A co-worker asked me one evening past how my Son enjoyed living aboard a boat. Well, I said, he may not know or remember much different. Our Boy was just 4 when we moved aboard Monster as full time live aboards. I’m sure he does and will remember aspects of the beautiful house we lived in. How can one forget being able to ride your tricycle around the dining room table and then into the living room? Perhaps, his memories are and will be fueled by the photos and video’s of our house years that have compiled on our iPhones.
Regardless, I fully believe our Son does enjoy his life afloat, and he’ll definitely tell you so. There are however, a number of aspects of our lifestyle that have since become natural to our Son and ways about things that he’s just adapted to. We have laid a out a number of ground rules just as any household. Our number one important rule that we implore is ‘WALK ON THE DOCK’. There are no if’s, and’s, or but’s about it. Water safety is a priority, especially in the winter months when snow and ice dominate the docks. Our Boy also knows very well that he cannot climb aboard or disembark without one of us watching. It seems redundant to say our Son is well versed in wearing a lifejacket. He knows exactly when to don it, and is usually the first to do so, pulling it out of the cabinet, along with the reminder that the Dog also needs to wear hers or anyone else for the matter.
I’ve mentioned in a past post that our Son has a cozy little cabin. It’s much akin to any bunk I’ve had on any ship I’ve sailed on. We are hoping to revamp it in the year ahead to make better use of the space, but that’s another post for another day. His space and what is contained within it is constantly in flux, our growing Boy routinely cycles through clothes and toys. Storage of such items aboard a boat can prove to be a challenge, we strive for the adage that less is more. But, easier said than done. Lego is an example. The storage we had was not ample enough. It was still everywhere and anywhere until we came upon the clever idea to put a bin in the bilge! Since the Lego was always on the floor and often found itself into the bilge anyways… we bought a shallow plastic container to fit the bilge space and now the Boy simply has to lift the deck board to access it. I’ll add that it in no way interferes with any boat systems, there is plenty of space around and underneath the container. It’s dry and clean with all the edges of the bin taped so no Lego can spill over.
Like any young child his interests vary day to day, and some days it’s the Hot Wheels that occupy our space. Once again our Boy had adapted to fit all the track around the boat. Whatever the toy may be, kids have that great innate ability to play anywhere, and with anything.
Living in a small space it’s highly important that we get outside. Regardless of the weather we make the most of our ‘backyard’, whether it be the on the Island or City side. In the rain, snow, heat or humidity, we to get out to burn off all that energy. The outdoors is a treasure trove of exploration and imagination for our Boy’s young mind. Sticks and rocks quickly become toys, anything from a light saber to Pokemon communicators, filling his pockets. We have rock and beach glass collections galore. We love visiting the Island beaches, the thrill of water play is endless. One of our Sons’s favorite projects is his Island treehouse. Every spring when we return Island side, it becomes a hot topic of conversation, as he purports how he will build upon it that season.
There is, and should be a sense of magic inherent in childhood, without a facade, or smoke and mirrors. Parents only want the best for their kids, and so we have to come to believe our way of life, living slowly and simply, our life afloat, only enhances the magic of our Boy’s childhood.