Saturday, 7 October 2017

Five good things about confining your kids to a sailboat, by Liss

Zemini Warriors

1. They’ll laugh really hard. Ours have “in” jokes that even Miles and I don’t get*. Their humour is tending towards the 14 year old end of the spectrum, dragged up by their socially desperate sister. The six year old has a frighteningly adolescent grasp of the eye roll.
2. They’ll have to sort out their own conflict because their parents will be too exhausted to mediate. After a fight between our two eldest the other night, Miles and I went to bed to the sound of them Sorting It Out. It took a while but what started with bloodcurdling yells and hand-to-hand combat ended with whispered giggles.
3. When they have an opportunity to hang with other kids, they’ll REALLY appreciate it. “Does that boat have kids on it?” is the cry that goes out on the arrival of a new boat to an anchorage. They have become adept at sighting the Common Signs of a Cruising Family (well-loved boat, usually a monohull, lots of stuff hanging off the railings, etc **). The friendships they make are fleeting but treasured, and “Kids Ahoy!” is always a happy thing to hear.
4. Rigid family roles will become flexible. An old psychology lecturer of mine told me that it wasn’t healthy for kids in a family to permanently occupy any role: troublemaker, peacemaker, clown, daredevil … It has been strangely satisfying to find myself getting royally ticked off at our “good child,” seeing acts of war masterminded by our “peacemaker” and utterly relying on our “impulsive child.”
5. They’ll be a team, sometimes a wily one. When Miles and I drove off to get provisions at our last marina stop, the kids tidied the boat while we were away, cooked lunch and baked a cake, effectively laying the grounds for a “well-earned movie night.”
*  * I don’t know what a Zemini Warrior is, but they do.  All I know is that there are multiple challenge levels up to 35 and beyond. 
    ** my sincerest apologies to cruising families who fall outside this stereotype.

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