Language
  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish
  • Swedish

Insurance Funding Request

Did you know Firefly products may be funded by your insurance?

Learn More
Back to Firefly Blog

My Water Baby: The Therapeutic Power of Blue Space

My Water Baby: The Therapeutic Power of Blue Space

The beach has been my backyard for the past 20 years, but it was only when my son was born nine years ago that I really started to make an ally of the ocean. 

Having had many sorrowful experiences at soft play sessions, baby groups, and library sing-songs, I soon realised that our true sanctuary was the beach. 

My baby, still undiagnosed, was struggling to find his way in the world, inexplicably not conforming to societal expectations. 

But through his blue space, he found his safe-haven, unchallenged by cultural expectation.

In his primal state of infantile exploration, the beach became his chosen playground. 

Unwatched by his peers, who had achieved it far, far sooner, he first learned to roll back-to-front and back again, when lying on the soft forgiving sand, encouraged by the natural cambers that had formed the night before. 

His first experience of independent mobilisation was similarly exhilarating, a few months later, down the very same cambers, on his bottom. 

He would sit on the water’s edge for hours, the tide tickling his toes and the salty spray decorating his face, such effort taken in propelling himself just a few taxing feet forward and backwards, left and right, rogue waves catching him out and knocking his tiny and unsupported body to the floor as he giggled and gurgled in the water.

He would sleep his best sleeps on those nights, sapped and satiated by his time in the blue. 

I loved the lingering taste of sea salt on his nose as I kissed him good night.

I would really enjoy those times alone with him, escaping the pressures of new-motherhood by avoiding the inevitable conversations with fellow mums about milestones and progress and the looks, sighs, words of wisdom and sympathy. 

I welcomed its predictability, its consistent terrain, total neutrality, lack of territory or ownership. 

Every visitor comes with no greater or less entitlement to its offerings, just to borrow a bit of beach for as long as they choose, no booking system or timeframes to conform to, and no unexpected factors to scupper plans.

In pastimes I had been a nervous visitor of the ocean, feeling like an imposter in a foreign and hostile body of water, anxious of its unpredictable movements and volatile behaviour.    

But while my son’s affinity with his blue space was showing no signs of abating, my own trepidation of the sea was swiftly diminishing, through the sheer non-negotiable responsibility placed upon me to facilitate his only true love and connection with nature.  

As a family we were happiest on the beach; the non-judgemental landscape was such a reprieve from the everyday challenges we encountered in our urban world.  

His love of the waves was indiscriminate and in fact it was the days where the sea was at its iciest, stormiest or angriest, that he would shriek with joy the loudest.  

With my firm and protective hands round his waist, he would swim and splash, kicking against me to push farther out towards the blue horizon. 

I am unsure at what point I realised that he was swimming on his own, but it was certainly a long, long time before he could walk. 

His self-taught writhing, flapping and ungainly movements were somehow propelling him through the water, and alarmingly most of the time in an underwater motion.

It was a challenge to remove him from the sea, as he would happily stay for hours, but the blue of his lips and the wrinkles in his digits indicated he needed reacclimatising. 

We would wrap him in his robe and he would shuffle to his same favourite spot and lie on the warm sand, slowly returning his body temperature to its regular state.

At times we were guilty of overstaying our time in the water; the intensity of his enjoyment obscuring the signs of hypothermia, and his inability to self-regulate, identify and respond to, his own needs caught us out now and then.

My boy is now nine and this Spring will see our tenth year of enjoying family time on the beach. 

Now a fully mobile, sociable and inquisitive child, he knows no social barriers, usually befriending a dozen families and as many dogs with his charming and convivial personality on any given day. 

His inability to grasp the concept of personal space and belongings has left us having to explain and apologise to strangers on numerous occasions about their punctured beach ball or flattened sandcastle structure. 

But mainly we find that people are beguiled and captivated by his gregariousness and loving manner and will happily share their borrowed bit of beach with him, and surrender their buckets and spades.

So, I look forward to another season of sea, sand and sanctuary, in the one collective place that we can spend time as a family, unjudged, safe and content, with each of us in our true happy Blue Space.

Firefly Blog

Real life stories, issues and experiences of day to day life by special needs parents and
healthcare professionals.

Emily Sutton

Meet Our Blogger

I was launched into the world of special needs on New Year's Eve 2012, on the birth of my son, Jenson. He is fabulous, sprightly and loving, and has redefined our lives. I am now a 'qualified by experience' therapist, clinician, secretary, taxi, PA, nurse, and in my spare time I am trying to be a good mummy. I am an auditor for the NHS and along with my husband run an accountancy business from home. It's a busy household but Jenson's extra genetic material seems to have given us all extra special powers!

View Emily’s Profile

Become a Firefly Blogger

Would you like to write for Firefly? Join our blogger network of parents, therapists and professionals.

Get In Touch

Become a subscriber today

Join over 40,000 subscribers to our weekly newsletter with insightful articles just when you need them.

Join Mailing List

By using our site you agree to our use of cookies. Click here for more info.

Accept & Close

No Interest if paid in full in 6 months on

Purchases on $99+

US Customers only. Subject to credit approval. See terms below

Paypal Credit

Pay now or pay over time with PayPal Credit. Just use PayPal Credit in PayPal checkout.

Subject to credit approval.

Purchases of $99+:

No Interest if paid in full in 6 months on purchases of $99 or more.

  • A minimum monthly payment is required and may or may not pay off the promotional purchase by the end of the 6 month period.
  • No interest will be charged on the purchase if you pay it off in full within 6 months. If you do not, interest will be charged on the purchase from the purchase date at the Purchase APR applicable to your account.
  • For New Accounts: Variable Purchase APR is 25.49%. The APR is accurate as of 6/1/2018 and will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate (as defined in your credit card agreement). Minimum interest charge is $2.00.
  • Individual items that are less than $99 qualify for special financing when combined for a total of $99 or more in a single transaction.
  • Multiple separate transactions of less than $99 per transaction cannot be combined to meet the minimum purchase amount.

Purchases of $98.99 or less:

Buy now and pay over time with PayPal Credit when you spend $98.99 or less.

  • If you pay your balance in full each month by the payment due date that is on your statement, you can avoid paying interest.
  • Or, make minimum monthly payments, or any additional amount of your choosing, until you've paid off your balance according to your standard account terms. Please note, interest charges may apply.
  • We'll send you email reminders when your payments are due. You can also keep track of your account and view your statements online at any time.

About PayPal Credit

  • PayPal Credit is a reusable credit line available on purchases at thousands of stores that accept PayPal. It's also available for purchases on eBay and exclusively at thousands of other online stores. Plus, it comes with the same security and flexibility you trust from PayPal.
  • If approved, we start you off with a minimum credit line of at least $250. See FAQs for more info.
  • For New Accounts: Variable Purchase APR is 25.49%. The APR is accurate as of 6/1/2018 and will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate (as defined in your credit card agreement). Minimum interest charge is $2.00. See Terms and Conditions tab for more info.
  • If you miss a payment your late fee could be up to $38, even less if it's your first time. See FAQs for more info.

Please wait...