The Hockey Tournament

Ryder

Hockey has become a normal part of life in the Wilson household. We are at practices or games four times a week and I have become incredibly fast at putting equipment on Muppets and tying skates. This past weekend the middle Muppets team hosted a tournament for children under 9. Teams from Saudi, Abu Dhabi, and Dubai came to Doha to compete. This is the second tournament that we have been apart of since joining hockey our first one was with the oldest Muppet in Dubai and since our teams got completely slaughtered in the last one I didn’t really have high expectations for the middle guys team.

We arrived at the rink and we were given our “special passes” to enter the dressing room area. The middle guy was pretty pumped that he was the only one out of his brothers that had one of these passes. The other two Muppets had to sit in the stands while the players got dressed. The teams first game went well and even though we lost 4-0 the kids played hard and had fun. Their next game was in a few hours and I took the kids home for a rest and a snack. I think all of us parents pumped their kids full of sugar because the second game they were on fire and won the game. It was so great to see the middle Muppet smiling from ear to ear as he skated off the ice with his team.

The next morning we had a game bright and early, the game was awesome and at one point our team was winning 5-0. The team they were playing managed to come back and tie the game and in the end we didn’t know if we would be playing for Gold or Bronze. We waiting patiently while the other teams played and by noon we found out the middle Muppets team would be playing in the gold medal game! The locker room was vibrating with excitement before the final game. The middle Muppet smiled at me as I tied up his skates “You know what Mum?” he whispered “Even if we loose this game we still get second place, and we get a medal… all of us get one!” his little eyes sparkled with excitement and he grabbed his stick and made his way on to the ice with his team.

The last game was a nail biter, we scored the first goal and shortly after they scored. For the longest time it was a tied game with so many shots on both teams goals I was feeling the stress for both goalies. Near the end of the game the other team scored 3 goals and we lost 4-1 but man did those kids play hard. The whole rink cheered as medals were handed out to both teams and team pictures were taken. There were no disappointed faces on any of the players, they wore their medals with pride and all chatted happily about the game as they got undressed. When cheers for the coaches were given and goodbyes were said we found the other two Muppets and went for celebratory ice cream.

The four of us sat in the food court a family whos son played on the other team came and sat at the table beside us. The little boy and the middle Muppet acknowledged each other with a slight nod. The middle Muppet smiled at him “Good game” he said “I think the best part is the ice cream afterwards” The other boy laughed and agreed “You guys were really good” he said as he shook the middle guys hand. We sat and chatted with the family for a few more minutes and wished them safe travels. As we made our way to the car the middle guy gave me a big hug and said “Thanks for giving up your weekend to bring me to the hockey tournament, I know that it is a lot of work for you and I am so happy that I got to play” I squeezed him back my heart swelling with pride, it had been a crazy busy weekend and we had to start the week with not much of a break but it was worth it to see him enjoy himself and appreciate being there.

This will not be the last hockey tournament for the middle guy but I am so glad that his first experience was such a good one, even if the best part was the ice cream!

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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 Necklace

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A few weeks ago the oldest muppet told me about a project that he was working on in school as a part of their community service project. The students in his class and the other grade 2 classes were designing necklaces to sell to raise money for the Red Crescent (which is similar to the Red Cross in Canada) He spoke excitedly about the designs he had created and said that the grade 2 students would get a chance to buy the necklaces first and he really wanted to buy the two that he had made.

At the start of this week he told me that on Tuesday they would be selling the necklaces and not to forget to give him money. When Tuesday morning arrived I scrambled through my purse for small bills but could only come up with a 100 riyal bill (about the equivalent of 30$ Canadian) for the oldest muppet. I asked him just to bring me back the change at the end of the day and he agreed to do so.

When I pick up the three muppets from school that day the oldest was bursting to show me his purchases, as soon as we walked in the door he went through his bag to find the necklaces. He came up to me and hugged me and handed me a necklace that was a simple square tile with a rainbow painted on it attached to a string. “This is for you Mummy” he said with a smile on his face “I know that you like all the colours in the rainbow and I thought you might think that this was pretty and that it would make you smile.” I hugged him and thanked him for the thoughtful gift he held up the second necklace and told me it was for his father, he had painted a yin yang symbol on it and was eager to give it to him. When my husband woke up to get ready for his evening shift the oldest muppet excitedly presented his dad with his creation. The other two muppets were quite upset that they didn’t get a necklace and I suggested that maybe we would make something together on the weekend.

The next day at pick up we waited for the oldest to come out from his after school activity. The two younger guys ran happily around the playground with their friends and didn’t even notice the oldest coming out the front of the school. He came up and gave me a hug and said that he had something to tell me. He told me that he had found the change from the necklaces in his back pack this morning and was going to give it back to me but then he thought about how upset the youngest and middle guy were about not getting necklaces. So he decided to use the money to buy them each one. He pulled the two little necklaces from his pocket. “I’m sorry Mum” he said “I know I told you I would bring the change home, but I didn’t waste the money, it all went to charity which is a good thing” I had to agree with him and told him that I was proud that he had thought of his brothers feelings. He pulled out a third necklace and said smiling “I bought this one for myself, you know since it is for a good cause” I laughed and suggested we get going. In the truck the oldest handed out the necklaces to the youngest and middle muppet, they were so happy that their big brother had bought them something so cool and thanked him with a big hug. It was amazing to me that something so simple made them so incredibly happy because it was from him.

As we made our way in to the school this morning the oldest saw the middle guy wearing his necklace he was proudly showing his friends what his big bro had given him. I gave the oldest a high five to say goodbye and he said to me “You know Mum that feeling of helping others and making people happy it is the best feeling isn’t it?” I totally agreed with him and I was a proud mama at that moment. I am so glad that the middle and younger muppet have such an amazing big brother to look up to!

Keeping With the Beat

ryder

The middle muppet is my serious little guy when it comes to school. All of his teachers comment on how he is a great listener, an amazing role model for other students and knows when to be serious and when to be silly. He is my little keener and while sometimes I have had to ask the teacher if she was talking about my son I am very proud of my brown nosing middle muppet.

This time of year the first grade students put on a Christmas Concert. It usually has nothing to do with Christmas except there is a Christmas tree on the stage and the children sing Jingle Bells and a We Wish You A Merry Christmas in Arabic at the end. The concert usually always focuses on the different celebrations around the world. The children learn about some different cultures traditions, sing songs and learn dances. This year the middle muppets class learned about Mexican, Danish  and Arab traditions. He came home gushing about Fastelavn, Piñatas and singing songs about Eid.

He would not tell his father and I anything about the concert, he was determined to keep it a secret. As we walked in to the school this morning I gave him a hug and told him that I would see him on the stage, he whispered in my ear that he was going to play a drum so to look for him. I figured that he would be one of a few children that got to play an instrument for his group. But when he took his place for his part of the concert there was only one drum and he was the solo drummer!! He did not stand there beaming like the other students in his class, but with a serious look on his face, waiting for his cue from the music teacher. As I watched him play his part I could see a hit of a smile on his face telling me he was enjoying himself.

After the show he posed proudly with his friends on stage, and he happily rambled on about all the people who were dancing and singing solos in the show. I told him how awesome it was that he got to be the solo drummer for his group. He modestly told me that he was not the only drummer that other people had played the drum for other songs. I told him that it was a pretty big thing to get to play the drum on stage in front of all those people and that he should be really proud of himself. As we arrived home and each muppet grabbed their back packs from the back of the truck the middle muppet said “You know what Mum, I am really proud of myself for playing that drum, I had a lot of fun up on stage and I think I am a pretty great drummer!”

I agreed with him and said that it is always good to be happy of the job that those around us do but we also have to acknowledge that we have done a great job as well! He gave me a super big hug and said “High five Mum, for you doing such a good job being my Mum.” I guess sometimes we just need a little reminder to be proud of ourselves.