I recently read a thread started by a new mother on a boat wondering how you get anything done when you have kids. I must admit, it’s not easy to get anything accomplished when you have one, or in our case two, little monkeys to entertain. Just doing the everyday stuff like cooking and cleaning can be a battle, nevermind attacking boat work (which for us, I don’t really do any of it, all the boat work seems to fall on to Eben’s shoulders. I simply maintain.) Then I remembered one alteration Eben made to our boat to give me some time away from the girls, away from being a human jungle gym, snack station, and professional entertainer, all in one. He gave me the possibility of turning our vberth into a playpen.
On land there are playpens and baby gates that can be set up pretty much anywhere to “trap” the mini-me’s and keep them contained while you tend to other matters, but on the boat, with the lack of space, I was not about to go and throw a playpen in the middle of our salon. So Eben made one for me. With some left over material from when he made our sailpack,and post of cumaru wood a friend gave us, two material clips, and two sliding locks, Eben sewed me a three foot lee cloth for the v berth entrance. This way I can throw both girls in there to play, without having to worry about them getting majorly hurt, since they are in a bed, to entertain themselves with toys and books while I either do “one big push” to get some cleaning done or merely so that I can sit for five minutes without some little person hanging off of my leg yelling at me “Up Up”. Ellia is not the biggest fan of it, since she would much prefer being in my arms, but it does give me 10 minutes here and there, which can be a blessing.
As for the construction of it, you can see from the picture, he attached the two sliding latches on the wall about 3 feet up from the bed and the two material clips sit directly in line with those but sit below the mattress. He sewed up the material (pretty much in the shape of a square to fit the bed opening) but placed a strap along the bottom of the square so that the material wouldn’t be too stretchy at the bottom allowing the girls to accidentally slide out the bottom of the lee cloth. The female sides if the clips went on either bottom side of the cloth. At the top he sewed a Cumaru bar into the lee cloth, drilled a hole in either end (for the latches), et Voila! This way when we are not using the lee cloth we can roll the material around the bar and stick it under the mattress out of everyone’s way, or when it is needed we simply pull it out, unroll it, pull it taut up over the latches, lock those in, and let the girls be free.