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.

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. 

Shining Star

IMG_7719The Muppet’s had a special treat at school last week, the fifth grade classes had put on a performance of Peter Pan. The youngest Muppet was beaming from ear to ear when I went to pick him up from class after he had seen the show. “I loved it Mummy” he said skipping down the hallway, he proceeded to act out his favorite part of the show. He said it was really good even if Captain Hook didn’t really look like the real Captain Hook. I asked him how his rehearsal was going for his Kindergarten Musical, and told him that in less than a week he would be on the same stage. He smiled and said “I know Mummy, we are all going to be stars!”

We sat in the car earlier this week on the way to school, I could hear the youngest boy humming in the back seat. The middle guy asked him what he was singing, the youngest told him he was practicing in his head for his big show the following day. The middle Muppet grabbed his hand and told him how much fun he was going to have. “I remember in the olden days when I did my Kindergarten concert” he reminisced, “I can’t even remember what I was it was so long ago” The oldest piped up from the very back of the truck “You were a sheep, and I was a cow, how can you not remember that!” All three Muppet’s giggled and the older boys told the youngest all about their first stage experience. As we pulled up to the school and got all the bags from the trunk the I heard the youngest Muppet whisper to the oldest “You are going to come and watch me right Rhysie” the oldest told him that of course he would be there and gave him a high five.

The big day arrived and after the youngest had gotten in to his concert clothes and brushed his teeth he came to me to help him brush his hair. When we were finished he looked at me with a cheeky smile and said “So mama do I look like a star?” I laughed and told him that he would be the star of the show for me and that I couldn’t wait to see him perform. We sat in the theater waiting for the KG kids to take the stage. The smallest Muppet’s class finally took their places and I could see him, scanning the room looking for us and his brothers. When he found us he smiled a big smile and gave a little wave, when the lights went down and they started the show the youngest proudly performed each action and sang each word. It came to classes part in the musical and the 18 students took their places at the front of the stage. He was so serious as found his mark and then sang his little heart out. When the show was over his class made their way down the hallway back to their classroom, I saw the youngest unbutton his shirt and take off his headband, he wiped his head and said “phew that was hard work!” I giggled and gave him a high five “Where are my flowers mummy!?” he said with a small amount of demand in his voice. I was a little shocked and told him that I hadn’t gotten him any flowers. “You know mum, you get flowers for someone after they do a show, you should really know that!” I laughed and ruffled his hair and told him I would try to remember that for next time.

It was the last Kindergarten class for the Wilson household I probably should have shed a little tear but I was just happy that he enjoyed himself so much. When I tucked him in that night he told me again how much fun he had on stage “Was a I star Mummy?” I kissed him goodnight at told him that he was fabulous and that I couldn’t wait to see his next production. He smiled a big smile “I know I was really good Mummy” the three Muppet’s laughed and bid them goodnight.

There is no doubt that there are big things waiting for the smallest Muppet and if he ends up being a big star at least he has the diva thing down pat.

The Shoot Out

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One of our first trips we took as a family when we moved to Doha was to Tanzania. The muppets were five, three and two and everyone thought we were insane travelling with them to such a place. Not only was it something my husband and I had aways dreamed of doing but my very good friend was getting married there. When we started to work out the logistics of traveling to an unknown place with three muppets under five we were both a little nervous. But we both knew that this was a once in a life time chance and it is one of our families favorite adventures. Not only did we make some amazing memories but we were able to meet some amazing people and see life in Africa from a completely different perspective.

Our good friends who’s wedding we attended on our trip have worked together with the surrounding community to build a school for the young children of the Mlimani Park village this past year. The boys and I were able to visit one of the schools while we were there and the oldest still remembers being shocked that there were no toys, computers and no playground for the students to play on.

A few months ago I showed the boys the video our friend had made talking about the school the three of them were happy and excited for the children of the village. I told the Muppets the Auntie L and Uncle L were trying to raise money to build a playground for the kids of the village. The middle Muppet thought that it would be a great idea to hold a bake sale or something to help them.

At the Muppets school they teach the students to be positive active global citizens. The younger grades participate in service projects as a grade level and are actively involved in the process of advertising for their event, collecting or selling items and learning about who or what they are raising the money for. In the higher grades the students are encouraged to create their own service projects. There are always kids organizing bake sales, used book sales or selling loom bands to raise money for one cause or another.

The middle Muppet was keen to run his own bake sale to raise money for the playground but I reminded him that in Lower Elementary he wasn’t able to do his own service project. I asked the oldest if he would be interested in doing something like a bake sale to raise money for the playground. He looked at me disinterested,”You know Mum” he started “Me and my friends we don’t really do the bake sale thing, we just like to play soccer and stuff” I told him that I understood giving up a recess or two would be a sacrifice for him but then I said “Just think of how proud you will be this Summer when you can tell Uncle L about the money you raised for the playground” (I know guilt trip right!) He told me he would think about it but the reluctance in his voice made me decide not to push him too hard.

The following week at school I presented the idea of raising money for the playground to some of the leadership team at the school. Everyone was very excited and we decided to plan a hotdog sale to help raise some funds. A colleague of mine has a son in the same grade as the oldest and she suggested that the boys do something together with some friends to help raise money as well. I told her about my conversation with the oldest and we decided to leave it in the boys hands and see what unfolded.

A few days later the school counselor came in to my office. She told me that the oldest had come to see her and that he and some of his friends were going to do a Hockey Shoot Out to raise money for the playground. I was surprised when she told me the news, when I had left the idea with the oldest things didn’t look promising. When I spoke to the oldest after school he acted as if it was no big deal. He told me that he needed some help with the posters and that we were going to have to get some prizes together. I asked him how much money he was going to charge per shot and he said “We are going to have to charge like 5 riyals a shot mum, because we are going to need a lot of money if we want to build a playground!” I laughed and then convinced him that it might be too much for one shot and that charging 5 riyals for 3 shots would probably be alright.

The month past and the boys planned their event. I helped them design some posters and me and the other mom found some great prizes for the kids. This week the boys were ready to go. They were super cute organizing kids in to lines, collecting money and giving out prizes. Of course the oldest Muppet was in goal so he was happier than a pig in sh*t. We had anticipated a big rush of kids but soon realized that the location of the Shoot Out was a little out of the way of the normal recess traffic. At the end of the 2nd day the boys had raised close to 500 riyals. The oldest Muppet came to me after school today and told me that they were going to do the shoot out again next week. He was excited at the prospect of raising more money and of being goalie for 2 more recesses. He also told me that we needed more posters and bigger signs and that we would move it to a different place. “Then I am pretty sure we will make enough money for the playground!”

I told him that I was proud of him and his friends for coming up with a great idea to help raise money for the playground. I also told him that whatever money they were able
to raise would help out with the park and that sometimes it takes lots of people to get a big project like this off the ground. I said that he and his friends should be proud of their contribution.

I am grateful that our boys are learning in an environment that encourages them to think like positive active global citizens. They are growing up in such a privileged lifestyle that I think it is important that they learn about giving back. We are very proud of the oldest guy for all of his efforts and hopefully we will be able to raise enough money to get this play ground built!

If you are interested in more information about Boma Africa and all the great work that they do click on this link here.

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The First License

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The Wilson family has been trying to adjust back in to our normal schedule of waking up early and enduring a full day of school and work. All of us have been dragging our butts a little bit since we enjoyed 10 days of lounging about, sleeping in and eating more food then necessary.

The first week back at school has been an eventful one for the oldest Muppet. He woke up in a great mood Sunday morning excited about the fact that one day this week it was going to be his VIP day.

A few weeks ago the oldest and I worked on a poster all about him, we included photos of his family, our pets, his favorite foods and things that he loved to do. Each student in his class would have a special day devoted to them and they would have a chance to share their posters and a special object for show and tell.

I came home from work today to find the oldest on the couch watching hockey (his favorite place in the world at the moment other than the ski hill) As I unpacked the groceries he came in to the kitchen to tell me about his day. “You know what Mum?” he said excitedly “Today was the best day ever, not only was it my VIP day but I got my cursive writing license today too!” He proudly showed me his “Writing License” and I gave him a big hug and told him how proud I was of him. I had forgotten about how hard he had been working on his cursive writing. He told me before we went on Spring Break that he had written a letter to the Principal (in cursive) to show him that he was ready to move from a “Cursive Writing Permit” to a full on license.

The principal had brought the letter into my office to show me before the break, his writing was awesome and we both remarked how much better it was than his printing. The two of us had a little giggle since the oldest had written that he would cheer for the Philadelphia Flyers more if the Principal would grant him his Cursive Writing License.. that just happens to be the Principals favorite team.

As we sat at the kitchen table chatting about his poster presentation I asked him if he was nervous speaking in front of his class of if it was nice to be the center of attention for the day. He smiled and said that he enjoyed it and that he didn’t mind speaking in front of people. “You know Mum” he said “I am going to have to get used to talking to lots of people and being the center of attention if I am going to be a big hockey star!” We both giggled and I told him he had a good point but he needed to focus on getting through elementary school first.

The oldest Muppet has high dreams and he has proven time and again that when he puts his mind to something he can accomplish anything. What ever he decides to do I know that it will be big and you never know we could have a Canadian boy raised in Qatar in the NHL sometime in the future.