Monthly Archives: September 2015

Living above an aquarium

Bream hanging out under Medina

Bream hanging out under Medina

One of the advantages of living on a boat is being surrounded by wildlife. In our case they are usually of the feathered or scaled variety, with an occasional domestic hairy one stopping by to say hello with its human in tow.

At the moment we have a school of bream hanging out in our section of the marina. They are easiest to see in the mornings, so a new part of out daily routine is to give them a feed. It’s also easier to see the bream from the floating walkway that runs alongside Medina than on deck, so Orbit feeds them from there, rather than leaning over the safety rails.

With my confidence in Orbit increasing and risk of him falling in the water decreasing, I am becoming more comfortable doing activities together on the floating walkway next to Medina. Orbit doesn’t wear his harness anymore (when playing on the floating walkway beside Medina) because it was becoming to restrictive and dangerous. This doesn’t mean I leave him unsupervised, he’s always within and arms length or two, and never on his own.

He’s a pretty smart kid, but still prone to moments of silliness – which is when accidents tend to happen. So we only ‘play’ on the walkway when the moments of silliness are less likely to happen and if he start’s being silly we’re back on deck or below.

Feeding the bream

Feeding the bream

Luckily, one of Orbit’s less silly times coincides with when the its easiest to see the bream. So after our breakfast, we give the bream their breakfast. We’re working on tearing the left over bread into small pieces rather than throwing whole pieces into the water, but its a work in progress. The whole adventure only lasts five maybe ten minutes but the amazement and joy it brings both of us lasts a lot longer.

Orbit hasn’t put the connection of feeding the fish and eating fish together yet. Just as he hasn’t put together the connection of watching Banana in Pyjamas and eating bananas or reading about Super Chicken and eating chicken. I am sure we are going to be having that conversation one day, I can hear the question already, “mummy, am I eating my friends?” … maybe I can divert that question to the Skipper …

MYO jigsaw puzzles

Painting the puzzle

Painting the puzzle

Regular readers would know that craft is one of our ‘go to’ activities on Medina. Craft allows both Orbit and I to feed our creative sides, develop our fine motor skills and is a great way to recycle a few things that we would otherwise throw in the rubbish/recycle bin.

I have found it easiest to try and keep most of our craft things in one box (or the messy things at least). By messy I mean things that are harder to clean up, like paint, glitter, goggly eyes etc – basically all the things that Orbit really likes to play with and the Skipper doesn’t want in the bilges. Things that don’t go in the craft box are larger items, like egg cartons, old magazines or boxes. I just ‘stash’ these around Medina where ever they will fit.

With the unpleasant weather this week, overcast and windy – low likelihood of muddy puddles, I turned to one of my guides of raising kids on sailing boats Kids in the Cockpit. One activity that Jill suggests is to make your own (MYO) jigsaw puzzles using the cardboard from boxes. Orbit enjoys doing puzzles, so out came the craft box.

After going through the cardboard options on Medina, I decided on the cardboard from one of the boxes that bulk baby wipes come in.  After cutting off the bits we could use, Orbit and I got into painting our designs and left them to dry. It was time for Orbit’s afternoon nap before they were dry, so while he was asleep, I drew some puzzle type shapes on to our designs and cut them out, ready for Orbit to ‘test’ when he woke up.

Putting our MYO puzzles together at a local cafe

Putting our MYO puzzles together at a local cafe

I learnt a few things while Orbit was sound asleep. Firstly, I am not very good at drawing puzzle pieces and stuffed up a few ‘trial’ jigsaw puzzles. Secondly, the thick cardboard from bulk baby wipe boxes is probably not the best for making puzzles as its too thick which means its really hard to cut.

But then I reminded myself that the whole point of the exercise was to have fun and to be creative. So, thirdly, there aren’t any rules when making jigsaw puzzles! So I ended up going with the flow of cutting where the cardboard ‘wanted to go’ and the result wasn’t to bad (for a first go).

When Orbit woke up he was more than happy to play with his new jigsaw puzzles and even wanted to take them to breakfast at a local cafe the next day! So we’ll definitely be doing MYO jigsaw puzzles again, but probably with a thinner type of cardboard next time.

A tale of two puddles

IMG_4345 (1)

Muddy puddles

This week was a tale of two puddles. With the rain came muddy puddles and with the low tide came sandy puddles.

Jumping in muddy puddles is such a simple but entertaining exercise for Orbit and we don’t even have to leave the marina! It’s a wonderful adventure searching out for clean puddles but also the best puddles. By clean puddles I mean those that are less likely to have any nasties in them (like run off from rubbish bins). The best puddles are those that are safely away from car parks and frequently used roads within the marina so Orbit can play freely, without me asking him to move because cars or trucks are coming past. But most importantly, they need mud – the higher potential for mud the better. As little boys know, the amount of fun is directly correlated how dirty one can get!


Why I try to find ‘clean’ puddles

Each new puddle would start out with clear water and we would examine if there was anything interesting in it (like a leaf or a stick) before Orbit jumped in, adding to the number of mud splats on his face. By the time we got back to Medina, Orbit had very wet pants and socks and very muddy gumboots and rain coat and I had a collection of ‘interesting things’ from the puddles in my pockets. While I went about cleaning up the mud, there was one very happy little boy who fell asleep contented (if not exhausted) that afternoon.

At the moment I am trying to teach Orbit only to jump in puddles when he has his gumboots on. As we only have so much space on Medina, we are limited to the number of shoes we have, so I try to keep Orbit’s shoes clean and dry. As clean and dry as possible for a 2.5 year old that is!

A few days later Orbit and I were off to one of the local parks. After playing in the muddy puddles, he was determined to wear his gumboots, so off we went to the park gumboots on.

The park we went to has a playground on one side and a small beach on the other. It was low tide and there were ‘salt water’ puddles left on the exposed sand. Am not sure what causes these depressions, someone once told me it was from the stingrays resting on the sand at high tide – but who knows, please let me know if you do.

IMG_4373As Orbit walked down the beach, he started to get really excited started to yell “puddles, puddles!” and ran towards them. I wasn’t in too much of a hurry to catch up because Orbit usually takes his shoes off before jumping in the water at the beach. But this time, after examining what was in the puddle and collecting the mangrove seeds, he jumped in – gumboots on!

Although Orbit was having trouble jumping in the puddles because his boots were sinking into the sand, he still persisted, running from one puddle to the next, each puddle getting a bit deeper the closer to the waterline he got. In one of the puddles, his gumboots finally filled up with saltwater and called me over to help him out of his predicament of being stuck in the puddle.

While I was trying to get his gum boots off, which can be quite tricky with wet sandy socks, I wondered why he still had his gumboots on. Then my words came back to me “only jump in puddles when you have your gum boots on”. Orbit was doing exactly what I had asked him to do!