Kids and Boat Building

You’d think this would be a nice fluffy post about how wonderful it is to share the craft of boat building with children and how my kids and I bonded over the building and launching of a boat.  WRONG.  This is a post about childhood selfishness and vanishing productive time.

Does anybody have any tips for getting a 7-year-old girl to sleep at night?  She is a girl that has a very difficult time turning her brain off and is scared to death that a monster is going to jump out of her closet at any moment.  That means that Daddy needs to read, sing songs, chat, and just generally hang around in her room until she is almost asleep.  It is fine and I enjoy spending the time with her, but meanwhile the dust layer on the Okoume plywood in the basement grows thicker every day.

My wife and I have been struggling with her bedtime ritual for most of her life.  I honestly think that if we left her alone, she would just keep going through the night and into the next day.  She has boundless energy that never seems to subside.  We have tried loving, threatening, ignoring, tempting, everything.  Or so we thought.  This morning I tried a new approach.  The boat I am starting is a Bolger Bobcat.  It is a Phil Bolger design that looks a bit like a Beetle cat sailboat and I have told my daughter that I am building it for her.  Saying that she is excited that daddy is building her her very own boat would be like saying that Red Sox fans were happy that they won the World Series in 2004.  She is ecstatic!  Kids are inherently selfish by design.  It is hardwired in since the evolution of man so that people have that instinct to survive.  Unfortunately the evolution of this selfishness has morphed from a desire to eat and protect oneself into a desire for constant attention and a plethora of toys.  In hopes of exploiting that selfishness, this morning I told her that since I have to spend so much time with her at night, I am not going to be able to build her a boat.  I told her that it is perfectly OK and that I love sitting in her room for hours on end, but we have to choose between that and having her own sailboat in the summer.  It is scary to think how many times per week we manipulate our children.  We will see how it goes tonight.

Eventually, once I have the panels cut and the hull starting to come together, I would like to get her involved and maybe that could be her bedtime ritual.  I am a little nervous about safety in the shop.  She is very tall and lanky and about as graceful as a 3 legged giraffe.  Once I start laying up the hull, the shop will be a little more static and there will be less things on the floor to trip on.  Hopefully……HOPEFULLY then, I’ll be writing to you all about spending wonderful hours building a boat with my beautiful daughter.  I will really enjoy that.

Please comment if you have any parenting tips, tricks, or ideas on getting kids to sleep at night.

Thank you for reading!

-JL

2 Responses to Kids and Boat Building

  1. My youngest son developed marked insomnia with the introduction of wheat to his diet at 15 moths old. Bizzarro. Ritz crackers= all night play sessions, no tears. It took us three months to sort it out. No wheat= no problem. Not saying this is your kid’s situation, just sayin’ it was my kid’s solution.

    • That is really interesting, because we have found a very drastic change in her behavior when she eats food coloring. We have mostly eliminated that from her diet and that keeps her bahavior in check, but the sleep thing is still a battle. We will have to give that a shot. Thank you.

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