Sunday, July 7, 2013

Know your Limits!

With the exception of the companionway ladder leading in and out of our boat and the mini companionway ladder leading to and from our aft-cockpit, the interior of our boat has two "staircases." Steps, really. One step leads toward the front of the boat and one step leads into the galley toward the back.

In a conventional home, I imagine that staircases are one of the most dangers features, as far as childproofing goes. On a boat, the most dangerous part is--obviously--the exterior. Our steps are hardly steep, but none the less, they are wooden and a child could certainly take a tumble (albeit a minor one) down them. We considered getting a baby gate for both steps, but given that Helina can scale a wall with ease, we figured the gate would likely end up serving as a greater obstacle for us than an effective barrier for our daughter.

So, instead of barricading the interior steps, we have attempted to teach Helina that they exist and are not to be trespassed. Whenever Helina approaches one of the steps, we firmly say to her, "Helina, know your limits." Surprisingly, she stops in her tracks. She crawls (or cruises) right to the edge and then looks at us and smiles once she receives the command to behave.

Walking the Line
I'm not convinced that Helina actually understands the concept of limits (the command is less effective when she has her eye on a blinking light or switch she shouldn't touch); however, as of today, she hasn't fallen down the steps, so whatever her understanding might be, the desired outcome has been realized.

Don't worry though, we're not applying this technique to the exterior of the boat.

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