What do the kids do on passage?

Yesterday we notice a large red bruise on the end of Jacob’s nose, sufficiently large at least to warrant the uncharitable nickname Rudolph from his brothers. Further enquiries reveal that Jacob has been a willing participant in a game invented by one of his brothers, entitled The Funky Chicken. This is not a sophisticated form of entertainment, but entertainment nonetheless it is (at least for Luca and Gabriel), for whom it largely involves grabbing and tweeking Jacob’s nose and yelling…. yes, I think you can guess. Needless to say, we rule this new game disallowed amidst howls of protest, interestingly the howls coming from Jacob as much as his older brothers. Quite what’s in it for him we can’t fathom.

Which begs the question: what do the kids do to entertain themselves on passage? We get asked this abit, and it’s certainly been a challenge to find ways to break the boredom and monotony of the long trips. Once we get to our destination it’s not a problem, but getting there can be tedious. Ironically, we’ve found seasickness helps pass the time. I mean, when the kids are feeling queasy or are bent double over a bucket, the last issue they’re focussed on is boredom! Now that sounds mean I know, and we’d never wish sickness on them. So what else do they do?

Well, they get to watch the occasional DVD on passage, and Rebecca downloaded several audio-books which they listen to avidly. How to train a dragon is the current gripper. They still do music lessons (we brought Luca’s keyboard), altho’ Gabriel’s guitar playing has fallen by the wayside and needs more encouragement. They read a lot, altho’ of course reading is not conducive to seasickness if it’s rough. They write their journals (generally under some protest), listen to music, have home school lessons if the weather is settled enough, and spend a fair amount of time inventing things. Gabriel, our rampant fisherman, had taken to creating fishing lures, lovingly constructed out of shells or bottle tops (for the head), strips of sailcloth material and silver pipecleaners (for the skirt), and a fair amount of sailors’ waxed cotton and epoxy. We haven’t caught anything on one of these contraptions yet, but we reckon it’s only a question of time. Luca invented a whole new game of (like Top Trumps), using the meanest and nastiest creatures yet to be penned by a boy, completed on individual cards.

Being the Nolan family there is also a regular stream of imbecilic behaviour, often involving one or more parents. We bought a huge loo plunger in Luganville to try to resolve a holding tank problem, and discovered the loo plunger tummy dance – yes, the plunger sticks to your tummy and will stay there for some time. Luca has a camera which he uses to make home videos, typically involving Jacob having been persuaded to do something ridiculous. We seem to have started a slightly unfortunate practice of making up silly names for village chiefs. So far these have been kept within the privacy of our own home, but I’m sure will trip us up one day. No guesses how much mileage Chief Willy got. (We really should stop this?) Add to this the dodgy diving daks competition (yes, boxers don’t really work underneath a wetsuit, so something short, tight and decidedly budgy-smuggler-like is needed), and a host of word play games and you get the picture. Actually, we pass off some of the wordplay games as home school, in an effort to teach them alliteration, onomatapia and collective pronouns. Ask the boys to invent a collective pronoun for a group of fat talkative women, and see what you get. Or an onomatapia to describe the sound of someone being slapped across the face with a limp fish whilst trying to sneeze. Generally good value.
Incidentally, for anyone’s interested in where we are….we are at 08 degress 29.9 South 158 degrees 08.9 East.
Marovo Lagoon, Western Province, Solomon Islands, having finally arrived at our planned stop-for-awhile destination where we’ll spend a week rediscovering our non-passage routine. What a relief!

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