Thursday, June 07, 2012

Kaiya's Big Day!

When we named our little "peanut" back in January 2008, we considered both where we had been and where we were going. We liked the name "Kaiya" both for its Japanese connection, and also for its "travelability." We knew there was a good chance we'd be trotting off again somewhere, and we liked the fact that it was a simple name, very pronounceable in most, if not all languages. Back in Canada, people often commented on her name, saying that it was pretty and unusual.

Then we moved to Qatar, and Kaiya was enrolled in nursery (same as daycare, Canadian readers). In Kaiya's British nursery, she has been surrounded by children from cultures all across the world. She has informed me that diapers are actually called "nappies," and she has often pronounced certain words and names with a slight British accent. She has also studied Arabic and can now recite the alphabet and introduce herself in the language. Never mind that her play language has started sounding much more guttural and non-English.

And Kaiya's name, it turns out, does in fact work well mixed together with other cultures and countries. This is best exemplified by a simple list of the names of her nursery friends: Haya, Daya, Taya, and Dia (Dee-ah) and Zia. I'm not kidding. You could say we chose well.


This afternoon we celebrated Kaiya's graduation from nursery. I'm the kind of parent who rolls her eyes at this kind of thing. I mean, seriously? We need graduation from daycare? And then kindergarten? And then...? And if you think this kind of thing is over-the-top, well you ain't seen nuthin' till you've seen Qatari-style over-the-top. Her graduation was held at.... wait for it.... the Ritz Carlton hotel. Ha! Yes, it was. Where the parents nibbled on dainty sandwiches and croissants and sipped tea while waiting for the show to start.

But the funny thing is, Ritz-Carlton or damp, smelly school gym... cloth covered plush chairs or hard, orange plastic ones...... parents are all the same. The show started, and you could hardly see it for all the cameras poking up past you. Never mind the head teacher's instructions, we were all up on our feet, standing tippy-toed, crowding to the front of the room, trying to get a better look at our little ones.

It was hilarious and amazing, and I can't believe we spent two hours in that hotel because it felt more like five minutes. We were all absolutely beaming. When they brought all the children in to perform Snow White, they had to delay starting by 10 minutes or so for all the parents crowding to the front to take pictures of the costumed munchkins.

Here's ours:

She wanted her hair "all crimply," so we put it in two tight French braids the night before.

"There's my dad!!" She was so excited to see us!

Each child played a part, from animals and trees in the forest, to teddy bears (?) to dwarves, to king and queen, to the talking mirror, to Snow White herself. Our darling was the evil queen, after making herself look like an old woman to trick Snow White (shhhh... don't tell Kaiya.... she wanted to be a princess, and we all got away by telling her she was a "good witch.")

I'm sure you'll think it's all false-parent pride when I tell you she brought the house down with her lines, but she did. Her perfectly enunciated "Could I have a glass of water and I'll give you an apple?" all said in that little gremlin voice, followed by her carefully and thoroughly rehearsed laugh, "HA HA HA HAAAA!!!!"

Don't believe me? Watch the video clip yourself:

And here's some more great moments from this afternoon:

Even when she wasn't on stage, she still sang along and did all the actions to the songs. :)

Dancing on stage at the end. Though no one else did, she took many, many bows.

Marcelina and I enjoying the show. We both got teary-eyed at many points.

And yes, an actual cap and gown. Over-the-top? Absolutely. But OH-SO-DARNED-CUTE!!!

I am ever so thankful to the staff of Kaiya's nursery for the care and attention they have given our daughter, as well as all the other children in their care. I find that since the tragic fire at Villagio, I have teared up often thinking about our own nursery. The director, Yasmin, has been very upfront in her reassurances of fire drills, emergency exits, and general safety protocol. I thanked her tonight, choking up, for all the safety measures she had long ago put in place that I hadn't even considered. I thanked her for her diligence and care. While I was fussing over Kaiya's emotional transition and whether or not she was "enjoying" daycare, Yasmin was quietly taking care of the whole package, ensuring Kaiya's physical safety as well.

Thank you.

Nothing is more precious than these little ones, and today's fantastic celebration was such a perfect way to remind us. 

Saturday, June 02, 2012

This Past Week

When tragedy strikes, I don't have a lot to say. I go somewhere deep inside, where thoughts and pictures and emotions all swirl together. I avoid the news and social media sites, which just stir it up all over again, bringing back the anger and sadness and incomprehensibility of it all.

But you should know. And it should be posted here. That a tragedy happened in Doha this week. In a nursery, in a mall. It's made us all question the safety protocols we had once assumed were in place, and it has really shaken us.

That's all I have to say.