The oldest walked ahead with his grandmother and the two younger guys walked with me. They were both telling me scary stories that their friends had shared with them. “This was a great day” the youngest muppet said as he shoved another piece of candy in his mouth. I agreed that it was a great way to spend our last day in Canada. “Maybe next year Mum we can come back and say hi to the ghost lady” the youngest guy said “And visit the candy shop again too” he smiled. 
I am pretty sure that the hat in the house was taken by some one working at the park but when the muppets tell their story it will be the ghost lady in the flower dress that took it. Tomorrow we head back to our other home, back to the heat, routine and daddy. We all have mixed feelings about leaving this year but have lots of fun memories from a wonderful summer with friends and family. And now the muppets have a ghost story to share with their friends.