Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Thru the eyes of a two-year old

Two year olds are precious.  If you spend time with them, they will provide you with something of inestimable value:  a unique and fresh view of the world.  They have enough language that you can communicate with them, and yet they are young enough that each new day brings new experiences to them.  Every day is an exciting adventure!
Last weekend when we had Adam & Kaci onboard for an overnighter, we laughed about what the following weekend - this one - would be like.  Because this weekend we would have Ken & Erica and our two grandchildren, Hazel (2Y 3 Mo) and Eliza (9 Mo) onboard.

This wasn't Hazel's first visit to Eolian.  Aside from this visit (which she probably doesn't remember), we had Hazel and her family onboard for a dinner at the dock a little while ago, as kind of an introduction to Eolian for her. And Hazel is not a stranger to boats in general, because Ken & Erica have a beautiful little classic 16' Larson run-about which she was out on a lot last summer.

Here's a little insight into the way a two-year old's mind works: for that dinner visit when she was exploring above and below decks, she referred to the cockpit as "the boat".  And when I tried to lead her up the side deck to the bow, about half way up her courage failed.  Then later she called on Gramma to accompany her.   But when they got out there on the side deck, she held up her hand in the classic "halt" pose, and told Gramma "Do self".  And she did.

Ah, but this weekend was a much bigger deal.  Hazel was so excited that she couldn't sleep.   Good parents that Ken and Erica are, they spent time 'priming' her for the events to come so that there wouldn't be surprises.  First, there was a bus ride - her first ever.  She was amazed that all you had to do was stand in a special place and the big machines would stop - just for you!

Next, after a three-block walk thru downtown Seattle, was her second ever ferry ride.  Another big event, and another blast of excitement.

Uh oh... I don't like the looks
of that dinghy
After the ferry docked in Winslow in Eagle Harbor, there was a four-block walk along the waterfront, with all the harbor views and smells that entails.  Finally the family reached the public dock, and Grampa was waiting with the dinghy.

Now here I think I made a mistake.  Ken handed me Hazel and I put her down in the dinghy.  But she was so nervous about it that she was trembling.  It would have been better if Ken had gotten in first - that way she would at least have had support from her Daddy.  But Ken got in right afterwards and she settled down.  Once Erica and Eliza (in a pack) had boarded, and all the gear had been stowed as best as was possible in an 11' dinghy, I warned Hazel that I would be starting the motor.

As I may have mentioned before, the outboard is minimal - one of the things that was omitted in its weight saving optimization was sound deadening.  It's pretty noisy - that's why I warned Hazel.  She didn't like it, but she buckled down and endured it.

And then finally there was Eolian - now christened "Big Boat", and Gramma was waving at us!  Once Hazel was aboard, she was not interested in any way in getting into the dinghy again.  Ever.

With everything stowed and the adults equipped with celebratory welcome-aboard beverages, Hazel immediately tackled her fear of the companionway ladder.  She must have made 500 trips up and down that ladder over the course of her visit.  As her fear lessened, she took to carrying her pink and blue bunnies in one hand while she climbed and descended, making her grandparents pretty nervous in their turn.

Our plan was to try to take advantage of dying wind to sail from Eagle Harbor up to Port Madison where we would anchor for the night.  There was a lot of interest in the anchor hoisting process, with Daddy standing by to keep little hands safely away from the wildcat and chain.  Sadly, there was no wind.  So we motored up the whole way.  The engine noise did not bother Hazel (it's a lot quieter than the dinghy), but the heaving floor down below as we crossed wakes caused some consternation.  Hazel kept talking about "Boat moving."

Water, water...
Just the ticket!
Finally, the anchor was down in Port Madison, the sun was shining, and Jane's amazing insight into what makes the little people tick paid dividends.  Gramma set up a water play arrangement in a tub on the stern which kept Hazel busy for an amazing length of time.

Then there was an event on the bow where crab was served.  Hazel had seen and talked about crabs at the beach - she was quite interested in finding out what they tasted like - and enjoyed the novelty of eating them. 

Finally, there was the hustle and bustle of preparing dinner in a small space, and then eating.  These were familiar activities with familiar utensils (she brought her own sippy cup and silver ware), in an unfamiliar setting.  It worked out well.

There was not going to be any going to bed early tho  - no one wanted to miss out on anything.  But finally all the big people went to bed and Hazel sacked out in her sleeping bag on the settee in the main saloon - the lee cloth worked well to keep her from tossing herself onto the floor.

Curious George and Blue Bunny
save the day
All of us slept in.  Until Eliza went off, that is.  But it was pretty late for her, about 06:30 as I recall.  Still, Hazel had not really caught up on her sleep.  After a breakfast of cornbread and blueberries, about the only thing that was going to be a calming influence for this little girl was a dose of familiar Curious George, which Ken had thoughtfully put on Erica's phone.  Curious George is like soma to Hazel. 

Finally, when it was time to leave Port Madison, the wind had kicked up prodigiously (20+ kt).  I put up only a reefed mainsail on the reach, in order to not make the sail too lively.  You see, the lack of sleep had finally caught up with Hazel - as soon as the sail went up, she fell asleep -  sitting up. Her Daddy gently laid her down and she slept thru the entire passage back to Shilshole.

Eliza working on a figure-eight
Finally, two postscripts.  First, it is clear that Hazel is going to be joined as crew on Eolian.  Eliza is already boning up on her knots, working on a figure-eight here.

And second, Jane vacuumed up an amazing quantity of Cheerios in the aftermath.  Really, why aren't these called Purina Kid Chow?



Deb said...

I have 2 2-year-old grandkids and they never cease to amaze me. We get so busy as adults that it's great to slow things down to their speed and really look at things with the total devotion that they do.

Great post,

S/V Kintala

bob said...

Thanks Deb -

We need the two-year-olds... they keep us from taking too much for granted.


middlebaysailing said...

Fantastic cruise with grandkids. Ours are just about the same age (20 months, and 6 months) though we haven't had them on the boat yet.

Thanks for bringing us on board.

s/v Cay of Sea

My Writes said...

I wonder what it would be like to remember those experiences? However I think we're meant to re-live them through the eyes of the kids. Thanks for sharing Bob.

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