Teika Goes Sailing -January 17, 2002
We spent the past week sailing with friends from Toronto, our home base. Peter and Carolyn are our most faithful visitors; they've flown down for a winter vacation with us every year we've been gone. They're also our easiest guests to accommodate because they know the ropes. They know to pack light and to bring soft luggage. They don't leave the lights burning and THEY reprimand US for using too much fresh water. Carolyn brings Eileen gourmet chocolate and Peter knows David's favourite single malt scotch. And the best thing is that they literally come with only a few days' notice. No fuss, no muss trying to co-ordinate schedules months in advance. We e-mailed them a couple of weeks ago that we had just arrived in the Virgin Islands. They e-mailed us back the next day to tell us they were coming the following Tuesday.
Since their first tropical sojourn with us eight years ago, the only thing that's changed - and it's a fairly significant change - is the arrival of Teika. Teika is their baby girl. Teika visited us last year in St. Maarten when she was five months old. We don't know whether or not she liked the experience because she wasn't too communicative at the time. In fact, she mostly slept. Now she's a mature seventeen months and much more communicative. Despite a small vocabulary, she let us know what she thought about cruising. And it wasn't all fun and games.
After a week of living in close quarters, no one suffered major injuries, the boat's pretty well unscathed, and we're all still friends. But most of the adults are a bit sleep-deprived and we suspect that Peter and Carolyn are looking forward to returning to work. We're fairly certain Teika is looking forward to returning to day-care.
Teika liked the sunny weather and playing in the warm water. She especially enjoyed not having to wear clothes all the time. Most of the time, she handled the boat's motion well and exhibited signs of discomfort only when we were underway in particularly boisterous conditions (when some of the adults weren't feeling so hot either). There were lots of new things to look at, like the funny pelicans.
Even for a small person, however, a thirty-six foot boat is a very small space. There were too many restrictions about where she could go and what she could touch. There weren't enough toys and there weren't any people her size to play with. Worst of all, the strange grown-ups didn't seem to understand what she was telling them about what was missing and what needed improvement. Are Uncle David and Aunt Eileen stupid or something?
It was an interesting week, but not a very relaxing one. Not having kids ourselves, we learned a few things from the experience. We have a better appreciation of those poor bedraggled moms and dads who lament "the terrible twos". As any parent will tell you, toddlers fall somewhere between the total dependency of infancy and the relative independence of older childhood. They're active and curious, but have limited verbal ability and unsteady motor skills. This can lead to a lot of frustration.
Next year when our friends come to visit, we'll do less sailing. We'll hang around places where there are more shore attractions and more kids. On board, Teika should be more stable on her feet and able to roam more freely. She should be better at explaining to us what she wants or what's bothering her. She should be able to understand us better when we tell her which boat things she can play with (the clothes pegs) and which she can't (the handheld GPS). And we should all have more fun. And sleep more.Cheers,
David & Eileen