24 June 2008

Motor Round the Rina

I've documented that my son is scared of the wind. He's just not a sailor. So I thought that in the interest of a fair fighting chance, I'd just start him out slowly. We hang out at the boat all the time; he enjoys it there. It's just that if I make a move on the docklines or the engine key, he goes ballistic. Just freaks out.

Again, I'm starting slowly. I got agreement that we could just go the boat and motor around the marina. We'd look for cool boat names, maybe pump out the holding tank. Even show him where Polka Dot used to live. If he did it, there would be donuts. Everything was stacked in my favor. I had buy-in. He promised we'd motor around the marina right up until bed time Friday night. He went to sleep happy with the thoughts of donuts.

First thing he did when he woke up was to come into my room and yell, "NO MOTOR ROUND THE RINA!!!!" over and over. With abject fear in his eyes, panic in his voice. I pulled out the donut card and that did nothing. Absolutely nothing.

He is as terrified of that boat moving as he is of airplanes, trains, firetrucks, and that witch that lives in his closet. If donuts won't work, what will? Consider the comments section to be a suggestion box because I'm out of ideas. Other than wait or move to a landlocked city.


Christy ~ Central Air said...

Benadryl. It takes the edge right off.

bonnie said...

oh gosh. Poor kid. Poor dad.

How's his swimming? I was a little freaked out by sailboats, especially little tippy ones, when I was little & I think it was because I was afraid of something happening & having to swim somewhere I couldn't put my feet down.

EVK4 said...

It could be because he's only 2. He just has a worried personality. He'll either outgrow it or be subjected to years upon endless years of psychotherapy.

Pat said...

If only he were a teenager you could absolutely forbid him to go anywhere near the marina or a boat.

If there were a way for him to see other kids having fun sailing and boating, that could help.

Or, when he's a few years older, he could participate in a club program; being around other kids and instructors other than family would change the atmosphere.

Zen said...

My brother was terrifed of the water when he was young. Later he joined the navy, go figure!

The is hope...

Anonymous said...

Could this be something other than a fear? Perhaps actual physical discomfort? Is there a chance of something like an inner ear problem that induces dizziness ... or some other malady?

Like another suggested, how's his swimming ability?

Cayenne said...

Too big.

It sounds like he is afraid of big vehicles.

You are welcome to borrow my little red runabout. Delightfully kid-sized , and you can even let him drive.

Or maybe he's just out to torture you on secret orders from mom.

Anonymous said...

My wife was the same way.

Try sailing in tropical waters, where you can swim from the boat to white, sandy beaches.

That worked for her.

Another solution was sailing to a marina within walking distance of a Nordstroms. But that probably won't work for your son.

EVK4 said...

Cayenne, my pacific cupping friend, I believe that you have it right. Except that he's also scared of "the little train" which is a delightful tiny little steam engine up in the Oakland Hills. But maybe I should try to get him into his sister's el toro.

It can't be physical because he starts screaming when he sees the parking lot for the place. When the family went to pick me up at the airport a few weeks ago, as they approached the terminal, he started yelling "when I'm 3 not until I'm 3!"

That's the key though, I need to remember, he's only 2.

Tillerman said...

Little kids are real people too. That's why they are irrational, just like all real people.

Joe said...

Get him drunk....check that, he's only 2. You're out of luck big guy, you'll have wait for him to outgrow his fear. Maybe you should get drunk, I have a great sangria recipe.

bonnie said...

Maybe a sit-on-top or inflatable kayak, sheltered pond or slough, on a quiet day?

With his own little paddle with a smily face on it?

Agenda? Moi? naaaaah...

Anonymous said...

I like the El Toro idea.

But maybe try it without the sail at first if he's only two.

If he likes that, try adding the sail in the rina on one of those quiet evenings when most of the wind has died.

Let him steer and 'pull the string'.

Oddly enough, even some adults still like sailing dinghies, as irrational as that sounds.

Anonymous said...

I took my 2-year-old granddaughter for a ride yesterday in a Bulldozer Toddler Pool Float. She loved it. Maybe this is the answer for your son?

Carol Anne said...

Reaching back into my own distant past, when I was afraid of everything ...

I was terrified of stairs. i was incapable of going up or down stairs, especially down. I have vivid memories of being nagged, cajoled, exhorted, and yet all I could do was bump up or down the stairs on my rump. I could not step on the stairs.

What is odd is that these memories are from when I was 2 or 3 years old, and people aren't supposed to remember things from that young of an age.

Even now, I have trouble with stairs. If there's a good rail that I can hold onto, I'm usually OK, but if it's an especially long or wide staircase, I get horrible vertigo that paralyzes me. And forget about escalators -- I am utterly incapable of using them.

So go slow. I'm sure you're already doing that -- your kid isn't undergoing the relentless nagging and shaming that I went through. I guess there's probably not so much embarrassment attached to "doesn't like to be on a boat" as to "won't go up or down stairs."

That much said, there are things to make the experience more pleasant ... even if he doesn't experience motion sickness, Dramamine is a great sedative that can ease anxiety. And whatever you can do to put him in control of the experience will be a plus.