Friday, 20 April 2012

#Art I Heart - Underwater Cherub

Underwater Cherub

This print hangs on a wall in my bathroom. Its of my very own merbaby, Little A, when she was just seven months old.

I love the vivid blue, the light dancing in the swirling bubbles and swell of the water's surface, and the golden gauze ethereally floating around Little A's body. I love Little A's wide eyed expression and the way she looks so comfortable and at ease in the water. She almost looks otherworldly; a mythical creature that exists in storybooks and ancient tales passed down the generations. An underwater cherub caught in a heavenly net. I wonder what her eyes are looking at. A withering ship wreck perhaps? Bobbing seahorses? An unhurried turtle? Or a shoal of angelfish darting and weaving through the warm currents of a teeming reef?

The reality is that this image was taken in the tepid waters of a diving centre pool in Chiswick, West London, by a professional underwater photographer. When Little A was three months old I started taking her to baby swimming classes to the detriment of my finances. Babies are so eye wateringly expensive aren't they? Anyway, she adored splashing and frolicking in the water with the other infants. She never seemed to mind being continually submerged under water by the very amicable teacher whose warm South African lilt reassured the oblivious babies and their jittery mothers. We continued the lessons for a year and I credit them with Little A's confidence in the water now.

I leaped, my bank balance didn't, at the opportunity of having some underwater shots taken when Little A was seven months and a bit. The shoot lasted half an hour. It involved a lot of dunking under water with costumes and props by an athletic fifty something platinum blond who should have known better than having had plastic surgery. Botox does not look fetching in a swimsuit. The gossip goes that this swimming teacher, not the one who taught Little A on a weekly basis, was having a clandestine affair with the burly photographer. Judging by the furtive glances and knowing smiles between the two there was definitely something salacious going on in that diving pool. Or my over zealous imagination was bored and fancied some intrigue to entertain itself with. I wager the latter.

This picture is also a reminder of my birth trauma and depression. After Little A's arrival it took me six weeks to muster the courage to leave my flat. Something was clearly wrong. The emergency cesarean shattered my confidence which lay broken in unforgiving, misshapen shards. The swimming lessons gave me the fortitude to brave the outside world again. They gave me a beacon of normality in the daily grind of breastfeeding, expressing and nappies. I also met some really amiable women. After the lesson we would often lunch and natter together with our bairns at the local hotel. I just hope my nervousness and anxiety at the time wasn't too palpable.

So not only does this print capture a beautiful memory from Little A's babyhood, its also a healing marker of my slow return to emotional health.

I am linking up this post with Midlife Single Mum's very imaginative Art I Heart meme. The idea is that you choose one piece of art you feel drawn to and write a short story about it. Sadly this might be my last entry given the limited amount of art hanging on the walls of my flat.

20 comments:

  1. I think baby swimming requires great courage from the mother. I didn't dare do it. Good for you though as I will have to teach DD confidence in the water later. Fabulous photo. And as for this maybe being your last #ArtIHeart post, it doesn't have to be on your wall :).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are right, it does take courage. And you are right, again, I can include art outside of my four walls.

      Delete
  2. That's beautiful. I did a Waterbabies course with all 3 children (so I totally understand about the bank balance thing), so have 3 similar pictures of my boys. I love them because they're so different, though unfortunately my hubby doesn't like them as he says they don't look like the boys. They still take pride of place in my kitchen though (they cost too much to hide away).
    I love any classes for babies and mums and after having three children I really appreciate the importance of having contact with other mums. I have made some of my best friends from these classes,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's great that you took all your boys swimming. Younder Dad also said the same thing about the photos of Little A - that they didn't look quite like her!

      Delete
  3. absolutely gorgeous! We did the same with Waterbabies, TC loves the pool. Wish there was machine we could step in after to dry & dress us fast!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thankyou. I know what you mean - it can be a of pfaff afterwards, the one bit I didn't enjoy, racing to get us both dressed afterwards when we were wet and cold.

      Delete
  4. Beautiful picture and a great reminder that goes with it x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. A lovely memory indeed.

      Delete
  5. What a fabulous picture. I think in this case the expense was worth it. How lovely that also has such special meaning for you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for coming over to comment. You are right of course, it was worth every penny.

      Delete
  6. Gorgeous! A friend of mine, who is a nanny, came to visit during Bibsey's first summer and had us thrusting her under the water. She later admitted that she wasn't sure she would be so brave if it were a baby of hers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Its amazing actually , how babies can tolerate being underwater. Was Bibsey okay with it? Funny how she didn't mind dunking someone else's baby. But then you are always going to feel ten times nervous with your own.

      Delete
  7. Such a fabulous picture. I love it. Little A looks so confident in the water. Literally, a water baby. I found with Pip that getting out and about to do activities with him was a real lifeline for me. I started taking him to Monkey Music when he was 3 months. Some of my friends scorned, but I did it as much for my own sanity as for him. Getting out there and doing stuff with your baby can really help in those early days - and I also found it helped me meet like minded mum's with a similar attitude who were a great source of companionship in those lonely early days, of pram pushing and constant breastfeeding. Great postx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wanted to take Little A to Monkey Music - I heard it was very good. Yes, even though it might break the bank balance joining groups is a sanity saver for the new mum. You really do need supportive adult company especially in that first year. Thank you. Xxx

      Delete
  8. Hi there. Lovely pic. I wish I'd persevered with water babies. We went quite a few times, then my little girl got sick, and we missed a few lessons. When we returned, (and in spite of my protestations that she'd been away for a few weeks) the instructor did her usual thing of throwing the baby in the water, except that this time, my little girl sank straight to the bottom!!! The instructor and lifeguard had to dive in and rescue her. It was a complete nightmare. As you can imagine, we stayed away after that! x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yo Flossy! Oh my God - that sounds awful. For both your little girl and you .... can't imagine the panic that went through you at the time - not surprised you didn't go back!

      Delete
  9. We did baby swimming lessons too, and I'm sure they've given the little man the confidence he has now. Those photos are brilliant. We didn't get one because they were astronomically expensive, I mean ridiculously priced even for the "sitting" so we didn't get one. Glad we did the lessons though. Polly x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, the lessons were really worth it, but I really had to pretend the money wasnt coming out of my balance when we went for the shoot. Anything 'baby' is so overpriced.

      Delete
  10. Ohh I love that the picture reminds you of your healing from PND, fabulous. To be treasured. Mich x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for stopping by and commenting. Yes, definitley on the road to recovery and the print is a testament to my courage!

      Delete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...